It's Nothing to be Scared of...Here's How to Deal with Flooded Installations

It's Halloween, a day of frights, and sometimes in this industry, we face a variety of scares. Especially with the recent hurricanes, one of our biggest scares is a flooded installation. So let's take the scare away and talk about the best ways to deal with a situation where your beautiful new installation suddenly became an unwanted swimming pool or pond. Here's some great information from the CTEF and some of their senior trainers. THE IMMEDIATE ISSUES The first major concern is dirty water. Flooding that takes over your home can contain an assortment of chemicals, broken materials, biologics, and even salt water from storm surges.This is not your run-of-the-mill water heater burst that distributes clean water. Everything will need to be disinfected and cleaned thoroughly. Many things will need to be thrown away. The second immediate issue is mold, mildew, and water damage. Once the water has been extracted, you need to circulate air flow as much as possible to quickly dry things out. Water damage remediation companies will supply commercial fans to properly dry and circulate air throughout the area. In this case, time is of the essence. The faster everything dries out, the less likely it is to suffer permanent damage. Any wet and damaged drywall and insulation will need to be removed. In good news, tile floors tend to withhold better than other flooring types in these situations. Evaluating Flooded Tile Installations # 1: Subfloor If the tile floor was installed over wood, it will require very close examination because of wood's susceptibility to moisture content. Unfortunately, you must wait until the wood subfloor is completely dried out in order to evaluate the extent of the damage. You can use a moisture meter to determine the moisture content - comparing the results with readings from wood surfaces that were not exposed to the flooding. #2: Mold Usually, mold will not be an issue for tile if the installation is handled properly. However, wood framing and other food source items must be treated with an antimicrobial solution and certified as mold-free by local code enforcement officers before rebuilding. #3: Efflorescence Installations of tile over concert would likely have issues with efflorescence, even on systems with the best installations. That being said, tile will still hold up very well in these cases. Most efflorescence can be removed with an appropriate cleaning product. #4: New Installations For installations that have occurred within 28 days of flooding, we recommend contacting the setting materials manufacturer or your D&B Tile rep to obtain an opinion on how to effectively manage the situation. #5: Membranes According to the CTEF, "In a flood, some membranes may delaminate within their own structure and cause a failure. The top of the membrane will stay bonded to the tile and the adhesive on the bottom (especially if the proper primer was used) will stay bonded to the concrete. In a flood, a failure can occur in the membrane between these layers. "An uncoupling membrane may help save a flooded tile installation on a concrete substrate. Flooded, saturated concrete will expand a greater amount than the tile layer. This membrane will do its job and uncouple the tile layer from the differing rates of expansion and should keep the installation intact." Applying Caution with the Situation With flooding, it's difficult to always be able to identify present dangers such as chemicals and irritants in the water. Sometimes it is best to leave remediation up to flood cleanup experts. Here are some resources from the CTEF that include information and additional links worth exploring relating to cleaning up after hurricane disasters: >> The Environmental Protection Agency shares advice on how-to prepare for a hurricane and recover afterwards
>> From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advice on cleaning up your home after storms >> Here's advice from the US Department of Health and Human Services for safe cleanup For even more information, check out the full article on the CTEF blog