How Water and Flood Damage are Different
"Like it never even happened."
Water damage and flood damage are two different things according to insurance adjusters. The difference between them is where the water comes from. Water damage is caused by water entering from inside the home, from the pipes that back your running water outlets. Flood damage is when water comes from a natural source like mudslides, accumulated rain runoff, and overflow of tidal waters. Flood damage also includes two or more properties. The caliber of flood damage is much bigger than that of water damage, which is why insurance adjusters see it as a different disaster.
Flood damage is not covered by your home insurance, only water damage. Here in California it is less likely for you to experience flood damage, but that doesn't mean it’s impossible. If you live in an area vulnerable to flooding like near the beach or by a hill that is prone to mudslides, it’d be in your favor to discuss with the property owner filing for flood insurance. This can be done at www.floodsmart.gov.
Here at SERVPRO it is in our best interest to keep you updated and informed about how you can best prepare for natural disaster damage. For more information, feel free to give us a call at (310) 320-2112.
All About Mudslides and Landslides
Example of the damage a landslide can do to your property.
Living in California, our land suffers from many fires due to rising temperatures in the summer. The ground is left vulnerable after these natural disasters because the roots that once held everything together have burned. When the season changes, rain comes falling down along with the leaves, but the places once engulfed by fire are on to the next disaster: mud and landslides! The water loosens up the dirt and causes chunks of land to slide down hills at high speeds… the perfect recipe for serious damage.
Not only are previous wildfire areas vulnerable to landslides, but also places where construction has destroyed vegetation and where a mudslide has happened before. Removing the vegetation on a slope compromises the natural stability of it, so if your property is near an area like any of these, develop an emergency plan for the event a mudslide does happen. You can do this by contacting your local authorities, they should have an evacuation procedure to keep you safe.
After a mudslide has affected your property, an array of damage is possible. Your home could be flooded, with water and/or dirt. The electric, water, gas and sewage lines of your property could be broken. Depending on the power of the mudslide, walls could be punched through and underground supports could be shifted and even broken.
To find out the damages your property has faced after a landslide, call a natural disaster damage restoration service like us, SERVPRO! Your property may need serious remediation and reconstruction, and we have the experience and certifications to help you with that. It is also wise to seek the advice of a geotechnical expert when in the reconstruction process to find of any ways to protect your property from a landslide in the future. Call our 24 hour emergency service line at (310) 320-2112 for any questions you may have abut our services regarding mud and landslides.
Emergency Bag for Unexpected Natural Disaster
Keep you and your family safe by being #prepared
In the face of natural disaster, all we can do is stay safe by being prepared. It’s hard to predict when or how a natural disaster will occur, or if it even will. But, it will get you at the most unexpected time, which is why it’s smart to have an emergency bag in an easily accessible place in your home for a time you may need it to save your life!
So, what items should you have in your emergency pack? Here are some key things to invest in for your emergency bag:
- Nonperishable food
- First-aid kit
- Wet wipes, toothbrushes/paste, travel size soap, roll of toilet paper, garbage bags
- Local maps
- Phone charger/Portable Battery
- Dust masks
- Small fold-able emergency blanket
- Necessary medicines and prescriptions
- Spare keys for your home and car
- Copy of identification cards
- ID, driver’s license, passport, SSN, insurance cards
- Emergency contact list
- Change of clothes
Now, what should hold all of the emergency items? Well, the items can be placed in a bucket, plastic bag, backpack, or any other method of carrying things easily. Some emergency packs even have special bags that can fold out into an emergency blanket. Specialized ones like these can be bought at stores or online.
Every home should have one of these emergency packs in case of any unexpected disaster. It is always best to be prepared. For any questions you may have regarding natural disaster and the damages it can do to your property, call our 24 hour emergency service line at (310) 320-2112. SERVPRO is here for you!
