Category: TCI Restoration

Mold Restoration: Look Out Mold!

When someone mentions the word mold what images come to mind?  Initially you see green, brown, black furry fungus right growing?  The clusters vary in size and can spread quickly taking over an entire surface fast.  It is never a pretty image.  Mold is very serious especially when it invades your home.  Mold is not only unsightly but can also be incredibly harmful to the heath of the occupants of the home.

Mold grows in environments that allow it to grow.  If you have an area that is dark, damp than mold will be attracted to it.  Places such as basements, bathrooms and laundry rooms are the number one areas that attract mold growth.  Mold can grow anywhere though with a little bit of humidity and moisture.  I have seen mold in attics, gym bags, underneath carpet and outside on areas the sun does not reach the siding.

Mold restoration is the next step once you have mold.  It consists of mold killer, hard work and lots of circulating dry air.  If you know any area in your home is more susceptible to mold growth it is best to take necessary precautions to make sure an infestation does not occur.  For instance, basements should have a dehumidifier to keep the moisture levels in check.  Fresh air is important also especially during seasons that keep your house closed up often.  Open the windows just a crack and turn on fans during the winter and summer seasons to make sure your home does not become susceptible to mold.  Also, make sure you clean regularly using anti-bacterial products.  They will likely kill spores, if present, before you even see them.

What happens if you are too late and mold has already found its way into your home?  For instance, we purchased a home in which the toilet leaked and mold had started to grow behind the toilet and on the carpet in the next room.  First we made sure that the leak was fixed and then decided that our mold issue was both major and minor.  The mold in the bathroom on the ceramic tile and wood molding was easily removed using a mold killer solution and thoroughly cleaning the area and then allowing it to dry using oscillating fans to keep the flow of air going to help the drying process. We then determined it would be best to remove the carpet and apply mold killer to the subflooring and allowing the area to dry.  It was best to replace the carpet because carpet is one area that it is tough to clean good enough to prevent the mold growth from returning.

Mold restoration is not anything to mess around with. It is best to find a mold remediation company if mold is in sensitive places such as attics where both wood and insulation is involved.  Mold removal companies have special products and equipment to handle situations that normal homeowners can occur.  It is especially important to have the number of a professional on hand that works with mold and water extraction after a disaster such as a flood or fire.  This will help alleviate long term issues your home could end up with.

Mold Removal: Removing Mold From Anywhere

Mold is a huge health issue.  Mold can cause respiratory issues, allergic reactions and asthma.  It is imperative to the health of your family to eliminate mold spores form your home properly.  Improper removal of mold can cause the mold to actually spread.  Different surfaces require various cleaning techniques to make sure the mold is completely removed.

A home remedy of mold killer will work just as well as anything store bought for mold removal.  This works well on multiple surfaces.  You will mix 1/3 C powdered soap, 1 qt chlorine bleach,  and  3 qt hot water (not boiling).  Add the bleach to the water and then the detergent mixing this all together you will create your mold cleanser.

A natural cleanser can be made using lemon juice and salt.  The paste can be used almost anywhere that can be laundered.  This is a great concentrate to use on clothes, towels, pillows and blankets.


Of course prevention is the key.  With concrete surfaces make sure bushes and trees are trimmed allowing sunlight to dry up excess water that could provide the right environment for mold and mildew to fester.  Prevent standing water on the concrete to prevent initial mold growth.

Using safety precautions such as goggles, gloves and ventilation you will take your mold killer and using a stiff bristle brush scrub the mixture covering the mold and surrounding areas.  Let the mixture concentrate on the area for five to ten minutes and spray off the area with a hose.  If the mold is still visible you will want to repeat the mold removal process until the area is free of mold residue.


Wood is a tricky surface to clean in general let alone when dealing with mold.  The best solution of mold remover to use is five tablespoons of baking soda with one gallon of warm water.  Carefully soak a white cloth with the combination.  You will want to remove only some of the water.  Do not ring the cloth out completely, you want the mixture to penetrate the wood surface a little.  Rub the wood surface until the mold and mildew is gone.  If there are grooves in the surface you may want to use Q-tips to get in them. You will then want to take a clean moist cloth to wipe over the surface and a clean dry one to wipe down the air.  It is best to use an oscillating fan to circulate the air to optimize drying.

