How to Dry Out Your Water-Damaged Property

Step 1 - Classify Your Loss

  • Classify the category of water loss. This will determine what may need to be removed.
  • Category 1- Water that will not get you sick - Clean drinking water
  • Category 2 - Water that could get you sick
    Example: water from a toilet with urine only, water from a washing machine, …
  • Category 3 - Water that will get you sick
    Examples: sewage, water contaminated with any chemical, ground water, …

Step 2 - Extraction

  • Extract as much standing water that you can. The more you extract the faster it will dry.

Step 3 - Demolition

  • Remove affected building materials as deemed necessary.
  • Any porous materials that have been affected with category 3 water should be removed.

Ex. Drywall, carpeting, padding, insulation, … (if in doubt you should remove it.)

  • Remove any flooring that has water underneath it regardless of the category due to bound water under it and the future possibility of mold and/or rot.
  • If your walls are wet, you will want to either do a “flood cut” or at a minimum remove the baseboard and drill holes in the drywall to allow dry air into the wall cavities.
  • Walls with wet insulation will need to be opened up in order to dry correctly.
  • If your carpet is wet, you should disengage the carpet and remove the padding. After it has been disengaged you should place spacers under it so you can direct air movement under it.

Step 4 - Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Thoroughly clean all affected areas with an antimicrobial.
  • Concribium, which you can buy at Home Depot is a good antimicrobial, not as good as the commercial-grade antimicrobial that would normally be used.

Category 3 loss, you will first need to cleaned and disinfected it to category 1 before you start the drying process.

Step 4 - Drying

  • Apply direct air movement to each wall and any inset or offset greater than 18 inches.
  • Apply direct air movement to any affected flooring.
  • Install a dehumidifier to capture moisture being released by the fans.
  • Close any doors to separate the wet area from the rest of the property. You want all the energy you are creating to stay in that area. You don’t need to dry an area that is already dry!
  • If you do not have a dehumidifier check the outside humidity and if is below 50% you can open the windows and “burp” the property and use the dry air from the outside.
  • Go to to see the humidity in your area
  • Make sure you check the outside humidity each day if you use this method.

Step 5 - Monitoring

  • Monitor affected materials daily to make sure you are making progress and reposition equipment as necessary.

Make sure you get all areas dry! If you not you may get mold and/or rot.

Areas for additional concern.

  • Make sure you don’t remove any materials that could be asbestos.
  • 10” x 10” and 8” x 8” (Square) floor tiles are typically asbestos.
  • Flooring glue at times will also contain asbestos. Even on laminate floors.
  • Plaster and older drywall could contain asbestos.
  • Exterior walls usually will have insulation and you most likely will need to do a flood cut in those areas.
  • Wallpaper on wet walls will need to be removed because it is a vapor barrier and will not dry correctly.
  • Many times, there are additional layers of flooring and you must remove all wet flooring down to the last layer due to bound water.
  • Garages and common walls between different units typically will have 2 layers of sheet rock due to the fire code and you will need to remove one of those layers.
  • Be careful with creating more of a mess and put up plastic to seal off unaffected areas.

There are many other things you may need to know. This is just a very brief outline. Please give us a call and we will give you any FREE advice you may need. NO strings! We want to help you in any way we can.

If you would like us to come out with our meters when you are done to verify you dried everything, please call us. Again, NO charge.

Make sure you wear the proper PPE to protect yourself while doing any demo and cleanup!