There is a lot of confusion about insulation that’s been soaked or damaged by flood waters or leaky plumbing. Is it still a good insulating material? Does it breed mold and mildew? Will it eventually damage other structures such as drywall or tile floors?
To illustrate the types of questions that fly around on the Internet, consider the furor over a home that was ultimately— and deliberately— destroyed in Texas.
One piece of video that repeatedly aired on TV showed workers in space suits removing fiberglass batts. A doctor went public with the announcement that mold flourishes in wet insulation. He could have added that mold only flourishes in a moist environment. That statement would have acquitted the innocent (dry) insulation.
Mold In the Aftermath of Storm Damage
Mold is a big deal and its removal is critical. It can be spotted in a variety of ways. Sometimes it discolors your ceiling or walls, or it shows up as black spots on areas throughout the home, or as rot on damp wood. If the insulation is replaced or thoroughly dry, it can’t harbor mold. But it’s easy to be confused about whether water-damaged insulation is safe to keep in place.
A contractor can use certain tools, such as a moisture meter, to detect whether the insulation within a wall is wet. Homeowners may have to resort to opening a wall to visually inspect the damage.
Insulation Is Made of Various Materials
Insulation is not just a cashmere lining for your home. It comes in a variety of different materials and is installed various ways.
For instance, there is fiberglass, cellulose, foam board, cotton, spray foam . . . . Each type of insulation must be treated differently after water damage. Some of these materials are organic and they make a fine meal for mold. Others will not host a dinner for mold, unless— as we mentioned— they are not dried properly.
There is also the risk of toxins in water-damaged insulation. Flood waters can carry potential toxins that remain in the insulation after the water recedes. It’s the nature of insulation that it retains moisture for a long time after the flood is gone.
Assessing and repairing water damage should take priority for homeowners who’ve been hit by a flood or storm. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics, though the odors and discolored walls and wallpaper are certainly unpleasant; it’s important to your family’s health and safety that the insulation is handled by expert hands.
Is the Insulation Worth Keeping?
We help the homeowner to analyze a multitude of issues concerning repair, salvage, construction, disposal, insurance and restoration. As for the question of replacement: Does water-damaged insulation necessarily need to be removed, with new materials installed throughout the home? This is not a question to be taken lightly.
We can help you decide whether to remove and replace insulation after we’ve begun the job of assessing damage and drying out the entire structure.
Cleanup and restoration after water damage is a comprehensive job. It requires skills, tools and experience in a variety of disciplines. Few companies have the resources of United Water Restoration. Call us today and find out what we can do to make your home life whole again.