Category Archives: Repair & Restoration

In the Aftermath of a Flood: 9 Mold Damage Remediation Tips

Flooding is one of the major causes of mold damage, and any mold in your home must be promptly addressed as it can pose serious health hazards.

Mold feeds on microorganisms that are invisible to the naked eye, as well as many materials that are commonly used in construction. Thus, it is practically impossible to stop them by eliminating their food sources.

Rather, the key to successful remediation is to remove the water sources mold relies on to grow and spread.

In the Aftermath of a Flood: 9 Mold Damage Remediation Tips

In the Aftermath of a Flood: 9 Mold Damage Remediation Tips

Getting Rid of Mold After a Flood

Here are nine helpful tips, curated from professional remediators, to help guide you if you’ve got a mold problem as the result of a flood:

  • Wear an N-95 respirator as you work, along with goggles. These items will ensure you don’t breathe in mold spores, or have them come in contact with your eyes.
  • Begin by addressing all plumbing leaks and problematic plumbing fixtures. You need to take care of any and all water problems in your home before tackling the mold. That means getting the flooded area fixed up and dried out.
  • Remove all water-saturated items from the area affected by the flooding and dry them thoroughly. It’s best to hang-dry such items outside, if possible.
  • Use a mixture of detergent and water to remove mold from buildups from hard surfaces. Be sure to wear protective rubber gloves so the detergent and water solution doesn’t irritate your skin as you work. Once you’re done, dry the affected areas using fans and dehumidifiers.
  • If you have mold buildups in porous materials or materials that absorb water, you will likely have to throw them out. This advice applies to items like ceiling panels, curtains, drapes, and carpets. Mold can easily spread into the empty pockets in such items, making it virtually impossible to eliminate.
  • Never apply caulking or paint to surfaces that still have live mold on them. Not only will these compounds fail to solve the underlying mold problem, but they will also crack and peel if the mold isn’t removed first.
  • Valuable items and items with sentimental value should be cleaned by an expert. If possible, consult a professional with specialized expertise, such as a furniture repair, art restoration, or carpet cleaning specialist.
  • Check carefully for signs of mold near your home’s HVAC vents and intake points. If mold has contaminated your home’s air circulation system, the spores could spread throughout your home and create a much bigger problem.
  • Mold buildups caused by sewage leaks or floods involving contaminated water require special considerations. Most inexperienced lay people do not have the skills or equipment to address these types of problems, so if this case applies to you, your first step should be to call in a pro.

Call Professionals For Help

While minor cases of mold growth can be addressed in DIY fashion, extensive or severe situations are best left to professionals. It can be difficult and dangerous to your health to attempt to undertake major mold repairs yourself, so if you’re unsure of how to proceed or encounter any setbacks along the way, your next move should be to contact an experienced mold removal contractor.

If you need help restoring your home after a flood, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. We are a family owned and operated Virginia home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience. Whether you need mold removal or water damage handled, we’re here to help!

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

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Fire Damage: 10 Tips for Filing Successful Insurance Claims

It is important to understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to home insurance if you ever have to file a fire damage claim with your insurer.

A home fire is traumatic enough on its own. The last thing you want to be worried about is potential problems with your insurance company.

Fire Damage: 10 Tips for Filing Successful Insurance Claims

Fire Damage: 10 Tips for Filing Successful Insurance Claims

To help you avoid delays or disputes, here are ten proven tips curated from insurance industry professionals.

#1: Act fast to secure your property

Your insurance company will expect you to take reasonable action to safeguard your property from further possible damage. Ensure all fire embers and smoldered out, and if you have to leave your home, make sure all doors, windows and other possible entryways are secured.

#2: Create a list of everything that’s been damaged or destroyed

In addition to making this list, it’s also a good idea to document the damage with photographs. If possible, use these photos as part of a “before and after” presentation, and submit them with your claim.

#3: File your claim promptly

Once you’ve accounted for everyone in the home and you’ve reached a safe place and contacted the authorities, the next call you make should be to your insurance company. Don’t delay.

#4: Keep tabs on your expenses

You may be eligible for reimbursements for expenses incurred as the result of being displaced from your home. Hotels, restaurant meals, and emergency supplies typically qualify. Make sure to keep all receipts related to these expenses.

#5: Gather estimates

Contact reputable contractors and licensed repair and remediation professionals. Get estimates in writing and keep multiple copies so you can present them to your insurer when asked.

#6: Keep paying your insurance premiums

Now is not the time to risk having your home insurance lapse for non-payment of premiums. Make every effort to ensure your premiums are paid in full for the duration of the investigation and claims adjustment period.

#7: Ask for an advance

If you had to vacate the premises on short notice to evade the fire and you’re struggling to meet your day-to-day expenses, you can ask your insurance company for an advance. This advance will be subtracted from the final amount of your approved claim, so keep it to reasonable levels and allocate the funds wisely.

#8: Keep your claim open

Some insurance companies try to close fire damage claims as quickly as possible, especially if a fire has affected multiple properties in a localized area. However, this can lead you to settle for less than you deserve. You may have missed something in your haste that you might have discovered and been able to add to your claim if it was still open. Open your claim as soon as possible, and keep it open until you are certain that nothing has been overlooked.

#9: Contact a public adjuster

Public adjusters effectively serve as arbitrators between claimants and insurance companies. If you feel you aren’t being offered a fair settlement, contact a public adjuster to discuss your case.

#10: Don’t worry about future premiums

As long as your claim is legitimate and you haven’t made any attempt to defraud the insurance company, you probably won’t have to worry about your premiums going up or your insurance being cancelled. Your policy will remain in place, and your rates won’t rise if the fire wasn’t your fault.

