Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How much will it cost?
It’s impossible to predict the final cost of cleanup and restoration until we have assessed the damage. We will provide a free estimate detailing all of the costs before beginning work.

How long will it take?
Unfortunately, we cannot predict how long it will take to clean up and restore your property until we have assessed the damage. We will explain how long the process will take before beginning work.

How does the process work?
After you call us, we will assess the damage and provide a free estimate. If you approve, sign our contract and we will begin work right away. We will keep you informed throughout the process and are available to answer questions at any time. If necessary, we can work directly with your insurance company. Once the job is completed, we’ll review our work to ensure you are satisfied.

Will I need to vacate my property?
Whether you choose to stay at your property depends largely on your own personal preference. Be aware that there may be strong odors, loud noises from equipment or construction, or disruptions to utility services. If the damage is severe, you may be required to leave. We will explain in advance if you are unable to remain in your property.

Will you work with my insurance?
We work with all insurance companies and can bill your insurance company directly. Depending on your insurance company, we may bill you directly for your deductible. We will explain the entire insurance process before beginning work. If you do not file a claim or the damage isn’t covered, we will expect you to pay the entire balance as outlined in the terms of our contract.

Water Damage

What is water damage?
Water damage includes a wide variety of damage caused by water. Water damage is commonly caused by leaky or broken pipes, plumbing or sewage backups, or floods. Water damage is classified into three categories. Category 1 is clean water and involves damage caused by water supply lines. Category 2 is grey water and is caused by wastewater. Category 3 is black water and contains unsanitary contaminated water.

Can you dry my carpet or flooring?
In most cases, we can clean and dry carpeting and flooring. Some non-porous flooring may trap water and complicate the drying process. Additionally, some flooring may be contaminated depending on the source of water. We will explain the drying and restoration process before beginning work and outline items that may need to be replaced.

Can you dry wet furniture?
While we can dry furniture, the construction of the furniture and the extent of the water damage may affect our ability to restore the item. Once it is dried, we’ll access whether the item is salvageable. If the furniture is non-salvageable, we will document the damage for the insurance claim and dispose of the item if necessary.

Can you dry my belongings?
We will make all efforts to dry and restore all of your belongings. Paintings, photographs, antiques, and heirlooms may require special restoration techniques. We will work with your insurance company to identify these items and find a qualified restoration specialist.

Should I open a window or turn the heater or air conditioner on to speed up drying?
Opening a window or turning on the heat or air conditioner will not necessarily speed the drying process along. We may open windows or make adjustments to your heating and cooling system to aid the drying process. Please do not open windows or change heating and cooling settings without talking to us first.

It smells during the drying process, is this normal?
Smells are common during the drying process and typically not a sign for concern. Odors will usually dissipate on their own during the final stages of the drying process. Let us know if smells persist or become overwhelming.

What equipment will be used?
We use professional grade air movers and dehumidifiers to dry affected areas and materials. The air movers help accelerate the release of water that absorbed into carpeting, drywall, wood, etc. The dehumidifiers pull moisture from the air, creating the right conditions for proper drying. The type and extent of damage will determine how much of what equipment we use.

Do I need to monitor the equipment?
We will place and monitor equipment to ensure optimal drying. Please do not move or turn off our equipment, as it may slow down drying and increase the potential for damage. Let us know if equipment fails or there is a disruption in utility services.

Is your equipment safe for children and pets?
While our equipment is safe, we do advise that you supervise children and pets at all times. Equipment can be noisy, which may be disruptive or frightening to children and pets.

What will the equipment cost me to operate?
Our drying equipment operates on electricity. We estimate that each piece of equipment will cost approximately $1 per day to operate. Actual costs will vary based upon your utility rates.

Fire Damage

What is fire damage?
Fire damage typically includes major structural damage caused by a fire. There may also be secondary water damage caused as firefighters put out the fire. Fire damage may also include smoke damage and soot damage.

How do I know if my property is safe?
We recommend that you do not enter your property until cleared to do so by a fire marshal, fire investigation team, or other professional.

Can I use my furnace or air conditioner?
Since soot particles are fine, it’s recommended that you not use your furnace or air conditioner until we have properly cleaned the area. We will advise you when it is safe to turn on your HVAC systems.

Can you restore my paintings, photographs, antiques, etc?
These items may require special restoration techniques. We will work with your insurance company to find a qualified specialist.

Smoke and Soot Damage

What is smoke damage and soot damage?
Smoke and soot damage is typically caused by small kitchen fires or incidents with unexpected or uncontrollable fires in fireplaces. While these small fires may not leave significant structural damage, they do pose a risk to the contents of your home or office because of the acidic soot produced during the fire.

What is soot?
Soot is a dark, powdery ash produced during fires. These particles are very fine, allowing them to cling to most surfaces, including walls, ceilings, and your possessions. Soot is acidic and can stain porous materials like flooring, walls, ceilings, and furniture and damage paintings, photographs, antiques, and even electronics.

Can I clean smoke and soot myself?
While you can clean up soot on your own, highly acidic soot can do lasting damage if not properly cleaned up. Soot particles are very fine and they can spread throughout your property. Without proper cleaning procedures, it’s likely that dangerous soot will remain.

Can I use my furnace or air conditioner?
Since soot particles are fine, it’s recommended that you not use your furnace or air conditioner until we have properly cleaned the area. We will advise you when it is safe to turn on your HVAC systems.