Household Surfaces

This includes vinyl wall paper, linoleum and cork along with several other surfaces found in the house.  You will want to mix five drops of ammonia into a bowl of warm water. Taking a clean rag with the mixture on it you will want to wipe over the surface until the mold is removed rinse with clean water and wipe dry.  If the stain is stubborn you can use mildew killer with the above recipe just use extreme caution indoors.

Ceramic Tile/Grout

Take a bar of soap, any kid will do, along with water and rub the stained area.  Make sure the soap is not a type with added deodorants of any kind.    Rinse with clean water and blot dry.  The area will then need to have a fan placed by it to circulate the air to allow for more thorough drying.


You can use petroleum jelly and rub it on the stained area.  If after you try this gentle technique first without result you can use equal parts rubbing alcohol and water, be careful on colors.  This should remove the stain.  You will need to gently wipe the area down with a clean damp towel and then a dry one to prevent further mold growth.

Mold can grow anywhere. Prevention is the key as mold removal is not always easy and guaranteed.  Harsh chemicals will not always necessarily kill and remove the mold.  Diligence and prevention will help maintain a mold free environment that your family can live in without health issue related to mold infestations.

Fire Restoration: Fixing Your Home After a Fire

People will offer you all kinds of unwanted advice throughout your life. Getting married they give you all kinds of marital advice mostly unwarranted.  When you are pregnant they give you all types of advice about parenting.  Most of the time the advice is unwelcomed and far off base however people are more than happy to give it.

The same happens when you have a disaster with your home.  Whether water, fire or storms damage your home the experience will be met with all types of people giving you advice on how to go about restoring your home.   Really the only advice you should turn to is that of a professional in the business.  Here are some tips I took from my personal experience when our home was damaged by fire.  The fire restoration process was not as awful as it could have been because of a bit of fore sight and a lot of luck.

1)      As soon as the fire trucks arrived on the scene the fire chief reminded me to call my insurance agent.  This is an important first step as he was able to come out and immediately start assessing damages and getting us set up in a hotel for the weeks to come.  It is nice to have a helping hand that is on your side with you at the fire.  In my opinion it is always best to hire an insurance agent who is local that can actually be on hand when you need them to be.

2)      Thankfully I had a metal lock box in the garage with all of our papers with information pertaining to our home, insurance policies, birth certificates, social security cards, marriage license and whatever is important for your family.

3)      You will need to hire a professional fire restoration firm. Don’t go with the first person suggested to you through your agent.  Ask for a few referrals meet with them and continue working with the company that best fits with your family.

4)      Once you are allowed back in the dwelling it is important to circulate the air flow.  Make sure windows and doors are kept open at all times when you are in the home after the fire and after the home has been given clearance to be in.

5)      Before a fire hits make sure you have a picture diary of your home on file with your insurance company.  We did not have this.  We literally had to piece together our belongings room to room after the fire hit.  It was an incredibly difficult process that made us lives through the fire over again.

6)      It is important to remove belongings from your home or cover them with plastic.  All clothing should be laundered.  All food should be removed and thrown out.  Never eat anything that has been involved in a fire.  It is essential to remove all items that are damaged and throw them out.  It is important to keep items you wish to restore and hand them off to the fire restoration firm.

Be patient with the fire restoration that will take place in your home.  You want a thorough job done and life back to normal as soon as you can I know however patience and perseverance are needed for the job to be done correctly.  It is never an enjoyable process to go through but is necessary in fire restoration.

Water Restoration Professionals Saved Our Home

The morning started out as any other.  We got up. Got ready for work, the kids ready for school and we left the house.  When we left everything was calm and dry.  That would all change when we came home that evening.  I got a phone call from my daughter at 3:50.  She was hysterical all I could get from what she was telling me is water everywhere.  That of course is not what you want to hear while you are still miles away from being home.  I hung up with her after telling her to go outside and called the neighbor.  He was able to come over and turn off the water and calm our daughter down.

