Structural Drying Services for Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sydney
After a major water damage event, there’s a lot of water damage you can see and then there’s what you can’t see. Your building materials (both the structural elements and the non-structural components such as the gyprock) are certain to be water-logged and they need immediate attention to minimize the total damage bill.
It’s not just the floor coverings and furniture that need to be dried out. The building structure does too, and the process is far more involved than just drying the carpets. The walls, ceilings and underfloor areas may also have been water-damaged.
Elevated moisture readings in the building can arise even without a flooding event. Other causes include rising damp, lateral damp, plumbing leaks, washing machine hose failure, poor drainage around the building, gutter failure and more. Whatever the cause, it must be be remediated but on this page we’re focusing on structural drying.
So what is structural drying?
It’s the process of removing all traces of water and moisture from the structure of the building. This is vital if the building is to be returned to its pre-flooded condition as soon and as safely as possible. Failure to fully dry the structure puts the building or portions of it at risk of demolition.
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Professional flood recovery specialists will attack the water damage in a systemic way, like this…
Water Damage Restoration:
Assess the damage
Remove the water.
Dry the wet materials
Dehumidify the air.
These steps are built on a set of principles. Let me share those principles with you because being alert to the underlying precepts will help you understand what your structural drying team is doing, and why.
The Principles Underlying Structural Drying
Obvious really, but getting rid of as much of the water as possible. As fast as possible, safely.
When you hang wet clothes on the backyard washing line, it’s often amazing how quickly they dry. It’s the movement of relatively dry air that’s doing the work there. And we employ the same principle in structural drying by creating those drying winds.
Lowering the humidity level.
When relative humidity levels are above normal, there is a risk of mould and mildew developing within 48-72 hours if moisture is trapped inside building materials. (By the way, since we’re talking about mould, if it’s present in the building, that must be attended to BEFORE turning on the air movers. Otherwise you’ll be spreading the mould spores throughout your premises. It’s just one more reason to give us a call rather than DIY.)
Air temperature. Evaporation is faster when the air is warmer, so turning on the air conditioner in its cooling mode can be counterproductive. It can slow the drying process.
However, an excess of heat can actually reduce the effectiveness of the dehumidifiers. Fortunately, professionals will know the right temperature range for best results in your area.
How Long Will The Dry-Out Process Take?
As you’d expect, the answer depends on how severely the moisture has penetrated your building. But often the drying equipment will be left to run for 3-4 days, and moisture levels will be monitored during that time.
When we’re called out promptly after the flooding event, we can often employ an AGGRESSIVE drying protocol in which we boost both the airflow and temperature in order to speed up the evaporation rate, once it’s been confirmed that the water is clean, not polluted. This approach can cut down the costs of repair and/or demolition, but is not always appropriate.
At its simplest level, buildings consist of 1) a structure (the bones of the building) and 2) the building materials that define and fit out the various rooms within the building. While the structure may be able to rescued, in many cases the building materials cannot. These include wall panels, insulation, shelving, door & window frames and more. By removing these, the structure can more easily be dried out and then the discarded materials can be replaced by appropriate trades people.
The Four Stages of Flood Damage Remediation
A structural drying management plan is the only way to be sure that the water and its damaging effects are assessed, monitored and regulated until your premises are returned to their pre-loss state. Wherever possible, noninvasive leak detection methods will be used along with non-destructive drying procedures.
Assess the damage
Remove the water.
Dry the wet materials
Dehumidify the air.
1- Damage Assessment
Assessing the extent of the water damage includes identifying:
2 - Removing the Water
We have a range of pumps, vacuums, and other water extraction equipment. The goal here is to remove as much surface water and carpet water as possible so as to reduce the period of time needed for drying the property including the structure itself. Truck-mounted vacuuming equipment is more powerful than portable gear. It pumps more air and at a higher vacuuming pressure, so it will generally be used on standing water. Domestic vacuums and wet vacs just don’t have the power to be effective enough here. The exhaust air from any machine should be vented to the outside, of course.
3 - Drying Everything That's Wet
With the bulk of the water gone, the next task is to dry the wet materials, such as your drenched carpets. For this, we use a combination of air movers and dehumidifying machines. Air movers will create a flow of air over all the wet items. The wind, of course, speeds up the evaporation process.
Carpet drying air movers (aka, blowers) are also used to force air under the wet carpet to lift it, as well as to pump air into wall cavities and other small spaces such as underneath fitted cabinets and hardwood flooring
4 - Drying The Damp Air
The final step in the structural drying process is to dehumidify the air. This is done using one or more high powered dehumidifiers. They remove the moisture from the air inside your building, thus preventing further damage. and this is assisted by dehumidifiers.
Air movers with dehumidifying machines… it’s a double pronged attack on your flood damage, but it’s also a balancing act. How so? Well, the air movers create a lot of heat but the refrigerant dehumidifiers don’t work so well when the temperature rises. Experienced flood remediation technicians will try to get the balance right, to achieve success in the shortest time.
One of the tools I haven’t mentioned yet is the desiccant dehumidifier.The desiccant material absorbs moisture and is assisted by a fan system.Intake air is blown over the desiccant and is thus somewhat dried. The moisture-laden exit air is vented to the outside, and the extracted water is piped out of the building.
Desiccant dehumidifiers come in a range of sizes, measured in cubic feet per minute or per hour.
These machines are different to air driers and air purifiers. Air scrubbers purify contaminants out of the air, including mould spores but also pollen, pet dander, smoke particulates, viruses and more. The air scrubber contains various filters (depending on what it’s targeting) and also a germicidal UV light. The UV kills the bad guys then returns the cleaned healthy air back into your home or commercial premises.
Why You Can Trust Us
Our team members are IICRC certified and they follow industry-leading structural drying techniques to restore moisture and humidity to safe levels. And, as needed, they can also remediate any mould growth.
Simply contact us on0488 963 678.” style=”color:000000″> 0488 963 678. and we’ll take care of the wet mess for you with the minimal possible disruption.
We can set up an appropriate selection of specialised drying equipment including structural dryers, dehumidifiers, air scrubbers, and air movers.
Our technicians are polite, professional and reliable, so you can feel safe and comfortable as we work on the structural drying of your home or place of business.