Tips to Restore your Home After a Storm

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When your home or business is damaged by a storm, it can be a terrifying ordeal. With so much to consider, it can be confusing to know what to do first. We’ve compiled a list to assist in making the transition back to full restoration as smooth as possible.

1. Do not delay in getting a professional assessment of the damage to your home or business. If there is enough damage, the structure could be a dangerous to be. Getting an assessment is the first and most important task.

2. Check you Better Business Bureau (BBB) first, or ask family and friends for a referral. Sometimes, in the case of a severe storm, several unqualified contractors will canvas neighborhoods looking to take advantage of victims of storm damage. Avoid being scammed or cheated. Due diligence will pay off and make the entire process much less stressful.

4. Contact your insurance company right away to begin the claim process. Remember to keep track of your important records and documents. This will assist in your claim process.

5. Make sure that the contractor you hire is fully licensed and also specializes in storm repair or restoration. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and licensing info. You can also verify licensing online of state insurance websites.

6. The contractor you hire should provide you with a written contract that states all expenses, start and end dates, as well as the warranty info for the work.

Make sure that you do not rush into any agreements until you have verified the scope of work and the credentials of your contractor. This will really help the process of full restoration to go smoothly for you.


The Categories and Classifications of Water Damage

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There is a serious danger that accompanies water damage.  The first step to handling a water damage issue is to determine the type of water damage you are dealing with. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) categorizes different types of water damage based on their environmental impact and the structure the damage is housed.  These are the 3 different categories of water damage.

Category 1 
Water damage that is non-pollutant and is caused by limited structural damage, such as a leaking faucet fall under this category.  The danger though is that if not taken care of promptly, the damage can quickly escalate to category 2.

Category 2 
This category of water damage includes certain types of sewage run-off and other polluted water sources.  Also, known as gray water, this type of water is not considered deadly but can seriously damage the health of those exposed for even a short time.  This category presents serious health hazards and must be addressed immediately.

Category 3 
Category 3 presents the most deadly of water damage, black water.  An example of this is raw sewage and water contaminated with hazardous materials.  This type of water can breed several types of bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and viruses such as hepatitis.  This type of water damage must be dealt with swiftly to avoid serious illness or even death.

The IICRC also rates 4 types of water damage based on the rate te water evaporates.

Class 1 
This class refers to surface water that has not soaked into the ground or carpet.

Class 2 
This class refers to water being 1 to 2 feet in depth and fully soaking into the carpet and also surrounding walls.

Class 3 
This class refers to full saturation by water with a very slow evaporation rate.

Class 4 
This class refers to full saturation to porous materials like plaster, hardwood and even stone.  This type of water saturation will require special tools to evaporate the water.

 

Water damage is a serious issue, do not delay when presented by water damage as it can only get worse if the water is anything more serious than  surface water.

 

Protecting your Southern California Home from Wildfires

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Each year, homes in Southern California are lost to wildfires. Depending on the structure, location and building materials used, some homes are more susceptible to burning than others. There are steps you can take before the threat of a wildfire becomes an issue so that you are more likely to save your home. While these changes may be time-consuming and/or expensive, they are only effective if they are implemented before the threat arrives at your doorstep. One of the most important steps you can take in protecting your home from Southern California wildfires is to choose the location where it will be built carefully. Choosing a site on a steep slope, within a wind corridor or in a low-density development that has wild lands intermittently mingled are more likely to burn than those in other geographical locations. When building a new home, take the time and effort to determine the best position in relation to its risk of burning. For existing homes, creating a 100 foot perimeter, known as a “defensible space” is the minimum you should do to protect your home. This is the first step in preventing flames from coming into contact with the structure. The more features you address, the more likely you will be able to protect your home. The roof is one of the most important features of the house with respect to its potential to catch fire and burn. Those roofs with valleys and ridges or which have multiple segments that intersect at the structure’s walls have room for debris to collect. That can make the difference in whether the home catches fire, even if you have a roof that is rated as “noncombustible”. It may seem like a hassle to maintain your roof and keep it clean from debris but it may prove to be an important practice. Also, if you are unsure what type of materials your roof is made of and whether it is resistant to combustion from embers, have it inspected. Replacing your roof or having additional materials added to make it resistant to fire may be a big expense but it will be a lot less expense than replacing your entire home. Some other things to look at concerning the roof of your home are the vent systems that lead inside and the types of roofing that have gaps at edges and ridges where flames and embers can get inside. Using bird stops on the edge of the roof will prevent debris from getting under the roof’s edges so that it is more resistant to fire. If vents lead into your attic or crawl space, make sure they are covered with screen to keep debris out. A better idea is to purchase new vents that are made according to the stricter building codes that apply to new buildings in the Southern California region. These vents are specifically designed to add extra protection to homes in this area. Another part of your home that can leave it vulnerable to wildfires is the windows. Those that are made with a single pane of glass are more prone to breakage from heat and will allow the fire inside. Not only will double panes or greater reduce the risk of burning from a wildfire, they are also much more energy efficient. You can also keep homemade shutters on-hand to put into windows when there is a threat of potential fire. Wooden decks, fences and other structures form a welcome mat that can bring fire up to the home. Although these structures may seem necessary to you at the time they are installed, fire-resistant alternatives made of other materials are a much better alternative for your home. With the number and severity of wildfires growing in Southern California, you can’t do too much to protect your property and keep your home as safe as possible against this very real threat.

