Experts warn flood repairs done too soon could cause even more damage

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 8, 2015) - If you are one of the many in Central Indiana impacted by heavy flooding, you may be in a rush to renovate and fix up what the flood waters ripped apart. But beware, making those repairs too soon can cost you much more than you’d like.

Experts say if you don’t wait for your home to be bone dry, you may have to do those repairs twice.

In basements bombarded with feet of flood waters, homeowners usually can’t wait to start repairs and get their homes back to normal.

But experts say don’t rush those repairs.

“It happens almost every year with flooding, people don’t let those studs dry down to the proper moisture and they put stuff back up in there and it just traps it,” said Steve Cain, a Purdue Extension disaster education specialist.

“People don’t know it till about six months later when they start having health issues, health problems, they’re complaining about headaches, respiratory problems, then we find out that they actually do have mold in the walls,” he said.

Cain said you have to wait days, sometimes weeks, until the studs and flooring in your home are completely dry.

“People will start to rebuild before all the boards were dried out, and that can be a big problem, because then you’re sealing in moisture behind drywall which will continue to grow,” said Julie Hurst with American Mold Experts.

Experts also recommend removing anything that flood waters may have touched. That includes sheetrock, paneling, insulation, and carpeting; all likely will have to go.

Once you’ve removed everything that is noticeably wet, measure the moisture content of your studs and flooring. If it’s greater than 15%, your renovation will have to wait.

“For the cost of a $20 moisture meter, you may be preventing $10,000 worth of repairs later on because if that mold gets back there, number one, it will grow behind the wall and you’ll actually have more damage than you had in the first place,” said Cain.

A moisture meter is the easiest way to measure the moisture content of wood or any other material. You can purchase one for as little as $13 at any hardware store; a small investment that could save you thousands of dollars down the road.


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