Drying out after minor flooding?

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Old 06-13-15, 05:08 PM
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Drying out after minor flooding?

Hello Everyone,

I'm just wondering about drying out after some minor flooding last week (7 days ago). I'll explain. Sorry for the length of this. I hope you can stick with it.

We had some minor flooding in a downstairs bathroom during a torrential rain last week (like I've never seen before). I caught the water coming in within about 10 minutes, or less. A window well was flooding, filling up with water which was pouring in through the window weep holes. Within maybe 20 minutes I figured out how to get the rainfall into the window well stopped while my wife was doing her best to catch what was coming in. I then pitched in with my shop vac, while she was sopping up water with towels, blankets etc. We had the window well drained within about another half hour and the floor dried within another 20 minutes or so. The floor was all tile and seemed good. A small amount of water (only dampness on floor) seeped under the walls into one adjacent concrete-floored room and a carpeted room. Some water seeped out into the carpeted hallway, but not much (only a few inches) because we caught that pretty early with blankets. At no time was there much more than about 1/16 in. water on the floor.

I got 2 fans running right away, but with windows closed the first night as it was still raining. We pulled the carpet back to where the padding was dry. We looked for some drying equipment the next day but none was to be found due to a run on the equipment. I did get a moisture meter, though. The carpet tackstrip read wet. Except for one corner right under the window,the dry wall 3 inches or so above the floor was basically as dry as in unaffected areas downstairs. I could not do much more then due to a cataract surgery the 2nd morning after the flooding. The 3rd day in I was able to rent a commercial dehumidifier, which I ran in conjunction with fans for 3 1/2+ days continuously. Humidity was drawn down to 15% or lower in the bathroom and 20-23% when I tried drying the whole area. The 5th day in, when I got some help, I was able to pull the baseboard from the wall where the window is. One corner read still wet, but farther away moisture was only slightly above unaffected areas. I cut away some of the drywall where the baseboard was. The wood in the wet corner pegged the meter, but was only slightly damp farther away. After 1 day of constant dehumidifying, when I had to return the dehumidifier, the wet corner wood was as dry as unaffected wood elsewhere, and the other wood was drier.

So here's where we are now. And my eventual question.

I think we got it...But, what I plan to do is leave it, with fans running on warm days (which should be most of them) and watch for signs of mold. I'm thinking that if we don't see anything after a couple of weeks we may be in the clear. Is this reasonable to expect?

Thank you very much for your replies, and for sticking with this long post.

I should probably add that I don't think an appreciable amount of water got under the sill. It was pretty well caulked and the water ws just flowing over the edge.
 
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Old 06-13-15, 08:40 PM
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I think you are doing the right thing. You might want to use a mildiced (sp)to wash or scrub the areas where the moisture was worst.
 
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Old 06-14-15, 05:17 AM
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One area of concern is the carpet pad, as it really is just a big sponge that will be very difficult to dry completely. If you talked to a company like ServiceMaster or other water restoration services, they would recommend that the carpet pad be removed and replaced. You can pick up rolls at the box stores relatively cheaply.

You also want to get a good reading on the shape of the inside of the wall cavities. Wet insulation will not dry out quickly and will hold moisture against the wood and back of the drywall. In flooding situations, the bottom one foot is removed to allow the cavity to dry out. It is later patched are repainted. Most of the mold and mildew I come across is found within wall cavities.

You also want to dry your carpet from the underside with fans that blow under and force the moisture out into the room. Then your dehumidifiers can grab it out of the air to be removed from the room.
 
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Old 06-14-15, 03:35 PM
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Hello,

Thank you for your replies.

We've had the carpet pulled back since we got the water cleaned up the first night. It really was only wet a few inches back from doorway and adjacent wall. The padding tests dry now ,but since I'll have to have someone come in and reinstall the carpet I thought I'd have them put down some new pad anyway. so I think we're good there.

As far as the wall goes, I think moisture back there is just what seeped under the baseboard. The drywall just below the sill, and just 2 or 3 inches above the floor, had a moisture reading about the same as unaffected drywall in other parts of the basement the next day. It's all dry now. Same with the wood footing behind the drywall, even at the spot that was the wettest the day after the incident. I could cut away the bottom foot, but since that would also require having someone come in to replace it, my hope is that maybe given the conditions it won't be necessary. That's why I'm wondering if nothing shows up in what was the wettest spot, does that indicate that we're OK?

Thank you for your help.
 
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Old 06-14-15, 04:17 PM
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If you pull the baseboards, you can open up some exploratory holes that will be covered by the baseboard when re-installed. But you need to know what is going on back there. Baseboards come in various widths so you can step up to the next larger size if need be.

You also need to address the window well and its drainage. This is not going to be an isolated incident if you don't find the cause of the well not draining. I think that they make clear window well covers,, but with out knowing your configuration, I am just throwing things out there.
 
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Old 06-15-15, 08:40 AM
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We clean and reinstall carpet which got wet all the time. We replace the pad every time it gets wet.
 
 

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