Technology Plays a Large Role in the Effectiveness of a Restoration Company

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Although it is rarely something that is expected, fire can strike your home or business at any time and leave nothing but a big mess behind. In addition to the loss of belongings that come from the flames, there is also the damage that can occur from smoke and water used to put the fire out. Because the fire is unexpected, the home or business owner is often at a loss about what to do next. The most important first step they can take is to call a restoration company to assess the situation quickly while many items may still be salvageable. A company with well-trained certified technicians who keep up with the most current techniques and tools for restoration will be prepared to offer solutions that will save the home or business owner time and money.

In addition to having the experience and knowledge to recognize which items can be restored to look like new, a professional restoration team will also have an in-depth understanding of how your insurance plan works and what is required to receive payment for your losses. They should be able to provide you and the insurance company with a fast assessment and start working towards saving those items that can be restored. By keeping up with the most up-to-date tools and techniques, a restoration company will be better prepared to offer their customers the quality of service that will result in saving more of their property to the state that it was in before the fire ever happened.

Many types of businesses today rely on mobile technology to stay in contact with customers, business partners and their own home base. Communication is important to workers who perform restoration services, making it easier to respond quickly and take the necessary steps to do the best possible job. The restoration team needs to be accessible 24 hours a day in order to be able to respond quickly, no matter when the fire occurs. Using their own custom apps, the company can communicate with the workers in the field and allow them to file their reports on what degree of damage has occurred and what items may be restored.

The restoration team will often communicate directly with the home owner’s insurance company so that the restoration process proceeds as smoothly as possible. While many individuals do not have an understanding of their insurance policy and what options they have available to them, the restoration team will already have all of the knowledge and the tools to get the needed documents in place. For many, filing a report is as simple as entering the data with their recommendations into their phone or iPad and sending it to the appropriate insurance agent to start the claims process rolling.

When people assess their own homes after a fire instead of calling professionals, they will often make the mistake of thinking that most items are not salvageable. Fire, smoke and water can cause damage to carpets, furniture, rugs and other items. In spite of appearing damaged beyond repair at the time, the restoration team has access to specially designed tools that can erase the signs of damage and return items to their previous state. Today’s specially designed machines can dry these items and leave them looking new.

For material items like clothing or draperies, a unique type of dry cleaning can remove soot and smoke that is often absorbed into the fabric and can’t be removed by laundering as usual. Once the dry cleaning process is used, the lingering odors can typically be eliminated completely.

Technology continues to improve the way restoration companies restore items that have been damaged by smoke, fire and water in order to prevent the loss of belongings that may be financially or sentimentally valuable. The key to getting good results is in finding a reputable restoration company that offers the most current methods of restoration available today.


Consider Professionals for Your Mold Remediation Needs

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When dealing with important issues like fire, flood and mold damage, you want to get the best results possible. That’s why you should also look for a team of professionals that has the skills and experience to provide you with fire and water damage restoration and mold remediation services that will have your home back in shape in no time!

As awareness of the dangers of mold contamination increases, more owners are looking for restoration services company that will provide them with mold remediation to keep their homes safe. During rainy weather, moisture that gets inside the home can lead to mold growth on any type of surface. While there may be an obvious need for water damage restoration, mold may be growing out of site. All it takes is for the surface to remain wet for 24 to 48 hours and you could have a mold problem!

When you choose a company to perform mold remediation on your home, you want to find one that understands the importance of not spreading the mold during the process. Letting mold spread can lead to serious health hazards for you and your family. Although many people believe that only black mold poses any threat to health, there are actually several types that have been proven to lead to health complications. Some types of mold can also cause damage to your home’s furnishings and compromise the integrity of its structure.

If you have a leak in your home that you are aware of, you may have been putting off having water damage restoration for one reason or the other. The problem with postponing finding a company that provides restoration services for one reason or the other, your biggest problem may come from the damage that you don’t see. Leaks that occur within the walls may go unnoticed so that you don’t realize the true extent of the damage from what you observe.

Look for an experienced company that offers leading restoration services backed by many years of knowledge and experience to take care of your home. If you are in need of mold remediation, or suspect mold may be an unseen problem in your home, the company you hire will begin by determining the causes of loss. After that, they will control moisture and humidity levels and install controls to safeguard health and safety of you and your family. The mold remediation services should include removal and decontamination of any affected items and the placement of a seal surface to prevent further growth.

The restoration services should include professional project management and expert consultation, an accurate project cost estimate, realistic completion schedule and immediate service. Choosing the experts you need when damage happens will protect you and your home now and in the future!