How to be Prepared For a Storm
As the climate of the Earth is shifting, the seasons bring many surprises that leave disastrous endings. One of those being storms in the winter and spring. Harsh rain and hail comes falling from the sky, flooding the roads and breaking the windows. No one can stop it, so all we can do is prepare ourselves as best we can to remain safe and stress free. So, how does one prepare for a storm like that? Well, here are some tips…
- Obviously, have a set insurance plan to cover you and your property in the event of a disaster. This goes for any disaster, not just storm damage.
- One thing that may never cross your mind in the aching hot summer are your rain gutters. If trees are above your property, the leaves and twigs can fall in them and birds may create nests in them. Also in some cases, bees will form hives in the rain gutters or rodents will damage them. It is best to check your rain gutters to make sure they will be able to withstand some heavy rain to protect your home from any water damage. Purchase a filter like contraption called a downspout cover to prevent any leaves or critters from getting in your rain gutters.
- While you’re checking your gutters, mind as well take a glance at the roof to make sure none of it is exposed. Any missing tiles? Any holes? If so, call a company like us, SERVPRO, to fix your roof to be storm ready.
- Make sure all of the windows and doors in your home have proper sealing so that no water can seep in through the cracks.
- Know where the gas and powerlines are to your home so if any flooding does occur you are able to access the control panels and shut them off. This component can be the biggest threat to your property in the event of a flood.
Take these few tips and your home can be in better shape to withstand a storm and recover with little damage. Have any more questions? Call our 24 hour service line and we’d be glad to answer.
How to Plan Your Home’s Construction After Natural Damage Disaster
Let’s say there’s major flooding in your area (though unlikely in CA) and you need to repair an entire wing of your house. Maybe half of it was cinched off in one of California’s wildfires? The point is that your house has damage from a natural disaster, and you don’t know where to go from there. This is where SERVPRO of Torrance can swoop in and help.
The health and safety of our customers comes first, so we start with the cleanup process. We will make sure no damage or debri is left behind, and start a construction plan for remediation. You’ll meet with a team member who, if you choose to go with reconstruction, will take your ideas and help make your dream a reality.
SERVPRO of Torrance will help to guide you through a difficult time. Losing parts of your home to natural disaster is no walk in the park, and we are committed to helping you create a clean and fresh space that is comfortable for your family. Home is your happy place and sanctuary. We don’t think a natural disaster should disrupt that vibe.
Call SERVPRO of Torrance today to get a quote on how to bring that dream to life.
How to Plan Your Commercial Property’s Construction After Natural Disaster Damage
- Here at SERVPRO, we may focus a lot of residential work, but a big part of our services extend to commercial businesses. Part of this is because at SERVPRO of Torrance not only do we clean up the disaster, we are also certified to plan and execute reconstruction, carrying through to the very end. We pride ourselves in serving our local businesses to make our community clean and safe.
When your commercial property suffers from damage, the reconstruction planning process differs from the residential planning process in the permits one must acquire under special commercial construction codes. Commercial buildings serve as places of work and/or for consumers to shop, they are public areas that must follow codes to protect the space users and the business owners. Reconstruction for commercial areas can sometimes be large scale jobs due to multiple story buildings for large workspaces and warehouses.
To begin planning your commercial property’s reconstruction, you can choose a separate construction company or stick with us here at SERVPRO. A construction plan must be made and this can be done with the help of our technicians. The plan must adhere to the city’s codes, which can be found on your city’s website. Each city’s codes vary because every area has its own culture and rules that work for the people. For example, the parts of California that are prone to earthquakes have codes for structures to be built in a way that prevents shaking the most, and some even have special mechanisms to center the building’s mass while in movement. For Torrance, all of the information regarding codes and the permit process is here.
Once your plan is developed, it is used to apply for a permit. This plan is submitted along with the permit to be reviewed if it follows the guidelines for your city. You will get an acceptance or denial in a few weeks, maybe even months depending on the city you’re located and the degree of construction you're performing.