When my husband and I arrived home we began my assessing the damage and immediately knew we needed to call the insurance company.  Our agent came over immediately and we were able to determine that a pipe had “burst”.  It really had not completely burst but you would have never known that looking at all the water in our home.  The seal had actually ruptured causing the pipe to split apart.

With the water shut off we were able to purchase the materials needed to make the repair.  That was a simple, inexpensive fix however the water cleanup was a whole different story.  Our insurance agent was on the ball and immediately called in a water restoration firm that was well known for helping clients in this exact situation.  They came in and we basically decided we should relocate for the better part of the week.  This was personal choice not something we were told we needed to do.

They began the repair with the removal of the carpet and padding that had gotten soaked.  They then added fans and dehumidifiers into the house to allow the base of the floors to dry before installation of the new carpet. We decided it was best to also have the ceramic tile floor removed to prevent mold from setting in underneath the surface. They used a chemical solution on the sub floor and then were able to start the drying process.

They inspected all of the electrical appliances and found that everything was in good working order.  Most of our furniture had not been affected by the flooded area.  The pieces that were fabric we had cleaned by professional furniture cleaners and removed the wooden furniture and allowed it to dry in the garage.

With the dehumidifiers they brought in, most of the wood moldings and drywall was saved.  There was an issue with one patch of drywall in the corner that needed to be replaced. The water restoration company was able to replace that.  We did hire a professional painter to come in after the area was dry and our belongings were out of the way drying to paint.

It took a little less than a full week and our home was back to normal.  We learned a lot through this process of water restoration.  We now keep the door to the room with the majority of pipes closed during the day when we are gone.  We have started to turn off the water when we go away for more than a night.  Thankfully this happened when we were just gone for the day.  Imagine how bad the damage would have been if it would have been allowed to sit for a week.   Water restoration professionals know what they are doing and should be called in no matter how small or large the flood in your home.  It will save you time and money in the long run preventing mold from being able to grow in your home.

Mold Removal: Taking Action to Prevent the Spread of Mold

Do you have mold lurking in your home?  How would you know if you couldn’t see it?  Have you checked out your attic lately?  My friends had just moved into their beautiful new home that was built especially for them when they went to check out the attic because they noticed a dark spot on the ceiling that felt moist.  Sure enough he gets in the attic to find that the company that vented the bathroom fans did not vent them out of the house but only up into the attic.  You can imagine the mess they now had on their hands.

An environment that is dim with moisture is like a Grand Hotel for mold.  It will move right in and spread like wild flowers.  Mold removal and remediation is needed once an infestation, such as my friends, has set in.  Attics with improper ventilation, bathrooms with poor air circulation and basements are key areas for mold.  Another area that can be known for issues is the garage.

Where we live on the Huron River the moisture lurks around.  To avoid problems with the corners of the garage we have a small fan that constantly is moved throughout the garage circulating the air.  On days with high moisture we turn on two box fans to help alleviate the high humidity in the garage and turn the air on in the house.  These techniques help us to prevent a situation that would harbor mold.

If is never too late to take action against mold growth in your home.  Even after an infestation has been removed you can take action to prevent further mold growth.  It is important for air circulation to be prevalent in your home.  This could come in the form of windows being opened, ceiling fans on or heat and air conditioning systems going.  Homes that are most often left closed up are at a higher risk for mold growth.  In winter months it is important to also keep air circulating.  We turn our fans so that they spin in a matter that allows the air to be sucked up into the ceiling but the air to circulate.

It is also recommended that dehumidifiers are included on your heating and cooling systems.  Basements should have a separate humidifier going at all times.  It is important in the prevention of mold.  The water that is extracted into the dehumidifier needs to be emptied daily. I often use it to keep the hanging plants on my porch hydrated.

I am a habitual cleaner of the areas in the house that collect water such bathrooms and kitchen surfaces.  In the corners of the counters I am especially cautious in keeping the drive.   I know after what our friends went through it is takes a great deal of energy and time to go through the mold removal process.  It is also a situation that is not healthy for the health of the members in the family.  We are thankful our friends caught their infestation when they did because their daughter who was born months later is severely allergic to everything.  She could have had a severe reaction to the mold growth and pollutants that were in the air because of it.

