So many choices! Modern homes can highlight old world charm with stone, brick and hardwood. Or they can express modern sensibility with glass, polished metals or rubber. Some materials used in houses are more resistant to moisture, water, flooding, and mold than other materials. Selecting materials that can handle floods is even more important in Westborough where flooding and major storms are possible.
Think about the physical draining and drying process; aim for a home that can withstand hours or even several days of water without significant damage. Rain, floodwater, and wind-blown water will move through very small cracks to enter cavities or systems. Liquid and vapor must be able to escape in at least one direction in order for the structure to dry. Therefore construction methods and materials should allow for airflow in the wall and floor cavities.
We at MA Restoration recommend that as you select materials, focus on those that are water resistant or water-tolerant. They should also be easy to clean, and resist mold growth and maintain their strength when exposed to water.
Flood cleanup may be easier if water-resistant materials and drainable and dryable structures are in place. All surfaces should be easy to clean and able to withstand disinfectants. Materials that contain cellulose (paper, wallboard, and natural fiber fabrics) are more likely to develop mold than synthetic materials such as nylon and olefin. Hard surfaces such as metal will be easier to clean than porous surfaces such as ceiling tile, wallboard, and upholstered furnishings.
This horizontal surface will be the first to get wet, and the water might sit there for days. Focus on materials that can take that stress. Solid materials such as concrete tile, precast concrete, or bituminous (formed-in-place) can be colored, polished, and sealed. Non-porous slate and natural stones can be sealed with waterproof mortar. Rubber sheets or tiles can make an unusual and waterproof floor. However, clay tile, quarry tile, terrazzo, or ceramic tile is more common and can be well sealed against floods.
Wood floors are more difficult. Naturally decay-resistant wood subflooring (redwood, cedar, some oaks, bald cypress) or steel for structural members. However, wood can warp. Unless the finished flooring is removed immediately to allow the subfloor to dry, it may become damaged and moldy.
Laminate floors and solid plastic lumber may inhibit drying of the “boards” and the subfloor. Remember, you want to primarily 1) keep water out but also 2) allow moisture to escape if it does enter.
Solid, sealed, non porous walls like cement board, brick concrete and cast stone with waterproof mortar can resist water for days. Glass blocks or glass panels will too, but may crack or break in a storm. If wallboard must be used, use non paper faced gypsum wallboard, water resistant fiber-reinforced gypsum wallboard or panels, or cement board. Coverings and coatings should allow drying in at least one direction so that interior wall and floor systems can quickly drain and dry.
Wallpaper is often breathable paper. If it gets wet, it will stain, bubble or pull away from the wall. Vinyl other plastic-coated coverings may inhibit wall component drying and may peel and blister. Latex paint will allow moisture in an inner wall or structure behind the surfaces to move through the paint and dry. However, the paint may discolor, blister, and peel. Odds are that you’ll have to seal and then repaint after a flood.
It probably doesn’t make financial sense to replace existing insulation unless you see existing water damage; fiberglass insulation resists water damage and surface mold growth. However, the insulation may trap and hold water and slow drying time if inundated.
When you are able to upgrade, foam or closed-cell rigid insulation is better. This form is not damaged by water, resists surface mold growth; and allows the home to drain and dry.
Even with the best water-resistant materials, some damage may occur any time water is present. When you experience water damage in your home, count on M.A. Restoration for immediate assistance; they will help you recover from a disaster. The team, their equipment, and their expertise are ready at a moments notice.