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Ellis Environmental Management Inc.

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When Water Intrudes

Recent heavy rains in southern California are impacting many buildings. We’re seeing damage to ceiling spaces, wall spaces and floors.  If not addressed quickly, mold growth – and its attendant problems – are likely.

Avoiding mold growth is not difficult

These simple steps are the most efficient way to get your building and work spaces back in service, at a minimum cost, and with the shortest possible delay. Done quickly, mold growth can be avoided altogether.

First, look for telltale signs of water intrusion:

  1. Blistering paint on walls.
  2. Brown or tan water spots on ceiling tiles or ceiling wallboard.
  3. Damp carpet.

If you suspect water intrusion in your space, the following corrective steps must be performed immediately:

  1. Building services: first identify the source of water intrusion.  Inspect the roof and above-ceiling spaces for evidence of standing water, clogged roof drains, etc.
  2. Building services (or roofing contractor): Correct the source of intrusion.  Clear the drains, patch any suspect gaps or tears in existing roofing seals and mastics.
  3. Concurrently with items 4 and 5 above, place dehumidifiers and fans in impacted areas.   Along with the steps listed below, this will accelerate the corrective measures. 
  4. Ellis: Assess the extent of moisture damage.  We use conductive moisture meters and infra-red cameras to do this and will mark out the extent of water-impacted materials.
  5. Ellis: Where wet wallboard is identified, test impacted materials and paint for asbestos and lead.  (Many owners neglect to do this.) 
  6. Ellis:  Where no hazardous materials are identified, cut a few small exploratory holes in the wettest areas.  Have facilities or a general contractor on standby to patch holes.  (Ellis can also arrange this.) 
  7. Is there fiberglass insulation inside those walls?  If there is, the wallboard must be stripped out (removed) along its base, the wet insulation removed, and the interior wall space dried completely.  Ellis can arrange for a contractor to perform this step. 
  8. If there is NO insulation, coring and drying the wall spaces - rather than complete removal – MAY be effective.    Keep the fans and dehumidifiers running during this period.
  9. Once complete, contact Ellis for additional guidance and/or clearance sampling.

The best course: act quickly. The earlier you identify and remove mold, the less expensive the remedy.  Feel free to contact us for answers to your questions, contractor recommendations, etc.