Restoration Services: A Guide for Fire Restoration

When you are in need of restoration services is not on a calm, sunny beautiful Sunday afternoon. Most times when we are in need of restoration services are when our lives have just been thoroughly turned upside down by some devastation be it a natural occurrence such as a storm or something accidental like a fire. It is important when finding a company that offers restoration services that you speak with people they have helped in the past to really determine if this company is the best one to be helping you in your time of need.

This might take a day or two on your part but can save you months of anxiety later on down the road. It is important to find a company with a solid reputation to help with your restoration services. Here are some restoration tips to keep in mind before you are able to hire a restoration service company after a fire.

DO’s and DON’TS:

1) Take an air compressor and blow the soot off of upholstery, curtains and carpet. You can also use an upholstery vacuum attachment and remove the soot as best as possible.

2) Cover all flooring areas with old blankets to prevent further damage from traffic and falling debris. Do not attempt to clean them yourself. A professional will make sure they are cleaned without further damaging them.

3) All food should be thrown out. Dispose of food that was in cupboards and the refrigerator. Pantries should be completely cleaned out. Do not restock the food supply until given the okay. Refrigerators should be aired out and thoroughly cleansed. Do not eat anything that has been involved in a fire.

4) Turn off the electricity and water if it has not already been done by the fire department. Do not turn the electricity on yourself. A professional should be called in to do an inspection before the electricity is turned on.

5) Items that have been damaged by smoke, that can be laundered, should be sent out for a professional service to take care of. Don’t think that a normal washing machine will get the job done. The professionals have special cleansers and techniques they employ to thoroughly clean your items.

6) All surfaces that can be cleansed should be. Especially the hardware on sinks that can easily tarnish and be ruined. If you are not sure of the proper techniques call in a professional who will walk you through the steps.

7) House plants should be moved to another area while clean up is being done. It is important to wipe the leaves of any soot.

8) Change out all air filters before turning on the furnace or air conditioning units. You will prevent further damage to your heating and cooling systems and duct work. Don’t use these units without asking the professionals if it is okay.

9) The house should be opened up as much as the weather allows for. If it is nice out, open all the windows and doors. Air circulation is a must to remove smells and smoke residue. Turn fans on only after given the okay and the electricity has been returned to normal.

These restoration service tips are what homeowners should take into consideration after a fire. Each and every restoration job requires something uniquely different. Make sure that after a fire the first call you make is to your insurance company to help find a restoration company to help with your restoration services need.

Water Restoration: Tips for Urgent Water Restoration

It never fails here in Michigan we always get one day in the spring when we get a torrential down pour. It seems as if that is always the day the power goes out and the sump pump fails. Water restoration is a large part of restoration services provided by companies. Many homeowners think that they can clean it up themselves without thinking about how the dampness will affect the area. What many people don’t understand is that water can stick around and create mildew and mold. Even after it feels dry to the touch areas can still be damp. When not thoroughly dried through water restoration techniques damage can occur.

If your home or business is affected by water damage the best first step is to call your insurance company and have a water restoration company come out and assess the damage. Here are some tips to help you as a homeowner to help in the restoration of your home.

1) The first step is to dehumidify the area. As long as the area is no longer submerged in water and has been cleared to be safe by an electrician you may start running dehumidifiers.

2) Open up the house and have fans circulating the dry air.

3) It is important to soak up as much water as you can. Use a mop or old towels to sop up as much water as you can. Blotting carpet is also an effective way to remove large quantities of water.

4) All furniture pieces should be dried off. Wood and fabric both should be thoroughly dried. Items such as cushions and knick knacks removed and safely stored until a professional has checked the furniture to make sure it has thoroughly dried. Remember the touch test does not work. Often furniture will feel dry to the touch because the surface is dry. This does not mean the inner parts are completely dry.

5) Wood blocks should be made that will be used to prop up furniture while it is drying. If you wrap the blocks in aluminum foil this prevents staining on carpet.

6) All floor coverings that are loose should be removed taken to a professional to be cleaned and dried. Bacteria will find a host in these areas and should be cleaned properly to prevent any bacteria from the flood water to grow and reproduce in your rugs.

