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Water Damage • Mold Removal | Chicago, IL | Job Procedure


Water Damage Job Procedure

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal
When water damage occurs, the single most critical factor in determining the amount of potential damage is the amount of time the structure remains abnormally wet. When abnormal moisture is present, microorganisms rapidly multiply and spread causing structural deterioration, create odors, and can potentially cause serious health issues for the building’s occupants.Water can cause serious damage to a property if not efficiently dried within 48 hours to prevent mold growth. Costs will quickly escalate the longer restorative drying is delayed. The water damage restoration job procedure involves six major steps to completing the water damage restoration process safely and efficiently.

1. Safety, Education, Inspection

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal
The water damage restoration technician’s first responsibility when arriving at a water damage site is identifying and eliminating safety hazards. Our focus is always on the health and safety of the customer and on mitigating any further loss to the contents and structure.During the initial inspection, we educate the customer on what services will need to be completed as well as find and stop the source causing damage. Our company provides free inspections and estimates on the preliminary cost of damages at the time of the water or mold damage inspection. Water damage restoration technicians are equipped with respirators and personal protective equipment for safety.

Our company provides free inspections and estimates on the preliminary cost of damages at the time of the water or mold damage inspection. Damage restoration technicians are equipped with respirators and personal protective equipment for safety.

Water Damage Inspection

When inspections are performed properly, the restorer can accurately evaluate the progress being made. More important than the amount of moisture currently present in the structure is the change in moisture over time. Several inspections of the drying environment need to be conducted to ensure that the intended result of returning the structure to a clean, dry and safe living environment is achieved.

The initial inspection to identify items that will influence the restorer’s end goal, ongoing inspections to ensure that expected progress is being made, and the final inspection to ensure materials have reached their predetermined drying goals.

2. Documentation

The restorer documents what types of materials have been affected. Proper documentation includes photos and measurements that are taken at the beginning and throughout the job until completion. Improperly documented claims can cost the customer time and money. The water damage restoration process begins by identifying and documenting what types of materials have been affected.

The degree of contamination, damage to the item, and replacement cost versus restoration cost determine if an affected material should be restored or replaced. All materials that are determined to be restorable are inspected further, and the amount of moisture absorbed by the material is measured and documented.

3. Containment

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal
Proper containment needs to be set up and affected customer content is handled. Containment is a barrier that separates the clean area from the contaminated area.A very simple form of containment is closing the door between a contaminated room and the rest of the structure. In damage restoration work, containment will need to be more than just closing a door.

Before starting remediation work, how large the containment needs to be, how to seal the containment to the structure, and how large the air filtration device which normally also provides negative air pressure needs to be.

Containment is usually built with transparent polyethylene sheeting with the size of the containment structure depending upon job size and complexity. In general, there are three different types of containment.

Source Containment

Source containment is used for small areas of mold growth or suspected mold growth usually under 10 sq. ft. and involves a patch covering of polyethylene sheeting over the affected area. Before installing the covering, the affected area should be HEPA vacuumed to control and remove dust and airborne particles from the contained area.

Local Containment

Local containment involves affected areas of 10 to 100 sq. ft. and is used for more complex and larger remediation jobs than source containment. Local containment is established by creating an isolation room using polyethylene sheeting to separate the affected area from the unaffected area.

Full Containment

Full containment is for affected areas that are larger than 100 sq. ft. and usually is for whole rooms or sections of a building. Full-scale containment is built similarly to local containment, just larger in size.

Negative Air Pressure

Once containment is built, negative air pressure or a vacuum is established inside of the containment structure. Negative air pressure assures that contamination is unable to escape into the clean area outside of containment. An air filtration device combines an air mover with a series of filters.

Air Filtration Device

An AFD that filters and re-circulates the air is referred to as an air scrubber whereas an AFD that filters air and creates negative pressure is referred to as a negative air machine. Air filtration devices can be used in two configurations; as an air scrubber or as a negative air machine.

