How to Restore Concrete Affected by Water Damage
While concrete may seem like the furthest thing from a sponge, it’s actually able to soak up and store water in a surprisingly similar way. When your basement floods, whether it be the result of a natural disaster or a burst pipe, it can not only damage your furniture and flooring, but the concrete underneath as well. Unfortunately, this damage often goes unnoticed and untreated because it can’t be seen – people assume that because their floor is dry, everything’s fine.
But even after you’ve dried the surface, the concrete under your floors and in your walls can retain moisture and lead to some serious problems down the road. As water vapor rises from the material due to condensation, it can warp hardwood and cause carpet to bubble and crease. The excess moisture can ruin a floor that uses a water-based adhesive to attach to the concrete, causing the floor to shift and slide around. And if your basement’s concrete isn’t restored promptly, it can become a hotbed for mold growth, which can pose a serious risk to your family’s health.
The only way to prevent these things from happening to your home after you’ve experienced devastating water damage is to have the concrete restored by a professional contractor.
The Restoration Process
Unfortunately for the handymen out there, concrete restoration isn’t a do-it-yourself job. Damage caused by flooding is serious, and needs to be done correctly to prevent further harm to your home. Plus, moisture trapped within concrete isn’t visible to the naked eye, and requires special equipment to detect and treat. Contractors often use a thermo-hygrometer to detect the amount of moisture in a given area, and once the amount of moisture coming from the concrete in your home has been determined, the water removal process will begin.
Dehumidifiers are the most common tool used by restoration professionals to remove excess moisture from wet concrete. These aren’t the same as the dehumidifier you keep by your bedside when you’re sick – contractors use low-grain refrigerant (LGR) dehumidifiers, which are much more powerful and efficient, to remove water vapor from your concrete as quickly as possible.
In the drying process, a dehumidifier is often paired with a heavy-duty air mover. By increasing the circulation of air in a room, they increase the rate of water evaporation. An air mover works most efficiently on the edges of a room while a dehumidifier is placed in the center. Restoration technicians rely on air movers to dry concrete fast and ward off harmful mold, which can grow rapidly in a dark underground space like your basement.
Before you can install new flooring over your concrete, it will need to reach its equilibrium moisture content. This is the point at which the concrete is dry enough not to let moisture escape into the surrounding air, yet wet enough that it doesn’t absorb excess moisture from the air. During the drying process, a technician will frequently test the air using the thermos-hygrometer to determine when equilibrium has been reached and a new floor can be safely installed.
Got Water Damage? Hire a Contractor as Soon as Possible
The initial impact of water damage is stressful and devastating enough as it is, but the aftermath can cause additional, unforeseen headaches down the road. Don’t allow lingering moisture in your concrete to sneak up on you – if you’re in the Denver, Colorado area and your home has recently been affected by water damage, call the professionals at Restoration Logistics to assess the situation and restore your home to pre-disaster conditions.