7) All drapery should be lifted from the floor. If it has become wet it is best to take it down and allow a professional to clean them.

8) All furniture, cupboards and drawers that can be opened should be. It is important to let those areas thoroughly dry out by removing all the contents and letting them air out.

9) Books can be dried out by laying them out open and making sure the air is circulating in the area that they are drying in.

10) It is important not to use a normal household vacuum to remove the water. You will ruin your unit. It is best to leave the water extraction to the professionals. If you need to remove a small bit of standing water and it cannot be done with a mop or towel and wet/dry shop vacuum is the best tool for the job.

11) Electrical units should not be plugged in any area that is still wet or that has standing water.

12) Leave carpet that is tacked down in place. Professionals have equipment that can clean and dry your carpet thoroughly.

Damage can occur through water and bacteria settling in to your household items. Do not wait to call water restoration professionals in to your home to begin working on getting your home restored and functioning normal. Bacteria starts forming within minutes so it is important to call your insurance company and have them send someone out immediately to get your home dry. Water restoration professionals can ensure bacteria, mildew and mold do not grow and fester.

Home Restoration After Fire and Smoke

We have had some crazy Michigan weather this year. The weather has gone from beyond cold with a ton of snow to rain and wind overnight. As many of you know with strange weather comes many natural disasters. One such disaster recently struck too close for comfort.
Our friends have a fireplace that they use quiet frequently. So when it recently was bitter cold they decided that it was a good idea to use the fireplace. That seems pretty harmless right? The thing is after the fire ashes were left. Our neighbor cleaned out the fireplace and put the ashes in a metal bucket which he then placed on the wood deck. Because the weather had been pretty windy and dry the wood was in ripe condition to use the heat from the metal bucket to create a smoldering fire. This fire smoldered for hours finally catching the floor joist on fire. By the time they had returned from work hours later the home was engulfed in smoke and the smoldering fire had caused major damage to their floor in the living room area which is off of the porch.
Added on top of the damage that was already created by the fire was the damage done in order to eliminate the smoldering hot fire under the house. Once the firefighters added the water the house literally disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Their first instinct was to run in and immediately start putting their lives back in order. Of course this is not necessarily the first action homeowners should take when they find themselves in a situation involving fire and smoke damage. Here are some tips to consider before rushing in to clean your home after a fire.
Tip #1 – Contact your insurance company. Your agent will be able to recommend a professional fire and smoke damage restorer. Often they will help with hints to prevent further damage.
Tip #2 – Once you have determined it is safe to enter into your home through and determine, with the professional fire restorer, go through the house and determine what items can and cannot be refurbished.
Tip #3 – Get the air circulating throughout your home. Open all windows, doors and have fans running at all times. If you are in the heat of summer it will be best to have the air conditioner running along with a dehumidifier. If fire and smoke damage happen to your home in the winter, run the furnace which will remove the moisture. Keep fans going and make sure to change the filters everyday to prevent soot build up.
Tip #4 – Dry everything thoroughly. Especially carpets, furniture and bedding. This will help prevent mold and mildew.
Tip #5 – Place cling wrap under the legs on all furniture involved in the fire. It is also important when dealing with items not directly involved in the fire that are still clean to cover them with plastic to prevent damage.
Tip #6 – Hire a professional to come in and deodorize the house. It is also important that heavy drapery be sent out to be cleaned. Soot is oily and stinky. You really cannot get certain bigger items fresh on your own.
Tip #7 – Take your time in repairing your home. A thorough job is always better that one done in haste.

