Full Service Flood Damage Restoration
For water/sewage damage from river and rain water to disposal/sanitation field backup
Clean has been actively cleaning and drying out basements and keeping them dry since 2004. We were active during Calgary's 2005 flood, and have the equipment, skill and experience to help you deal with thoroughly cleaning, repairing or rebuilding your damaged basement.
And when it's all done,
Here are some answers to a few typical questions homeowners have asked me regarding flood damage.
As a homeowner, can I do this work myself?
You can save yourself money doing a lot of the demolition and cleanup work yourself. Volunteers are available to help with this work, and the volunteer turnout compared to Calgary's 2005 flood has been spectacular! This year the city’s first drive asked for 600 people. Here’s an article and a pic of the turnout (June 25). McMahon Stadium had to start turning people away after more than 2500 showed! The work itself is straightforward – tearing out damaged carpet, removing damaged panel and woodwork, etc.
That said, there are a few caveats.
· Footwear! Posters are calling for gumboots. Bring CSA-approved protective shoes or boots! Most CSA-approved "steel toes" include puncture protection in the sole (a yellow CSA triangle side-stiched or heat-sealed at specific locations in the boot indicates this protection). Damp feet are annoying. A rusty nail in the foot that’s been lying around in silt and street sewage is much worse – a trip to an urgent care center, the wait times, the tetanus shot, and there’s the risk of the nail pushing debris into your foot – you might need surgery and other antibiotic treatment other than "just" the tetanus shot.
· Watch the clock. It’s true you can save yourself the cost of labor associated with removing damaged flooring, drywall panel and woodwork. But what about silt, street and/or septic sewage or any other organic material? You want to remove any of that debris just as soon as you can (Health Canada says 48 hours after the flood). You’ll also want to remove and sanitize any growth that may have already gained a foothold in your home. Bleach isn't such a good idea for general cleanup (Health Canada, the CMHC has a super checklist for you), though it's OK for sterilizing dishes and utensils. We use a high-pressure washer, TSP and a live-enzyme treatment for cleaning and to prevent mould growth and rot. Then you'll want to make sure any framing, concrete, sheathing or other construction materials are dry enough to enclose without asking for mould problems down the road. The Alberta Building Code (2006, active at this writing) wants the moisture content of these and other construction materials under 19%. A dehumidifier or two and a moisture meter may be helpful here. During Calgary's 2005 flood we tested a couple of typical ordinary store-bought de-humidifiers against more expensive de-humidifying equipment we'd leased at the time and found there was no significant result: the $250 store-bought de-humidifiers worked just as well, and were significantly less expensive! We can provide this service for you.
· Watch the wiring. Unless I know the area will need to be rewired, whenever I remove panel my first tool is a hammer – not a drywall knife or router. If I nick the wiring I might not even know about it until all the work behind repairing or replacing the flood-damaged walls is done. A nick in any wiring can lead to headache and grief in having to break up the newly finished walls to chase down electrical issues.
How much drywall should I remove?
· Remove the damaged panel and any additional panel necessary to completely expose anything wet. Once the insulation becomes wet it loses its ability to hold heat and becomes a source of mould and rot. Expose enough area to be able to remove any wet insulation and thoroughly clean silt or any other organic material from around and behind any framing. Start with a hammer when removing panel, not a knife, and watch the wiring (read the note above).
· People ask me if they can save money by removing less than 48” of drywall – 48” being the width of a typical drywall sheet. It’s true, you save yourself the cost of the additional panel and the labor associated with its installation and finishing. If you insisted I would still perform the installation for you and appreciate your business. Yet you unavoidably introduce risk and compromise quality in doing it that way, and while there are exceptions, I generally recommend against the practice. I prefer to remove all the panel from any damaged walls up to the upper ceiling angle. I’ve included a few reasons just below.
Why remove all the panel from a damaged wall, not just the bottom 48”?
The long edges of drywall sheets are bevelled so that the joints formed by those edges will finish flat. Removing part of the wall forces at least one edge of the tape to sit proud of the rest of the finished panel surface and defeats the purpose of the bevel. The drywall finisher will have to "float" the joint out into the surrounding panel to make it less visible. While it’s true that a typical drywall installation will almost always have some butt joints, a skilled tradesperson will know how to minimize these joints and will know where and where NOT to locate these joints to make them less visible. Removing part of the wall along its length forces a butt joint all along the wall's length, usually right in the middle of the wall, and since original wall will already have been painted at least once you’ll have a noticeable difference in texture across the joint to make it that much more pronounced. Yuck.
Another reason is the risk associated with damaging the wiring. Most plug outlets in most basements I’ve seen are about 12” from the finished floor surface, with the supply wiring running through or behind the upper framing plate and then through or behind the studs at some level near the plug outlets. When removing part of a wall I'll start with a hammer or bar, but eventually I'm usually forced to penetrate the sheet with a knife or router at some point: even in the best possible circumstances I still risk nicking a cable. On the other hand, by removing panel at an inside angle where wall surfaces meet I'll only need to cut through the joint tape rather than the entire panel, so there’s no risk of cutting a cable. A textured ceiling will then require repair at that angle, but it's usually (but not always!) an easy repair for anyone reasonably familiar with the trade. We do our own texturing work.
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