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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How Does Exposure to Water Affect Building Materials?

1/3/2022 (Permalink)

Recent commercial water damage to carpet in Newark, Ohio.

Water damage affects various building materials in different ways. From crumbling drywall to swelling wood, here are a few of the affects that exposure to water can have on common building materials. 


Water can begin to penetrate drywall within hours. This material may react in several ways, including 

  • Disintegration 
  • Swelling 
  • Supporting mold growth 

Drywall that has been exposed to water may need to be torn out and replaced.  
Wood flooring and carpeting respond to water damage differently. Wood floors are particularly vulnerable after water permeates the polyurethane coating. You may observe some of the following effects: 

  • Cupping 
  • Swelling wood 
  • Splitting planks 

Solid wood flooring may be restored through several methods, such as 

  • Sanding 
  • Scraping 
  • Refinishing 
  • Removing and retrofitting planks 

Regardless of flooring type, wet subfloors may need to be replaced. Moist concrete at the base should also be completely dry prior to restoration. 
Carpet exposed to clean water from a supply line break may be dried if the damage is quickly discovered and mitigated. If carpet remains saturated for hours or days or is initially exposed to contaminated black water, it should be torn out and replaced. 
Metal may become discolored and begin to corrode within days or weeks of exposure to water. Rust-proof coatings may provide some protection. 
Untreated wood may become stained within minutes or hours of exposure to water. Wood may start to split, swell, or warp within hours or days. Depending on the type of wood, duration of exposure, and structural significance, these components may need to be replaced. 
Take action to mitigate water damage as soon as it occurs at your business in Newark, Ohio. First, contact a plumber for water damage related repairs. Next, call SERVPRO® of Licking County at 740-587-0938.  Our highly trained experts can advise you about swelling wood and which building materials can be safely restored or will need to be replaced. 

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