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Hurricane Harvey Home Remediation: Tips for Cleaning Up Mold After Flooding

After the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the flood waters receded, revealing another threat to the health and lives of Houston residents. After the storm, the warm air and wet conditions provided the perfect circumstances for mold to thrive throughout the interior and exterior walls of thousands of homes.

The main issues associated with indoor mold deal with the respiratory tract. If you’re already sick, mold will make you sicker. If you aren’t sick, mold can make you sick. You may experience coughing, wheezing, asthma, shortness of breath, or other respiratory illnesses and symptoms if you breathe in enough mold.

How to Protect Your Home and Your Health from Mold After Harvey

If you’ve begun to clean up and dry out your home, you may have come to the realization that the process can be extremely costly (insurance may not cover everything), require weeks of work, and that you might not know exactly what to do.

Here are three scenarios to help you better understand the home remediation process. If you’ve dried out your home, then you’re ready to demolish, but be careful. You need to understand some home construction basics before moving forward.

hurricane harvey home remediation typical brick wall

A typical brick home wall has four layers. The outer brick layer, the exterior sheathing layer, the space between the exterior sheathing and the drywall where insulation is installed, and interior sheathing, or drywall.

Scenario #1:

You’ve successfully dried the exterior sheathing of your home without removing it.

After you’ve removed most of the moisture from the exterior sheathing, there is still a chance mold will continue to grow, then reenter your home and your respiratory tract.

To prevent this, you want to completely seal the exterior sheathing from the interior of your home with insulation from the base board up to the space between the first and second levels of your home.

If you don’t seal all the way to the ceiling, mold can grow up the walls and back down into your home from above. Spray foam insulation can create a thick enough seal to stop the mold in its tracks.

Scenario #2:

Your exterior sheathing is too damaged to keep.

In this situation, you’ll want to remove the brick exterior from your home, remove and replace the exterior sheathing, replace the bricks, and then re-insulate.

This is the recommended solution by most construction professionals, but it’s also one of the most expensive solutions, as insurance often does not cover the costs of removing and replacing brick.

Scenario #3:

You removed the exterior sheathing even though you didn’t need to, without removing the brick. You may find that completely replacing your exterior sheathing and brick (Scenario #2) will be too expensive.

If you cannot afford to replace sheathing and brick, there is an alternative solution that does not follow typical building and construction standards. We’re happy to help, as you long as you understand the associated risks.

Garland Insulating can coat the interior side of the bricks with a thick layer of spray foam insulation, skipping the process of replacing your exterior sheathing.

This layer of spray foam must completely fill the space between your bricks and your new layer of drywall. Just as in Scenario #1, the insulation would need to be applied from floor to ceiling to ensure no moisture enters your home.

Please note that our company is not a general contractor or home construction company, Garland Insulating specializes in insulation only. Before starting any of these processes, please consult with an expert.

Contact Us for More Information

Do you have further questions about what steps you should take next during the remediation of your home? Call or visit our website for information on your local Garland Insulating location today.