Frequently Asked Questions
How much will it cost?
The cost of each project depends on the severity of the damage. We will provide a free estimate to let you know what to expect.
How long will the job take?
After we evaluate your restoration needs, we can let you know how long we expect the project to take. Throughout the restoration process, we'll keep you informed of our progress.
How does the restoration process work?
Once we receive your call, we'll come to your property to evaluate the damage so you can get an accurate estimate. After the service contract is signed, we'll start right away. We will also work with your insurance company on your behalf if you intend to file a claim. We pride ourselves in open communication, so you'll know our progress every step of the way. After your property is restored, we'll both review the work to make sure of your total satisfication.
Will I need to move out?
That's up to you most of the time, but if we feel your safety is at risk if you remain at your property, we won't proceed with the work. This exception might occur if the damage to your structure was severe, making it uninhabitable. Also, the restoration process can be very noisy, you might have your utility services disrupted, and some of the chemicals we use can smell badly.
Will you work with my insurance?
Absolutely. We have many years of experience working with insurance companies. We'll bill your insurance company directly and submit the paperwork for you. Our IICRC certification assures insurance carriers that we'll get the job done according to their standards.
What is water damage?
Water damage may be caused by a weather event, a leaky pipe, a broken appliance or localized flooding. After a storm, you may notice water dripping from the ceiling due to roof damage. Water can also start pooling around broken appliances like hot water heaters or refrigerators. It's important to have your water damage evaluated by certified technicians so they can gauge the extent. Water could be hiding behind walls or in your HVAC ceiling. Without prompt water damage repair, mold will start growing in 24-48 hours. Don't put your home at risk for further damage or your family in harm's way. Call us today for an estimate.
Can you dry my carpet or flooring?
It depends on the extent of the damage and how long water was allowed to remain on the surfaces. Carpet can almost always be dried, and laminate floors restored. If your tile floor grout was unsealed, the grout may need to be replaced. Hardwood floors are most at risk of being unsalveable.
Can you dry wet upholstery?
Our water extraction equipment is usually able to remove excess water from upholstered furniture. If the damage is too severe or if the water came from a contaminated source, the furniture is likely unable to be saved. We'll document and such furniture for your insurance company and discard the item safely.
Can you dry my home's other contents?
In some cases, we are able to dry and restore your belogings. Some items like fine art, antiques and photos may need to be cleaned and dried by a contents restoration specialist. If we can't do the job ourselves, we'll coordinate with your insurance company and find a qualified specialist.
Should I open a window or turn the heater or A/C on to speed the drying process?
We do not recommend using your HVAC system until the water damage is assessed by a certified water damage restoration professional. Water may be pooling in the system, and using it may end up requiring costly repairs. Once we've started the drying process in your property, we'll carefully monitor the moisture levels and adjust our equipment as necessary to get you completely dry as soon as possible. Leave the drying process to us. We may open the windows ourselves, depending on the humidity levels outside.
Why does it smell during the dry-out?
Wet materials smell differently than dry ones. During the drying process, you may notice odors that you aren't used to. They'll usually go away on their own, but please let us know if you can't handle the odors or if they continue after we've finished the restoration.
What equipment do you use for water damage?
Certified water damage technicians use cutting-edge equipment to get you back to dry. We'll start with powerful water extractors to remove any standing water. Our professional-grade air movers and dehumidifiers will then dry surfaces and any materials that weren't removed for off-site restoration. To ensure a complete dry out, we also use moisture meters to test for hidden areas where water might have traveled. Often, water will settle behind baseboards or inside walls. Moisture meters will detect the presence of trapped water, and we'll remove the baseboards or open the walls to guarantee your property is totally dry to avoid future mold growth.
Do I need to monitor your water damage equipment?
After we place our drying equipment, we will monitor them on a regular basis to ensure they are working effectively. If you move any of the equipment or turn them off, it'll slow the drying process and put your home at risk of further damage or mold growth. Please let us know, though, if you realize one of them failed (turned off). Also, let us know if your electricity turns off. After power restoration, we'll have to come onsite again to recalibrate the drying process.
Is your water damage equipment safe for children and pets?
Our equipment isn't dangerous, but it can be noisy. This aspect of the drying process may frighten children and pets, so we advise supervision.
What are the operating costs of your equipment?
Depending on the utility rates in your area, the operating costs for our drying equipment will vary. However, we estimate that each piece of equipment costs about $1 a day to operate.
What is fire damage?
Fire damage is recognized when major structures in the property are affected by a fire. It usually includes smoke damage and soot residue. Also, due to firefighting efforts, water damage occurs as well. A professional, certified restoration company is required by most insurance companies to handle the clean-up and reconstruction process. Don't try to clean up or do repairs on your own. You may cause further long-term damage that probably won't be covered by an insurance claim.
When will I know my fire-damaged property is safe?