Once the permit is accepted, the company you choose may begin working. And if you’re denied, don’t worry! The plan can easily be revised to fit your city’s guidelines, they will usually give you feedback as to why you were not approved.
These steps are a basic outline to the process of reconstructing your commercial business. To learn more about commercial businesses related topics, read our blogs. And if you have any questions regarding disaster recovery or construction, give us a call and we’d be happy to respond.
How to Apply For a Construction Permit (Residential)
Picture this: You are cooking buffalo chicken wings for your beautiful family of four. It’s their favorite meal, and you are so excited to see the look on their faces when they see the fine dining you’ve prepared. You are just about done coating the wings with batter, and plop them into the fryer. You walk away for two seconds to watch on TV which bachelor Hannah has sent home this week, and when you come back to your kitchen you notice……. IT’S IN FLAMES! EEEK!
The fire department came and everyone is safe. You call SERVPRO to remediate the damage, but your beloved kitchen is gone. What was once full of happiness and buffalo chicken wings, is now black soot and lung burning ash. But, need not to worry young padawan, for this is the perfect recipe to build an entire new kitchen to take your buffalo chicken wings to the next level!
SERVPRO will help you reconstruct your damaged property! To reconstruct a part of your home, you must obtain a permit from the city to do so. This is necessary for the city to make sure your reconstructions adhere to safety codes and any other restrictions they may have. These codes vary from city to city, and you can find the ones for Torrance here. Specifically for the city of Torrance, you must create an account with their Online Permit, Request and Licensing Center to apply for a building permit. Before you apply for a permit, you must have a detailed plan of your construction to show that everything done is adhering to your city’s codes. Our construction workers here at SERVPRO have the experience and training to help you with this step so your permit is approved. This is what the building permit application looks like for the city of Torrance.
Once you have submitted your application, it will take a few weeks to hear back while they are reviewing the application. In the case your permit is denied, all that needs to happen is a revision of the plan to make sure again that all codes are being met, and then resubmit! After your permits have been approved, the city’s interference is not finished yet. There must be scheduled inspections during the period of construction for the city to make sure the progress of work is adhering to all city codes.
Obtaining a permit may seem like a hard thing to do, but with the help of our SERVPRO technicians the process will be smooth and stress free. If you have any more questions about the permit process, call our 24 hour service line. We’d be more than happy to serve you in any way possible!
What Are Construction Permits?
Imagine you live in a neighborhood where every house looks the same, and every block matches the one that came before. The neighborhood is organized into perfect symmetry, then one day the annoying guy down the street builds a hot pink addition to the front side of his property. The roof is a sickening green-yellow, and the edges protrude out onto the sidewalk. The window trimmings are a gaudy royal blue, and the front door to this weird forward addition is a bright fire engine red.
I bet you think that scenario is excessive and unrealistic, and that’s because it is! The reason you’ve never seen/heard of something like this is because of construction permits. Construction permits are official approvals for projects/remodels to homes and commercial buildings which are issued by the local government. A specific example would be adding some concrete to your driveway. The design and land usage must be approved by the association if you have one, and the local building department.
Keep in mind, a construction permit is not needed for simple repairs around the house. You don’t need to submit an application to patch a wall, or fix a leaky faucet. The construction permit is used for major mechanical or structural changes to a house, like space additions or work on gas lines. The whole point of the construction permit is to make sure that the annoying guy down the street doesn’t ruin the aesthetic of the neighborhood with his hot pink front addition. It’s also for the crazy lady next door that thinks she can reconfigure all her electrical wires by herself, even though she’s never done anything even remotely close to it before. The permits are used to keep everyone safe, and to allow the neighborhood to look its best.
What We Look For When Inspecting Fire Damage
"When your office is burning down but you know you have SERVPRO to save you."