If your insurance claim is contested or denied despite your best efforts and you believe the insurance company is not acting in good faith, you have options. Speak to an attorney specializing in residential insurance claims, or contact the office of your state’s insurance commissioner to access local resources.

If you need professional help handling fire or water damage repairs, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. Family owned/operated Charlottesville & Culpeper VA home renovation contractor with over 40 years of experience, we are experts at insurance restoration and offer 24/7 emergency service to our Virginia customers!.

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

We work for you, not the insurance company!

Get your no-obligation quote!

Home Water Damage: 5 Major Causes and Prevention Tips

Water damage is a major headache that often necessitates costly repairs. Aside from immediate damage it creates, it can also lead to serious problems later on, including toxic mold and problems with your home’s structural and foundational elements.

However, the good news is that most types of water damage are preventable. You can even take action to reduce the chances of suffering serious damage as the result of something you can’t prevent, such as a flood or backed-up city sewer.

Home Water Damage: 5 Major Causes and Prevention Tips

5 Most Common Types of Water Damage and How to Prevent Them

Water damage can be dangerous and expensive, so preventing it is an important part of home maintenance. No matter the type of damage, there are numerous things your can do to protect your property.

#1. Floods

Floods caused by natural events such as major storms are among the leading culprits when it comes to home water damage. While nobody can control Mother Nature, there are several things you can do to safeguard against storm-related flooding:

  • Keep valuables off the basement floor. Most storm-related floods affect basements. As such, it’s not a good idea to keep valuable items, like high-end furniture and electronics, in these areas of your home. This is particularly true if you live in a flood-prone geographic region.
  • Raise your electric sockets. Flood damage will wreak havoc on affected parts of your home’s electrical system. One strategy is to elevate the position of the electric sockets in your basement. Instead of placing them near the floor, move them higher up on the wall.
  • Install a basement sump pump. A battery-powered basement sump pump will help you clear water in the event of a flood.
  • Put indoor/outdoor carpeting in basements. Use stone, tile, sealed concrete, waterproof wallboard and other water-resistant building materials in areas prone to flooding.
  • Seal foundation cracks. Water in the foundation can cause serious damage to your home’s structure. Make sure that the grounds around the house slope away from the home to keep water from the foundations and basement.

#2. Burst pipes

Burst pipes can be a major problem, especially during the winter months. Water can freeze inside the pipes, causing expansion that can lead to a burst…and thousands of dollars’ worth of water damage. The good news is there’s an easy three-step method to avoid such a situation:

  • Set your water thermostat to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius)
  • Turn on your faucets ever so slightly, so any water in your pipes will drip out
  • Once your pipes are empty, insulate all exposed pipes to help trap heat inside so water will not freeze.
  • Fix and replace leaking pipes, clogged drains, and malfunctioning drainage systems immediately.
  • Check washing machine and dishwasher hoses to make sure that they aren’t cracked.

#3. Water heater failures

Water heater failures usually result from slow leaks or bursts inside the water tank. Performing regular routine maintenance is the best way to avoid these problems.

  • Have your water heater regularly serviced by a qualified technician, and flush out built-up sediment on a regular basis according to manufacturer guidelines. Consult your owner’s manual for specifics.
  • Replace your aging water heater – if your water heater reaches its life expectancy, the risk of a slow leak or sudden burst increases.

#4. Roof leaks

Roof leaks are another common culprit of home flooding, and you can avoid them by being vigilant about possible problems with your roofing and performing regular maintenance of your roofing system.

  • Every spring and fall, you should perform a detailed inspection of your roof, noting any areas where shingles or roofing elements show signs of wear. Have them repaired promptly.
  • Replace shingles that are coming loose, and pay extra attention to areas around the chimney and vents.
  • Do the same if you notice leaks coming from your roof, even if you didn’t notice signs of damage during your inspection. Something may have eluded your eye, and a professional can help diagnose and solve these problems.
  • Use galvanized or stainless-steel nails and fasteners.
  • Make sure that gutters drain water away from the house, and that all the joints are all properly sealed.

#5. Toilet and drain backups

Finally, beware of toilet and drain backups. Regular inspections and preventative maintenance will help you avoid problems with your toilets and drains.

  • Check your toilet’s supply valve, supply line, and flush valve at least once a year, and replace any components showing signs of wear.
  • Act promptly if any of your home’s toilets stop functioning normally.
  • With drains, do periodic checks to make sure water isn’t clearing unusually slowly. If it is, something is likely clogging your drain. Drain cleaners are readily available at home improvement stores, and they’ll help in most situations.
  • For persistent problems, or for issues that you can’t readily solve using frontline techniques, contact your local plumber.

If Water Damage Has Occurred…

If you have water damage in your home, there’s a series of steps you need to follow to solve your problem. These include identifying the source of the damage, fixing that problem and then dealing with the water damage itself.

If you’ve been affected by water damage, you will be dealing with your homeowner’s insurance. Here are few tips:

  • call your insurance agent right away,
  • list all of your damaged property before beginning the cleanup process, including pictures if possible,
  • keep receipts for all of your cleanup supplies and any services that you hire,
  • know that flood damage is not covered under homeowner’s insurance, you will need flood insurance purchased separately,
  • additionally, not all water damage is covered by insurance, especially if the damage resulted from lack of proper maintenance or was ongoing but ignored.

In the aftermath of water damage, hiring a quality contractor is the best way to ensure your water damage gets fixed right, the first time, every time. For immediate help, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement, a family owned/operated Charlottesville & Culpeper VA home renovation contractor with over 40 years of experience. We are experts at insurance restoration and offer 24/7 emergency service to our Virginia customers!.

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

We work for you, not the insurance company!

Get your no-obligation quote!