After the fire is put out, your local fire marshal will advise you on the safety of your property. They will most likely recommend contacting a certified fire damage restoration company for a full evaluation. Do not attempt to enter until an expert in fire-damaged structures assures you of the safety of the property.
Can I use my furnace or A/C after a fire?
Fire damage comes with smoke and soot residue. Soot particles are incredibly fine and settle inside air ducts. Our fire damage restoration technicians will thoroughly clean your HVAC system. If you turn it on before we clean it out, you'll spread those soot particles to other areas of your house that may not have experienced damage.
Can you restore my paintings, photographs, antiques, etc., after a fire?
We are able to restore many of your fire-damaged belongings. However, special items like fine art, antiques or photographs may require a qualified restoration specialist. We'll work with your insurance carrier to determine the necessary steps to restore as many of your precious items as possible.
Smoke and Soot Damage
What is smoke damage and soot damage?
After a fire, smoke damage and soot residue is inevitable. Even small kitchen fires that don't cause severe damage will leave behind smoke and soot. Do not attempt to clean the damage on your own. Simply wiping down surfaces can cause further damage. A certified fire damage restoration technician will have the equipment and products to remove soot and restore any smoke damage. Each type of material in your belongings require a different cleaning and restoration technique. Rely on your damage restoration team to help get your home and contents to pre-loss conditions.
What actually is soot?
The powdery ash left behind by fires is called soot. It clings to surfaces like walls, ceilings, and your belongings. Soot also settles in your air ducts and electronics. Rely on a certified damage restoration technician to help you clean your property after a fire. The acidic soot is notoriously difficult to clean up thoroughly on your own. A person who is inexperienced with soot remediation may cause more harm than good.
Can I clean smoke and soot myself?
Probably not. Certified smoke and soot damage restoration technicians have the training and tools to safely and thoroughly remove soot from your property and belongings. Soot, in particular, because its particles are so fine, tends to settle in your air ducts. After a fire, we recommend not using your HVAC system until the ducts are completely cleaned by a professional. If you turn on your heat or air conditioner, you'll spread soot throughout your house, even to areas that weren't previously affected by fire damage.
Can I use my furnace or A/C after experiencing smoke and soot damage?
When you contact our smoke and soot damage restoration professionals, we'll come out to your site to assess the extent of your damage. Until we advise you that it's safe to turn on your furnace or air conditioner, please hang tight. Soot particles are very fine and will settle in your air ducts. If you turn on your HVAC system before a professional cleaning, you risk blowing soot to areas of your home that may not have been affected by the fire. We'll let you know when it's safe to turn it on.
Can you restore my smoke- or soot-damaged paintings, photographs, antiques, etc?
Smoke and soot settle on the surface and in the crevices of your belongings. This can be especially devastating when the items are precious to you, like in the case of fine art, personal photos or family heirlooms. While a disaster restoration technician is able to clean most of the contents of your house, special items require special techniques. We'll work with your insurance carrier to find a specialist who is qualified to attempt restoration.
What is mold?
Mold is a fungus that grows in damp conditions within 24-48 hours of a water damage experience. It grows on wet fabrics and porous surfaces like drywall, wood, ceiling tiles and more. Without proper mold remediation, mold will produce airborne spores that can travel to areas of your house that weren't even affected by the water damage. Mold spores can also be inhaled, causing serious health problems, especially for children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. A certified mold damage restoration technician can safely and completely remove mold from your property to restore you and your family to healthy living conditions.
How do I know if I have mold?
Common signs of mold are discoloration, rotting building materials, or musty odors. Mold isn't always visible, so even if you can't see mold, it doesn't mean you don't have a mold problem. If you have persistently damp areas of your home like a basement, check for visible signs of mold on a regular basis. After experiencing water damage, it's important to contact an IICRC-certified water damage technician. They'll have the tools and expertise to thoroughly dry your property to avoid the growth of mold. Your certified professional will also have the equipment to check for the visible and invisible signs of mold.
Can I handle the mold cleanup on my own?
Small areas of visible mold growth on hard surfaces can generally be cleaned with standard products you can buy at your local store. However, you need to be aware of what caused the mold in the first place. If you don't resolve the source of your moisture problem, the mold will keep coming back. Also, even if you can see mold, you might not see where else it could be hiding, like behind wallpaper, in your insulation, underneath your floors or behind your baseboards. If left to spread and grow, mold will produce airborne spores that will travel throughout your home, causing more damage and potentially harming your health. Contact an IICRC-certified restoration company to come to your property and assess the extent of your mold damage, especially if you see that mold keeps coming back.
Is mold dangerous?
It can be. Mold produces spores – tiny airborne particles that float through the air and settle on surfaces. You can also inhale those spores, and that can cause negative health effects. Physical symptoms of mold exposure include respiratory congestion, sneezy, itchy eyes, rashes, and headaches. For those with chronic health conditions, the symptoms may be far more severe and may even lead to serious disease. For the health and safety of your family, we recommend removing mold from your environment as soon as possible to limit exposure.