4. Machine Placement

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal
Dehumidifiers, air movers, and negative air machines are left within the structure until reaching the set dry standard. Many small vacuums, such as shop vacuums, do not provide sufficient vacuum power to support water removal from carpet and underlay.Restorers must use equipment specifically designed for removing water from materials. Types of vacuums used in restoration range from truck mounted machines to portable electric vacuums. The essential tools of water damage drying are air movers and dehumidifiers.

Air Movers

Air movers are placed in the structure to ensure rapid evaporation across all affected surfaces. Of all the tools and equipment used in water damage drying, air movers are the greatest in number. The function of an air mover is to blend the air at the surface of wet materials with other air in the affected structure.

An air mover helps accelerate the rate at which warm air heats surfaces increasing water evaporation. The number of air movers needed depends upon the number of wet surfaces, the amount of water present, and the ability for air to reach the affected material.

Air Scrubbers

An air scrubber is a portable filtration system that removes particles, gasses, and/or chemicals from the air within a given area. These machines draw air in from the surrounding environment and pass it through a series of filters to remove contaminants. An air scrubber stands alone in the center of a room with no ducting attached. The air is filtered and recirculated, greatly improving the general air quality.

The size and complexity of an air scrubber system will depend on the size of the space being serviced, as well as the range, type, and size of contaminants that must be removed from the area. Air scrubbers help protect the health of workers and building occupants by providing a clean and healthy environment.

Negative Air Machines

A negative air machine uses ducting to remove contaminated air from a sealed containment area. The filtered air is exhausted outside of the containment area. This creates negative air pressure (a vacuum effect), which helps limit the spread of contaminants to other areas inside of the structure. An air scrubber can be used as a negative air machine, but it requires ducting, a sealed housing, precise airflow adjustment, and a variable speed blower motor.


Dehumidification reduces the moisture content of the air and a dehumidifier is a machine that is used to remove the moisture that air movers sweep away from wet materials. After the excess water has been removed by the water extraction process, the time required to dry wet materials is determined by the rate of evaporation.

As water is evaporated, the water vapor is removed by dehumidification or ventilation. A balanced drying system is achieved when the rate of dehumidification is greater than or equal to the rate of evaporation.

5. Contamination Removal

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal
Safe removal of all unsalvageable building materials. Affected materials are evaluated against the degree of contamination, damage to the item, and replacement cost versus restoration cost to determine if the item should be restored or replaced.Only after identifying the material and considering these three factors will the water damage restoration technician decide which materials should be restored and which should be replaced.


When dealing with contents that are in a mold-contaminated building, the one question that has to be answered is if the objects in question can be cleaned and decontaminated. If an item cannot be cleaned and decontaminated, then it should be discarded.

Prior to any cleaning, restoration or preservation actions are taken, a thorough inspection should be done on all items located within the contaminated area of the structure. Before moving potentially mold-contaminated contents from a suspected or known moldy room to a cleaner room, the restorer should contain contaminated items such as bagging them before moving.

6. Reach Dry Standard

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal
Restoration contractors set an effective dry standard for use in structural drying by obtaining data from several materials in several unaffected environments. Doing this yields a range of normal moisture levels for building materials in the specific geographic region.This record then becomes a reference to evaluate suspect materials in a wet environment. Abnormally high humidity can alter the amount of moisture in materials that are not directly affected by water.

Drying Process

The drying process is not complete until all affected materials reach their drying goals, which are normally based on a dry standard. A dry standard is established by obtaining a moisture reading of an unaffected material.

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal
This reading is then used to establish a standard against which the affected materials can be compared. Regardless of the material type the meter was intended for, unaffected materials will yield a relative reading that can be used as a control to which suspect materials can be compared. The drying process cannot be regarded as complete until affected materials have reached the goals established based on the dry standards.

Checking that the dry standard has been reached and verifying that contamination levels are safe is the final step in a water damage restoration job procedure. Affected materials must be compared against a dry standard or the drying goal.

Drying Goal

The drying goal is a moisture reading obtained from a known unaffected sample that allows the restorer to set drying goals for the affected structure and contents made from the same material. As materials return to their dry standard, equipment is reduced. Only after all drying is complete will equipment be removed entirely.