At SERVPRO, fire and water damage remediation is our specialty. So let’s talk about fire! Accidents happen and when they do we are here to clean it up. With over 50 years of experience in the disaster recovery business, we know how to make your property “Like it never even happened.” When confronting fire damage, there are a wide range on things to take account for in the inspection process. Here are some of the things we look for:
Soot and Ash
A fire produces heavy amounts of smoke from the burning of different materials that your home is made up of. The remnants of the smoke are soot and ash that can be left on the walls, ceiling, furniture, and floors. It visibly stains the areas, making your property look dirtied with fire damage! But, no need to worry, this can be fixed. Here at SERVPRO, we use special vacuums to suck up the ash and soot, but sometimes even after cleaning the smell remains. In these cases, the affected areas must be replaced to eliminate the odor in your property.
These are the most obvious places that need to be replaced. Once the supporting beams, walls, and ceiling of your house is touched by fire, the structural integrity of it is greatly compromised. You can see which areas of your house are affected because everything is burned visibly black. These areas are removed and reconstructed to keep your property safe and looking “Like it never even happened.” At SERVPRO, we have the certifications to remediate your damaged home AND reconstruct it. You can choose us or a separate construction company to proceed with the final rebuild of your property. Check out some of our construction before and after photos here.
A fire can directly damage the electrical outlets and wiring by melting and burning them, or indirectly through heat and smoke. They can also be damaged by water from firefighting efforts. We check for all of these things when inspecting your property after fire damage. It is usually light fixtures, outlets, and exposed electronics that must be completely replaced following a fire. But, we have seen cases where a property’s internal wiring is damaged and must be completely repaired. Our highly trained technicians have the certifications and experience to restore every range of damage that a fire has done to your property.
These are some of the key things we look for after fire damage, and we share so you know if your home is in need of damage restoration. If you are not sure, call our 24 hour emergency line to schedule an inspection, or even for any questions you may have about our services.
What We Look For When Inspecting Water Damage
Photo example of dry rot and paint damage
When water damage strikes your home, the effects can be seen in many different ways throughout your property. There are so many things that go into building a stable structure for humans to live/work safely in. When water gets in sensitive places, it can be a threat to the safety of the occupants and to the owners pocket! But, there is no need to worry, here at SERVPRO we inspect each water damage case thoroughly and take immediate action to prevent further damages to save your dollar. Here are some things we look for when inspecting water damage:
When moisture is absorbed into the walls, it can be noticed by the way the paint behaves. In water damage cases, the paint will usually bubble, or peel off. This is how you know unwanted moisture is in the walls that needs to be dried. To find the content of moisture in the affected areas, we use a moisture meter that measures the percent moisture in a given substance/area. To dry the moisture, we use air movers and dehumidifiers that helps the water evaporate quicker.
When water enters your property through flood or a heavy storm, it seeps under the floor and lifts the boards, indicating water damage. If the water under the floor is not dried, it will make your property prone to microbial growth and end up costing you even more. Mold grows in places that are wet and dark, so any part of your property that has those conditions after water damage need to be inspected and dried. To dry the moisture under the floor we use the same air movers and dehumidifiers that help the water evaporate at a quicker pace.
Dry rot happens in the case of long-term water damage. Sometimes a pipe can be leaking for weeks before it is noticed, and the long-term effects of the damage have already happened that must be dealt with. Dry rot is when wetted wood starts to decay over time. For your property to have structural integrity, the wood must be in good condition, but water exposed to the beams for a long period of time lead to dry rot and a weak foundation. Dry Rot cannot be repaired, it must be replaced to ensure your property is in safe condition.
Mold is also in the case of long-term water damage. Mold growth is prone to wet and dark places. The pipes running through your property to transport water are in places like these, and when they leak it is very likely that mold will be the result of this damage. Mold cannot be repaired, it must be removed and remediated to ensure a safe environment on your property.
These are a few of the most common damages that can affect your home in the case of water damage. For every job we inspect these things to get a thorough understating of your property’s water damage situation so we can create a plan to make your home/commercial property “Like it never even happened!”