The Low Country is blessed with incredible natural beauty. For this reason, many people purchase houses here that they use as a vacation home or second residence. A large number of these homes can be found on Kiawah Island, Seabrook, Sullivan’s Island, the Isle of Palms and Folly Beach.
These homes represent special challenges to the water restoration professional. Because these homes do not serve as a primary residence, they are left unattended for days or even weeks at a time. Water leaks might go undetected for a similar length of time. This is unfortunate, because the destructive power of water is greatly increased over time.
This phenomenon was amply illustrated by a recent water remediation we performed on a beach house on Edisto Island. The hot water heater failed on a Friday. But the owner was not made aware of the loss until the following Wednesday. She walked into the house with her two daughters, eager for a week at the beach in their beautiful vacation home. Instead, they found that their kitchen ceiling had collapsed, their cabinets had lost their shape and their hardwood floors were severely buckled.
Moreover, the entire residence was affected by an unpleasant odor. The source of this odor was the growth of mold, bacteria and viruses that accompanies all unmitigated water losses.
Hardwood floors, cabinets and carpeting can all be dried and salvaged if they have been affected by clean water, and if a water remediation professional is brought in at an early time. Conversely, these materials must be discarded if they remain wet for an extended period of time. On occasions such as these, the duty of the water remediation professional is to discard the materials that cannot be saved, so that the remainder of the structure can be dried and sanitized.
Rainbow International removed all of the flooring in the home. We also discarded all of the vanities and lower kitchen cabinets. We then sanitized the wood subflooring. We dried the subfloor, the framing and 99% of the drywall.
If you own a second home, have someone check on it on a regular basis. Make good friends with your neighbors! Make sure they know how to contact you. And make sure that someone local you trust has a way of getting into the home.