Mold Removal Chicago | Free Damage Inspections! | | (312) 351-5441

Water Damage • Mold Removal | Chicago, IL | Mold Testing

The Top 4 Signs You Should Get A Mold Test

1. You are buying or moving into a different house or building.
2. You smell a musty or moldy odor that is stronger when the windows and doors have been closed.
3. You see mold growing inside your home or building.
4. Your allergies or asthma are worse when you are inside. Mold is a common indoor allergen.


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Water Damage • Mold Removal | Chicago, IL | Flood Cleanup

Basement Flooding

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal

Flooding normally occurs where streams, rivers or other drainage channels cannot cope with the amount of water that is flowing into them during periods of higher than normal rainfall, and the water breaks or overspills the banks. This is known as surface water flooding.

There are a number of reasons for why a basement could flood. Broken pipes, sewage backups, and surface or groundwater runoff are the most common causes.

If you discover that your basement has flooded, don’t try to do anything yourself in order to be safe from electrocution and contamination in the water.

Call a water damage restoration company to ensure proper and safe handling of the situation. Damage restoration technicians are equipped with respirators and proper personal protective equipment for safety.

Flood Cleanup Process

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal

The first step in the basement flood cleanup process is removing the water. A professional-grade pump is used to remove all of the standing water. Water is then extracted with a flood water extraction machine. Once the water has been removed, an anti-microbial agent is sprayed to control contamination.

After that removal of all porous and semi-porous materials as well as storage of all salvageable content is then moved to a safe clean area. Containment is set up to prevent spreading contamination to clean areas of the structure.

Once containment is in place, negative air machines with HEPA air filters are set up and unsalvageable building materials are removed. Once contamination levels are safe, air is introduced into the drying process.

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Water Damage • Mold Removal | Chicago, IL | Roof Restoration Tips

Roofing Maintenance And Restoration Tips

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal

When installing shingles, make sure the nails are embedded securely into the felt and sheathing. Over time, the sun’s heat will cause the roof and shingles to expand, making the nails pop out of place and thus increasing the risk of a leak.

Shingle Layering

Because the roof is sloped, make sure you layer the shingles from bottom to top, overlapping the top set with the bottom. This will ensure your roof is protected from all weather elements. The standard width between each row of shingles is 5 inches.

Restoring Sheathing

After cleaning the debris and reframing the roof, lay down a base (sheathing). Eight-foot, 1/2-inch-thick plywood is standard sheathing material. Measure the opening of the section of roof to be shingled, cut the plywood to size and nail to roof rafters. Stagger the sheathing in a brick pattern for extra strength. Do not place an entire 8-foot section of plywood onto the roof. Such a long piece is structurally unstable in the middle. Continue to install in a brick pattern, staggering the plywood seams until the open area is covered.

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal

Laying Felt Paper

Start by stapling the 6-inch starter strip at the bottom section of roof leaving a 1-inch overhang on the eave to ensure drainage into the gutters. Going from the bottom up, lay and nail the remaining felt layers with a 2-inch overlap. Be sure to nail the tar strip on each felt layer to ensure maximum hold.

Installing Shingles

Lay the first row of shingles starting at a bottom corner of the roof. Place a base row of shingles following the chalk lines on the felt and move upward in a pyramid shape. Use six nails per shingle to ensure maximum hold, and be sure to always nail on the tar strip. Continue working your way across and up the roof, following your initial pyramid base. If repairing a section of the damaged roof, be sure you layer the existing shingles on top of the new. This will ensure a uniform and seamless look.

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Water Damage • Mold Removal | Chicago, IL | Fall Mold

Protect Your Home From Mold This Fall

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal

1. Test your air quality with a mold test kit. These are readily available and can give you a good idea about whether you have a mold or mold spore problem, and whether professional remediation may be necessary.

2. Change the filters in your heating and air conditioning systems. This is important for air quality. Switch to high quality HEPA air filters if possible.

3. Clean at-risk areas. Keeping bathrooms, kitchens and other areas with regular exposure to moisture clean. It may be smart to opt for non-toxic cleaners, such as citrus based cleaners, dilute apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract cleaners. Many of these will effectively kill mold and mildew, but aren’t as toxic as other cleaners. In some instances, it may wise to use bleach, but use with caution.

