How to Deal with Commercial Water Damage (And Restore Your Property!)

Photo From ServiceMaster of Lake Shore

Originally Posted On: https://servicemasteroflakeshore.com/how-to-deal-with-commercial-water-damage/

 

As one of the leading commercial water damage restoration companies in Chicago, we spend each day helping business and property owners whose restaurant, retail facility, or offices have experienced water damage.

Thanks to this experience, we’re uniquely qualified to help you deal with commercial water damage at your facility.

In this post, we’ll discuss what steps you need to take to restore your space and get back to business as usual.

Is Water Damage an Emergency?

If you’re facing water damage, you’re probably wondering what to do and who to call. It’s important to remember that all water damage is severe – even if it seems minimal.

To prevent mold, mildew, and further harm to your property, you need to begin the cleanup process immediately. Unless you clean the water up and stop the source of the leak within 24-48 hours, you could find yourself facing structural issues and mold growth.

While you don’t need to call 911 for most cases of water damage, you should contact a local restoration company as quickly as possible. Water damage situations can be dangerous, especially after floods or natural disasters. Be aware of hazards like electricity and gas supply, waterlogged appliances, and standing water contaminated with gasoline, sewage, or chemicals.

How to Spot Water Damage in Your Commercial Property

Moisture readers can help detect unseen water damage.

Some water damage is visible. Standing water, puddles, or flooding are all noticeable by the naked eye, you’ll notice. Other water damage, though, is hidden and can be hard to identify. Here are a few signs that you have water damage somewhere on your property:

  • Damaged windows. Windows are a common source of water damage in commercial buildings. Unless they’re sealed properly, they can allow water to seep in, triggering a host of problems including mold growth, warped drywall and wood, and standing water.
  • Leaking pipes. It’s relatively rare for pipes to burst suddenly. Instead, the problem usually begins with a hairpin leak and gets worse from there. When pipes are exposed, leaks will create drops or pools of water. If they’re behind walls or in a ceiling, you may notice water stains on the floor or wall, cracked or loose ceiling or floor tiles, and a musty smell. If you’re not sure whether your pipes are leaking, contact a restoration company to evaluate the area with specialized leak detection equipment.
  • Roof leaks. Roofs can (and do) leak. When they do, they can cause mold, mildew, ceiling damage, and more. Have your roof professionally inspected a few times a year to guard against leaks and fix them when they do crop up.
  • Sewer clogs. Sewer backup is one of the most common causes of water damage at commercial property. Caused by clogging in the pipes, blockages, and worn-out plumbing, these leaks generally begin with gurgling in the pipes or water backing up into the drain or toilet.

Have these issues evaluated by a restoration professional immediately to avoid severe complications. Restoration professionals use infrared cameras to detect hidden moisture.

The Commercial Water Damage Restoration Process

So, you have water damage. What happens next?

Remember: even minimal water damage can be a serious issue for your company, and restoration isn’t something you should attempt on your own. This means the first step is to contact a professional water damage restoration company that specializes in restoring commercial properties after water damage.

Once the team arrives, here is the process you can expect them to follow:

  1. Assessment and inspection. The first step is to assess how severe the water damage is and to make a plan to restore the space. The restoration team will evaluate the damage and develop a strategy to approach it.
  2. Water mitigation. Next, the team will take inventory, pack out items that can be saved, and begin mitigating the water damage. They’ll identify the source of the leak and stop it, and take precautionary measures to keep workers safe in the area.
  3. Cleanup, drying out, and sanitization. During this step, the team will clean up the standing water, bring in industrial fans to get air moving, dry the area out to prevent mold growth, and sanitize the space.
  4. Restoration and repair. Finally, the team will begin the restoration process. During this phase, they’ll repair damaged building materials like drywall and flooring and help you get your building ready for business as usual.

How To Prevent Mold Growth After Water Damage

The first step to preventing mold growth is to move quickly. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), mold and mildew will develop within 24-48 hours of water exposure. Even worse, the mold growth will continue until you take steps to get rid of the source of moisture and kill existing mold spores.

mold behind wall in retail store chicago
After water damage, mold can grow very quickly. This is what we recently found behind the drywall of a commercial facility here in Chicago, IL.

When your restoration team arrives at the property, they’ll take immediate steps to stop the spread of mold. In addition to promptly turning off all water sources and removing standing water, they’ll dry the area out and sanitize spaces affected by water damage.

What Water Damage Is Covered by Commercial Insurance?

Water damage can be expensive, and it’s essential to have comprehensive commercial water damage coverage from your insurance provider. Not all commercial property insurance policies are the same, though, and it’s important to understand what your policy will cover. Unless you have comprehensive water damage coverage, you may find yourself paying a big restoration bill.

Leaks and burst pipes are two of the most common causes of water damage in commercial spaces, so it’s critical to ensure your policy covers those issues. Keep in mind, though, that commercial property policies don’t typically cover gradual leaks since they tend to fall under the umbrella of negligence. That begs the question: water damage in commercial leased property – who is responsible?

While the exact answer to this question depends on your lease agreement, the general rule is that you may be responsible for the damage if it was your negligence or neglect that caused the issue. If the problem was outside your control, you’re likely not accountable.

If you’re not sure what your commercial property insurance covers, contact your insurance provider to learn more and add coverage if needed.

How To Prevent Future Water Damage

ceiling water damage stain chicago
Conduct regular inspections to catch water damage like this.

Once you’ve found your restoration company and gone through the restoration process, the next step will be to prevent future water damage in your space. Here are a few critical tips:

  • Conduct inspections regularly. Commercial buildings tend to be more complicated than residential buildings, and it’s critical to ensure all your systems are working correctly. This is where commercial inspections come in. In addition to identifying any problems, they give you the chance to resolve them before they become a major issue.
  • Know your shut-off valves. The first step in any water emergency is to shut off the water supply. Because of this, it’s essential to know where your shut-off valves are.
  • Secure important items. If your building flooded right now, what would you lose? While it may be impossible to save all the equipment in your building, you can secure documents, paperwork, and electronics. Invest in a waterproof filing cabinet to keep your critical records secure.

Dealing with Commercial Water Damage in Chicago, IL? We Can Help!

As the premier commercial disaster recovery company in Chicago, we specialize in helping customers repair and restore their commercial properties.

Contact us today for help with commercial water damage in Chicagoland: 312-707-8597