Can you restore my paintings, photographs, antiques, etc?
These items may require special restoration techniques. We will work with your insurance company to find a qualified specialist.

Mold Removal

What is mold?
Mold is a variety of airborne fungus that grows in the presence of moisture. Many building materials and household items are conducive to mold growth, including drywall, fiberboard, paper, cardboard, paneling, wood, ceiling tiles, carpeting, insulation, fabric, upholstery, dust, lint, and even paint. Once wet, they can quickly become a breeding ground for mold.

Do I have mold?
Mold isn’t always visible, so just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean you don’t have a mold problem. Common indicators of mold include discoloration, peeling paint or wallpaper, crumbling walls or building materials, or a persistent musty or damp odor. Since mold requires a source of moisture to grow, look for areas that are consistently damp or prone to excessive humidity.

Can I clean up mold on my own?
While you can clean small areas of mold on your own, mold may still be lurking behind wallpaper, drywall or paneling, underneath flooring or in carpet padding, or in the walls and ceiling. Unless the originating source of moisture is resolved, the mold will return. Hard surfaces like metal, glass, and plastic can be cleaned using a mixture of bleach and water, while porous materials should be thrown away. You should not attempt to clean up mold on your own if you have persistent or widespread mold issues, areas that are consistently damp or prone to excessive moisture or humidity, or significant water damage.

Does mold pose a danger?
Although mold may cause a number of adverse health effects, sensationalized journalism and unscrupulous marketers have blown many of them out of proportion. Common symptoms of mold exposure include nasal or chest congestion, sneezing, dry or itchy eyes, skin irritation, headaches, and fatigue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals prone to allergies, asthma, or upper respiratory issues may experience more severe symptoms. In rare cases, serious lung infections may occur in people with chronic lung illnesses or immune deficiencies. Because the effects of mold can vary widely from person to person, the CDC recommends that mold is cleaned up as quickly as possible to limit exposure.

What type of mold do I have?
There is a great deal of disinformation about so-called “toxic” black mold, causing many to worry about the exact type of mold they have. Black mold is unlikely to be any more dangerous to a healthy individual than any other variety of mold. It is difficult to tell the difference between black mold and other varieties of molds, fungus, or mildew without costly scientific analysis. Signs of mold should be addressed immediately and the source of moisture resolved.

How do I prevent mold growth?
Mold requires a consistent source of moisture to thrive. Any consistent source of moisture, such as a leaky pipe or drainage issue, should be cause for concern. The longer you wait to have the water issue resolved and the area inspected, the greater the chance mold will appear or spread.

Sewage Cleanup

What is sewage?
Sewage is wastewater that contains solid waste, human excrement, viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

Can you clean up sewage?
We do clean up sewage, but it may not be possible to restore some contaminated items and replacement may be the only option. We will review our cleanup and sanitation procedures and address your concerns before beginning work.

Is there a risk of contamination from sewage?
There is a risk of contamination due to the composition of sewage. Once porous materials like drywall, carpet, paneling, ceiling tile, and insulation have been exposed, they cannot be cleaned and sanitized. Affected items will need to be removed and discarded to prevent further contamination and health risks. We can clean and sanitize some hard surfaces. We will explain the risk of contamination and review our cleanup and sanitation procedures before beginning work.

Can I clean up sewage on my own?
You can clean up sewage on your own, but we recommend this only if the exposure is small and you take the proper safety precautions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing personal protective equipment including goggles, face shield, liquid-repellent coveralls, waterproof gloves, and rubber boots. Wash your hands frequently, both before and after handling sewage, and avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose. Due to the risk of contamination, it is advisable to get professional help if the area of exposure is large or deep, if porous building materials including drywall, carpet, paneling, ceiling tile, and insulation have been exposed, or when you cannot take the proper precautions to clean up sewage safely on your own.

How did sewage backup into my property?
Sewage backups are caused by a blockage in the lateral service pipe that runs between your home and municipal sewer mains. These blockages may be caused by solid objects accidentally flushed down the drain, structural deterioration or defect, or tree roots cracking or growing through your sewer pipe. Sewage may also backup if a significant amount of water enters the municipal sewer main in a very short time, typically during extremely heavy rainfall or the rapid melting of snow or ice.

Reconstruction

Will I need to be at the property throughout reconstruction?
Our goal is to be as unobtrusive to your daily schedule as possible. Commonly customers provide a key to the Project Manager, but other options are available. We will work with you to give you safety and peace of mind during reconstruction.

What is “pre-loss condition”?
The pre-loss condition is the state your property was in prior to when the damage occured. We will use the same or similar materials during reconstruction. Existing damage not associated with this loss will not be included in the scope of the project.

What is “non-insured work”?
Renovations unrelated to the damage will be considered non-insured work. You may choose to include renovations not related to your original loss at an additional cost, such as remodeling a kitchen or bathroom. Non-insured work may require a separate contract and payment terms.

What are “code or by-law upgrades”?
In the event that your pre-loss condition no longer meets legal building codes, a code or by-law upgrade may be required. Your insurance adjuster will be able to answer questions regarding these upgrades.

Do I need to hire my own contractors?
We will clearly communicate what reconstruction we are able to do. Should additional contractors be necessary, we are prepared to make recommendations or you can use your own contractor.

Do I need to get building permits?
We typically acquire required building permits, but will specifically direct you to do so should this not be the case. Permit fees will be included in our free estimate and may be covered by your insurance.