4. Check for leaks or water damage. This is important for the integrity of your home, as well as the air quality. Repairing any areas that may put your home at risk for water damage is important for protection against a subsequent mold problem.

5. Consider an air purifier. Look for high quality air purifiers that remove contaminants out of the air. Fan driven units only have so much effect on the overall quality of air.


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Water Damage • Mold Removal | Chicago, IL | Water Damage Drying

The Principles of Water Damage Drying

Water Damage Drying Chicago Water Damage Restoration

The IICRC S500 Water Damage Restoration Standard and Reference Guide describes the task of Water Damage Drying through five principles.

1. Provide For Safety
2. Document And Inspect The Project
3. Mitigate Further Damage
4. Clean And Dry Affected Areas
5. Complete The Restoration

1. Provide For The Safety of Workers And Occupants

Water Damage Drying Chicago Water Damage Restoration

The technician’s first responsibility when arriving at a water damage site is to identify and eliminate safety hazards. The restoration contractor is responsible to provide for the health and safety of workers and occupants during restoration procedures.

2. Document And Inspect The Project

Water Damage Drying Chicago Water Damage Restoration

The restorer must evaluate the extent of water migration and be able to measure the moisture absorbed by materials in order to properly scope the work to be done. As drying is attempted, the restorer must verify that anticipated progress is actually being achieved.

Due to the number of variables present that affect the drying of materials, progress cannot be assumed. Frequent inspection and monitoring is therefore essential. As you enter rooms, inspect ceilings carefully. Wet plaster and sheet rock are very heavy and can be a hazard.

Be aware of bulging ceilings that may hold trapped water. If rainwater has collected in the ceiling, the rainwater will find it own route into the floors below.

3. Mitigate Further Damage

Water Damage Drying Chicago Water Damage Restoration

Drying decisions are made based upon critical information the restorer obtains during the initial assessment. The inspection not only checks the extent of moisture intrusion, but also considers the potential for additional Water damages.

Remove any water soaked items stored in the attic for treatment. The weight of Water soaked boxes can cause cracking in the plaster ceilings of the floor below. Open windows and vents to allow fresh air to circulate. If your electrical system is safe and you have an attic fan, turn it on.

4. Clean And Dry Affected Areas

Water Damage Drying Chicago Water Damage Restoration

Cleaning procedures are used whenever soils and debris must be removed to expedite the drying process. Contaminated materials that can be ultimately restored require cleaning either before or after the drying process.

Any highly porous item affected, such as valuable contents, require intensive cleaning. Flooding may be quick, but drying out a building is a time consuming effort.

Allowing natural ventilation and evaporation to work is better for the building than the using heated forced-air or air conditioning systems. The rapid drying out of a historic building using hot air power drying systems can cause irreparable harm to significant features of the building.

5. Complete The Restoration

Water Damage Drying Chicago Water Damage Restoration

The Water Damage Restoration technician’s job is not done when the materials are dry. As the drying proceeds, restorers have to re-evaluate the condition of structural items or contents and consider whether they will require refinishing or restoration to return them to a pre-loss condition.

Any building materials that were removed or disrupted will need reconstruction. The job is not complete until all affected materials are clean, dry, and equal or better in appearance and function than they were before the loss occurred.

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Water Damage • Mold Removal | Chicago, IL | Mold Inspections

Important Things You Should Know About Mold Inspections

A mold inspection is when a person looks for mold growth in a building. Here are some important factors to consider for mold inspections.

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal

1. Qualified Mold Inspector

Mold inspections need to be performed by a qualified mold inspector who has formal training and experience with mold inspections.

2. Past Or Current Mold Growth

Mold inspections should look for evidence of past or current mold growth. Past mold growth may indicate a water problem which will come back when certain conditions return such as a recurring leak.

3. Mold Within The Building

Mold inspections should look for mold within the building, inside walls, and in other areas where mold growth is undesirable, including areas where mold growth could be causing structural issues such as wood decay in crawlspaces.

