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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How Water Damage Affects Building Materials

1/15/2021 (Permalink)

Damaged wooden floor Damaged wooden floor in an Oklahoma City, OK home

Any category of water damage ruins building materials. Damp drywall crumbles and swelling wood often becomes distorted. Find out more about the effects clean or contaminated water can have on the porous, semi-porous, and hard non-porous building materials used to build a home in Oklahoma City, OK.

Porous Building Materials

Porous materials absorb water. The level of contamination and exposure determine the extent of the damage. Several types of building materials get ruined by exposure to water:

  • Insulation
  • Drywall
  • Carpet

While being exposed to either clean or contaminated water undermines the effectiveness of insulation, other porous materials saturated with clean water from a supply line can be dried following water pipe repair. Contaminated water is the worst enemy of porous materials, as disinfecting any porous substance thoroughly can pose a challenge.

Semi-Porous Materials
Materials that are somewhat porous may be cleaned or restored with more or less ease depending on the level of contamination and extent of saturation. In these cases, it is important to make sure that disinfectant can penetrate beyond surfaces and eliminate mycelium, or the roots of mold growth. Swelling wood exposed to contaminated gray or black water may require extensive disinfection or need to be torn up and replaced.

Non-Porous Materials
Hard, non-porous materials are the most likely to stand up to any cleaning method. Restoration professionals use techniques ranging from blasting to immersion in cleaning solution paired with the application of ultrasonic waves to clean building materials and contents that are non-absorbent.
Assessing the porosity of materials is critical for determining the best approach to cleanup and restoration. Delicate porous materials such as insulation may be ruined by exposure to water. Swelling wood and certain other materials may be cleaned or disinfected if necessary and dried after exposure to clean or contaminated water from a pipe break, flood, or sewer backup at a residence in Oklahoma City, OK.

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