Kingwood and Humble Home Safety: Act Fast to Restore Personal Items After a Flood
Rebuilding your Houston area home after flood and storm damage ravages your property is a challenge—physically, financially, and emotionally. The toughest losses are of sentimental personal items that simply cannot be replaced. For this reason, although water damage clean-up and mold prevention are top priorities, don’t overlook the importance of starting the restoration process on your personal items, fine art, antiques, photos, and other family heirlooms.
When following our 8 Essential Tips for Rebuilding After a Storm, your locally owned and operated Houston SERVPRO recommends simultaneously tending to the cleaning and restoration of your heirlooms. At first glance, it may appear that some items—including photographs, fine art, tapestries, antique quilts, clothing, etc.—have been damaged beyond repair. However, with quick intervention, you may be surprised how much can be preserved with the right techniques, processes, and equipment.
First, let’s talk about what not to do when you locate personal items damaged by floodwaters.
- Do not try to separate photos that are stuck together.
- Do not remove photographs or artwork from glass frames or photo albums.
- Do not place antiques or upholstered furniture in direct sunlight to dry.
- Do not allow items to remain in floodwaters or on damp floors for any longer than is absolutely necessary.
Now, let’s talk about what you should do immediately to preserve personal items.
- Set up a clean and dry place to assess the damage of sentimental pieces, possibly offsite at a friend’s home that was not damaged. Place a protective tarp on the floor, and carefully move items in, wiping any sludge from hard surfaces.
- Photographs: If you do not have original negatives or digital copies saved offsite, take new pictures (or scan) prior to attempting any restoration. Next, set up a soaking, cleaning, and drying area. In warm water, soak any photos that are dried and stuck together. Change dirty water frequently. It may take up to an hour for the photos to loosen. At regular intervals, carefully test the back of the photos for peeling.
Once loosened, rinse photos under cool water and place on towels to dry. If photos are stuck together but still saturated, you can freeze them for several hours, allow them to defrost, and then peel each one back carefully. Photographs are one of the trickiest items to restore so for older heirloom photographs, it is wise to consult with your Houston area SERVPRO for best practices.
- For fine art, heirloom or antique fabrics, including quilts and other irreplaceable items, it is highly recommended that you seek professional restoration. In the interim, you can blot fabrics and upholstered items with clean, white cotton towels to absorb as much excess moisture as possible. However, do not rub. Wipe down any wood or other hard surfaces with clean, damp cloths until a professional restoration team can pick up your heirlooms.
As with all tasks involved in flood and storm damage restoration process, time is of the essence to prevent mold infestations and further damage to structures and personal items.
Your Houston area locally owned and operated SERVPRO of Kingwood and Humble is available 24/7 to assist you throughout the cleanup and rebuilding process. Call on us any time when you get overwhelmed by the task at hand.
About the Kingwood-Humble SERVPRO
The SERVPRO teams of Kingwood and Humble are Faster to Any Size Disaster, helping residential and commercial property owners when floods, fires, mold growths, sewage backups, and other events affect your home. Our primary focus is to get your home back into a safe and healthy condition as quickly as possible. In addition to our neighbors in Kingwood and Humble, we proudly serve surrounding communities in the Houston area.