4. Normal Mold Growth

Some mold growth in buildings may be perfectly normal. Ceratosystis and Ophiostoma are two molds that grow on lumber and are frequently found growing on two by fours or another structural framing within buildings. These molds grow on the sap of wood and stop growing once the wood has dried. Although they cause black staining on the wood, they do not cause any structural issues.

5. Look For Sources Of Moisture

It is very important that the mold inspector looks for sources of moisture. Water is essential for mold growth. Without a source of water, you will not have mold growth.


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Water Damage • Mold Removal | Chicago, IL | Preventing Shower Mold

How To Prevent Shower Mold

Water Damage Restoration Chicago Mold Removal 1. Shake curtain. This will allow the curtain to completely dry between uses, reducing the amount of mold that builds up.

2. Spray every surface, every day. There are Daily showers sprays available in stores that help prevent mold and mildew.

3. Clean it regularly. You need to clean the bathroom regularly to prevent mold buildup!

4. Run your bathroom fans regularly. Either run your bathroom fan while you shower, or make it a point to run it for at least 15 minutes afterward. Or make sure you keep a bathroom window open.

Mold Removal Chicago | Free Damage Inspections! | | (312) 351-5441

Water Damage • Mold Removal | Chicago, IL | Weather Damage

Rain or Shine: 7 Ways that Weather Can Damage Your Home

1. Wind

Extremely powerful winds from tornadoes and hurricanes can scrape the shingles off the tops of roofs and pull gutters away from rooflines.

2. Hail

Millions of dollars in damages are common from just a single hailstorm. If the hailstones are even moderately sized, their weight — coupled with the force at which they fall from the sky — can poke holes in the shingles of a roof. Large hailstones can even dent or bend gutters as well.

3. Rain

Though the rain itself usually doesn’t cause structural damage, any water that leaks into a home through gaps in the roof or walls can lead to messes that can be costly to clean up. This water can also lead to damage to walls, ceilings, and floors; as well as mold and mildew problems throughout a home.

4. Cold

Wintry temperatures (usually below 20 degrees) can affect a home even when there is no precipitation. Frigid conditions can cause pipes to freeze; and if they burst, flooding can occur in basements or rooms.

5. Snow

A little bit of snow usually doesn’t cause any problems. But multiple feet of snow can weigh on a roof or gutters and overwhelm physical support systems; causing buckling or holes in roofs and bending or breaking gutters.

6. Ice

During prolonged periods of precipitation and/or cold temperatures, ice can build up in a gutter to form an ice dam. These dams, which are fed by snowpack on roofs, cannot only buckle and dislodge gutters; but the ice can also creep underneath shingles to damage the roof.

7. Sun

During prolonged periods of heat, the sun can damage furniture, rugs, and artwork by fading colors and make fibers brittle.


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Water Damage • Mold Removal | Chicago, IL | Flooded Basement

7 Steps to Avoid a Flooded Basement

Gutters & Downspouts

Keep gutters free of debris and position downspouts away from the foundation. The goal is to drain storm water at least three feet away, so if necessary, consider running extensions or troughs.

Foundation Cracks

Inspect the exterior foundation and your basement’s walls and floors. Use epoxy to fill any foundation cracks and if warning signs are detected, apply masonry sealer indoors. For more serious problems, call a pro.

Sump Pumps

If you have a below-grade sump pump, check to make sure its well is free of debris. If you have a portable pump, position it in the lowest part of the basement and be sure it’s connected to a power source.

Sewers & Septics

If you haven’t had your sewer inspected or your septic tank cleaned, spring is a good time to address these concerns. During periods of prolonged, heavy rainfall, clogged sewers and over-taxed septics are disasters waiting to happen.

Window Well Covers

If you have below-grade basement windows, install window well covers that will fasten securely to your home’s foundation. Clear acrylic covers allow light to enter, even as they keep out rain, leaves, and pests.


Remember a sump pump only works if you have power. If you live in an area plagued with frequent storms and power outages, a generator may be a long-term investment worth considering.


Review your property insurance policy and consider additional coverage, especially if you have a finished basement. Usually, homeowners’ insurance does not cover flooding or sewer backups. Undecided? Check out The Case for Flood Insurance.


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