Water Extraction: Caring for Your Carpet Investment

I love water. It is great to drink, swim in, boat through, water flowers with but the one thing about water is that it wreaks havoc in your home. If your home has ever been affected by a flood, a leak, busted pipe, over flow of a washer or toilet or even if you have had a fire put out in your home you know the damage I am talking about. Unwanted water in your home can cause many different consequences. Such as health concerns from mold and mildew and unforeseen damage to valuable art, books and hardwoods throughout a home. It is important to remember when dealing with water that even though it feels dry to the touch that is most likely not the case.
Water extraction is a process that requires meticulous attention and time. The longer you let your home stay wet the more secondary damage you are creating. Moisture that builds up deteriorates the structure of your home. It also breeds mold and mildew which can be harmful to the health of anyone inhabiting your home.
In preventing water damage through water extraction there are several things to consider. First you might be tempted to make this a DIY project but no matter the size of the water damage a professional should be called in. It is not simply a project that can be done with a shop vacuum or any other type of household water removal system you may consider. Standing water can be removed with a shop vacuum until you can reach a professional to come in with specialized equipment to handle the rest of the job.
In order to thoroughly dry a home and prevent further damage from the water a process of drying and dehumidifying is used. You need air flow and dehumidification to reach a state in which actual deep dryness occurs. These are not the same systems that you rent from big box chain stores so trust me in order to protect your home and possessions call in a professional water extraction company.
The process of drying involves circulating air with the use of industrial fans while the moisture is then pulled into a dehumidifier which sends out dry air. While this is all happening it is creating the best environment possible for drying to take place in your home. The equipment is drying your furnishings, carpet, drywall and internal beams. The machines find the hiding spots of moisture and eliminate them.
This process takes time. It is imperative to hire professional immediately. The longer you wait the deeper the water soaks in and creates an unfavorable environment for you to live in. Hire a team of water extraction professional to keep your home and family safe from the side effects of water damage.

Preparing Your Home for an Emergency

It is so important to prepare your home for any emergency natural or accidental. After your home has been ruined by fire or water damage is too late to think about preparing for a disaster. Things can happen inside or outside of your family. Take time to prepare and protect your family and your belongings from the chaos and confusion that comes from devastation.

There are several things that you can do within your home to start protecting and preparing for the worst. First let’s start by talking about the turmoil fire damage can create when it wreaks havoc in your home. Then how you can prevent or eliminate the amount of damage done to your home if a fire does happen. Fires are responsible in excess of five thousand people a year here in the United States alone. Most of the deaths that arise from fires within the home come not from burns but from breathing in the smoke and harmful gasses that are released in a house fire.

Ways to prevent a fire in your home start first with common sense. Most fires within the home are accidental and begin in the kitchen area of a home. They are not caused by failure from the mechanics of the stove it is from a human slip-up. Use caution whenever you are cooking. Never leave anything on the stove unsupervised. It only takes milliseconds for fire to ravage your home. Grease can splatter and ignite a fire so fast. Attended a fire extinguisher could be used to put out flames where as if left unattended by the time you get back to the kitchen fire damage will have already spread throughout more of your home than just the kitchen.

It is also important to put fire and smoke detectors in every room on every level of your home. The faster a fire is responded to the better the chances to minimize any fire damage and water damage from putting the fire out.

It is also important to plan for a severe natural disaster. You can keep your family safe by first staying informed about the conditions in your area. This is especially true if you live in an area where extreme weather is normal for you. Tornadoes, floods, snow and ice, earthquakes, hurricanes and wild fires are not be able to be planned out but how you react to them can be.

Make sure your home and structures on your property meet requirements for your area. If you live in an area prone to high winds make sure your home is built to withstand them. If you are in an area that usually has an intense rainy season prepare by inspecting your roof and the trees on your property. Fill in any areas with wear with roof tar and keep shingles intact to prevent roof collapse. Keep trees trimmed so that dead branches are not left hanging and that large branches do not hand directly over your home.

Keep an emergency kit with preparations for at least three days stocked and accessible incase severe weather sneaks up on you. This should include things such as food, water, battery operated lights and communication devices, band-aids and blankets. These things are considered the basic necessities to have on hand to keep you alive until help arrives for you.

It is also important if you have time to clear an inside room of furniture, knick knacks and other loose variables. This will prevent flying debris that can cause injury. It is important to seek shelter inside the room that you have created this safe environment. If possible this room should be an inside room without windows.

You never know for sure when a disaster could strike so the best plan is to always be prepared and use common sense to cut down on preventable accidents. It is important to make sure you keep insurance up to date so that is something unexpected happens you can recover and get your life back on track as quickly as possible. Keep an updated list of personal possessions on file somewhere other than your home so that if a disaster takes hold you will still have an account of the items that were in your home.