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Homeowners Guide for Protecting a New Jersey Home That’s Been Damaged by Water

The Federal Government provides informative material at: FEMA “What should I do after a flood”; The Center for Disease Control’s “Flood Safety Fact Sheet”; EPA Fact Sheet “Flood Clean Up” & FEMA “Repairing Your Flooded Home”

Even if your home has not been totally flooded, building experts agree that “moisture content” (MC) of wood in walls, subfloors and roofs needs to be checked. The moisture content in a properly dry home will be less than 20%. Mold & wood decay can occur when MC exceeds 20% and at 25% the recommendations are to follow the same steps discussed below for flooded homes. If MC is between 20-25% then the home must be dried using dehumidification or dry heat. After, a licensed professional applicator can apply an industrial strength EPA registered disinfectant & sanitizer, as well as a mold killing/wood destroying preventative agent to provide long-term structural protection and improved indoor air quality benefits. IF Flooding Has Occurred- Remove all water, mud & silt and any non-structural debris, like carpet, furniture, etc. Pressure wash using proper protective equipment. Sheet rock and insulation should be removed to a height 3 feet above a 25% moisture reading. Note: During removal, potentially harmful mold spores or other materials can be disrupted and become airborne. Protective equipment and precautions should be employed. Remove all visible mold from all structural wood. After treatment removal, have the area thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with an appropriate EPA registered disinfectant, santizer and virucide. Any obvious indications of rot, wood destroying insects or other structural defects must be treated and/or repaired. A properly licensed professional can treat structural components with EPA labeled wood preservative to prevent wood rot, termites, beetles and carpenter ants from invading. Wood should be dried to less than 20% MC prior to treatment. When home is dry, disinfected & mold-free, insulation and sheet rock can be replaced.