Walls, framing and structural components that become damaged in a severe water event can be both frightening and dangerous. To prevent permanent primary and secondary water damage from occurring, occupants of an affected structure need to reach out for help as soon as possible. This is especially true when dealing with structures involving wooden framing or drywall components.
Wood is used for many structural purposes including furniture and buildings, but not all wood utilized for these purposes are created equal.
When assessing a building or structure that has been affected by water damage, a remediation specialist will need to consider the type of wood affected and its implications for restoration.
The wood most commonly used for engineering purposes today has been highly processed to promote strength, durability, cost, ease of handling and availability.
Nevertheless, this type of processed wood, though beneficial, does not tend favorably towards excess moisture. In fact, this type of wood can often manifest sudden and visible disfigurement when exposed to water elements.
Because of this reality, water remediation staff must act quickly to remediate affected wooden structural components to alleviate the potential danger.
Common Wood Types Used for Frames and Structures
The following are the four most common types of wood used for frames and structures, and the result of their exposure to excessive moisture:
1. Plywood: The most natural of the four, plywood has the ability to withstand moisture and resist swelling more than other wood types. As such, this type of wood is regarded as the best in terms of combating water damage.
2. Oriented Strand Board (OSB): The second most resistant, this type of wood has been engineered with wax and adhesives to be utilized in subflooring, roof decking and floor joists.
3. Particle Board: Often formed from wood chips and synthetic resin, this type of wood can be found in the framing of cheap furniture or beneath surface floor materials. If particleboard materials become wet, they will need to be removed and replaced.
4. Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF): Due to the highly processed nature of medium-density fiberboard, this type of wood is the most likely to be negatively and permanently affected by moisture. It is often utilized as backing for plastic laminate flooring.
The surface and interior of a drywall structure must be investigated and remediated quickly in the event of water damage.
Drywall, often constructed from gypsum, is second to medium density fiberboard in terms of its vulnerability to dampness. Nevertheless, unlike MDF, drywall does have the ability to recover, and oftentimes, it can become even stronger after the recovery process is complete.
There are several concerns that remediators will need to address when drywall becomes embedded with moisture.
Of primary importance is when the drywall in question is that which lines the ceiling. If overhead drywall is affected, it can be immensely dangerous and should be attended to at once. Failure to tend to suspended overhead drywall can lead to sagging and even caving.
To fix the issue, water remediation specialists will need to discard the saturated drywall. Doing so will help speed up the drying process, as the unsalvageable soaked material was removed from the immediate environment.
As with most situations involving significant water events, the threat of secondary water damage always exists. In the case of drywall, any direct or extraneous moisture in the environment poses a risk for microbial growth, as drywall surfaces often consist of a paper skin made from wood pulp on both sides. Quick and effective drying techniques are a must in these scenarios. Otherwise, the drywall will have to be replaced.
Lastly, when dealing with water damages involving drywall, it is important that water remediation teams cover all bases by checking behind wall boards to ensure that insulation components have not been affected by water.
In the event that water has either come from overhead, has surpassed the depth of the wall plate or has affected any of the cellulosic insulation, technicians will go forth with specific procedures according to the need. Some steps that might be taken include drilling holes to allow for maximum air flow and disposing of any saturated insulation material that has lost its “R” value.
Monitoring for Moisture
Whether dealing with a wooden framing or drywall water loss event, it is crucial that remediation experts closely monitor moisture levels and adjust their efforts accordingly. Doing so saves time, energy and resources, and promotes the overall effectiveness of the remedial task.
Frequent monitoring is generally defined as every 24 hours or more, and is especially necessary for high risk and severely affected environments.
To ensure that effective monitoring takes place, a client may notice a remediator’s attempt to keep the same team tending to the same situation, while also being careful to monitor the same locations using the same meters.
They may also take steps to ensure the effectiveness of the drying process by switching out or reducing the number of mechanical devices used, depending on the need of the ever-evolving situation.
Immediate Remedial Help for Waterlogged Structures
When it comes to water damage that involves drywall, wooden framing or other unseen components, a professional entity must be enlisted to mitigate the situation, without delay. When left unaddressed, the foundational structure of a home or commercial business can become compromised in major ways, leading to potentially dangerous and irrevocable damages.