What some people don't realize is that mold can be a danger to more than your health. When mold grows on structures like walls, studs, ceilings or floors, it starts to eat away at those surfaces. Without prompt removal, mold can cause permanent damage that requires professional restoration to ensure the safety of your property.
What type of mold do I have?
Many types of mold could grow in your home. Most people have heard of toxic black mold, but, in general, exposure to mold won't affect healthy individuals. It doesn't really matter what type of mold you have, though. Signs of mold growth require prompt remediation from an IICRC-certified mold damage restoration technician who will be able to not only remove the mold but also discover the moisture source that cause it in the first palce.
Can I do anything to prevent mold?
Permitting areas of your home to remain persistently damp or humid is a perfect way to welcome mold into your life. We recommend dehumidifiers in those areas if you can't identify the source of the moisture. Basements are generally the first breeding ground for mold, but leaking pipes or drain issues in other areas of your home can also cause mold growth. If you aren't sure of the source of your moisture problem, contact a local mold remediation expert who can come to your site with the equipment and expertise to diagnose the source and offer advice on how to fix it.
What is sewage?
Sewage is a form of water that is contaminated with human waste, viruses, parasites and bacteria. You may find sewage damage in your property because of a backed up toilet or sewer drain. This wastewater is considered a biohazard and often requires professional remediation. If you experience sewage damage, stay away from the area as much as possible to avoid tracking dangerous bacteria to other areas of your home. Contact a certified technician who will come to your home, assess the extent of the damage, and safely and thoroughly remove the sewage to return your property to a healthy environment.
Do you handle sewage clean up?
Depending on where you are experiencing sewage damage, we will be able to safely and effectively clean up the mess. Most hard surfaces can be restored, but porous materials and surfaces require more extensive restoration. Some items and structures may not be salvageable. Before we begin our work, we'll let you know about our sanitation process and our evaluation of your sewage-damaged structures and belongings.
Does sewage cause contamination?
Yes, it can. That's why it's important to contact a certified sewage restoration company to come to your property and assess the extent of the damage. In the meantime, avoid walking through areas with sewage, and make sure you don't touch anything if you've come in contact with it until you can thoroughly wash with soap. We can clean and sanitize most hard surfaces. Porous materials like drywall, carpet, ceiling tiles and insulation cannot be cleaned thoroughly and require removal. Your technician will let you know what can be saved and what can't.
Can I clean up sewage on my own?
If you only experienced a small amount of sewage damage like from a clogged toilet, you may be able to clean it up on your own. However, any damage larger than that should be addressed by a sewage damage professional who will have the protective gear to get the job done safely. That biohazard gear and equipment is also necessary when porous materials were exposed to the sewage and require removal. Your certified technician will also have the expertise and skills to take appropriate precautions to avoid contamination to other areas of your home.
Why did sewage back up into my property?
Sewage damage can occur for a variety of reasons. Any blockage in the lateral service pipe that runs between your house and the municipal main will cause sewage to back up into your property. Those blockages might be caused by inappropriate items flushed down the drain or tree roots cracking and growing through your pipe. Significant weather events like heavy rain or rapidly melting snow can also overwhelm your municipal sewer main and cause the backups.
Will I need to be there throughout reconstruction?
Not if you don't want to be or if we feel the damage is severe enough to put your safety at risk. We try to limit disruptions to your daily life as much as possible. Most often, our clients will give a key to the project manager. We know having other people in your home can cause upset, especially during high-stress situations like damage restoration. We communicate with you throughout the reconstruction process to ensure your peace of mind and your sense of safety.
What do you mean when you say "pre-loss condition?"
Pre-loss condition is a term commonly used in the restoration and insurance industries. It refers to the state of your property before the damage occurred. The goal of any restoration or reconstruction project is to get your home back to pre-loss condition – as if the damage never happened.
What is non-insured work?
Most damage to your property can be included in an insurance claim. However, sometimes a property owner will choose this time to have additional work completed that is unrelated to the damage. Those costs will be included in a separate contract with different payment terms.
What are code or by-law upgrades related to reconstruction?
Sometimes, the original state of your property no longer meets your state or local building codes. So, even if we restore your home to pre-loss condition, your property still violates the by-laws of your area. Contact your insurance adjuster for questions about what upgrades would be covered in your insurance claim for damage restoration. There may be a separate deductible that applies to those repairs or upgrades. Your restoration team and your insurance company want to return you to a safe home, not one that might put your health at risk or might be structurally unsound.
Will I need to hire my own reconstruction contractors?
As your damage restoration team, you won't necessarily need to hire your own subcontractors. We are quite prepared to make those arrangements of your behalf with other local companies we trust. If you're more comfortable hiring your own contractors, we are happy to work with anyone you choose.
Will you get the appropriate building permits or should I?
Your damage restoration and reconstruction team will acquire the building permits for the work to be done. The permit fees are included in the cost estimate and could be covered by your insurance.