Frequently Asked Questions
Certified Restoration Company in Tacoma, WA and the Surrounding Areas
The length of time for proper restoration to occur is dependent on the type and size of the damage. A typical water damage project usually takes 5-7 days to dry and remove any unsalvageable materials. Mold remediation can take anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on the extent of the damage. Fires cause the most extensive damage and can take weeks for restoration to be completed. Keep in mind these are all estimates, and they’re only for the restoration portion of the job. The rebuilding portion of the job, where everything is put back into place, has its own separate process and timeline.
Seeing your home damaged is extremely stressful as a homeowner, and it’s difficult to know the right course of action. Will trying to clean up on your own help or just make things worse? No matter what kind of damage you’ve incurred, the very first thing you should do is take photographs as long as the area is safe for you to be in. If you have water damage, the best thing to do is extract as much standing water as you possibly can while you wait for help. If you have fans, set them to start drying things as much as possible. They won’t be enough to dry the area completely, but they can help to minimize the chance of secondary damages. In the event of mold or fire, it’s best to just leave the damage alone until a professional can address it. Disturbed mold can disperse spores throughout the home, and fire damages can worsen if improper cleaning techniques are used.
Insurance coverage is very situationally dependent. Each policy from each different company will have different levels and types of coverage. The best way to know if your damage is covered is to keep a copy of your policy on hand and call your agent directly with any questions you might have.
With years of experience in the industry, Frontline Fire & Flood is the trusted name in restoration in Tacoma, WA. Our IICRC-certified technicians follow industry-standard procedures for quality you can count on. We offer 24-hour emergency service and can work directly with your insurance provider to make the process as easy as possible for you.
DIY soot removal is not recommended. Commercially available products can actually cause permanent damage to surfaces. Soot itself is primarily oil-based, but that residue also contains toxic, possibly biohazard contaminants.
It's never a quick fix, though we've gathered together a multi-disciplined team of contractors and technicians to work in tandem to complete the work as soon as possible. From structural repairs to sand/soda-blasting to odor removal to contents cleaning, our fire damage restoration crew begins as soon as the project scope is determined, and we don't stop until the job is done and both you and the insurance company are satisfied with the results.
Depending on the extent or location of the fire damage, some homeowners can move back in a few days or longer. The fire department will usually turn off electricity and gas to the property immediately, which won’t be restored until a building inspector says it’s safe to turn those utilities back on. If you experienced significant smoke damage and the home’s occupants include elderly persons, young children, or those with chronic health conditions, you may be wise to stay until the smoke cleanup is complete. Contracting with a company experienced in fire damage restoration can often get you back home sooner because they’ll have the resources to hire and manage the many tradespeople who will need to work together to make the home liveable again.
Smoke damage is rarely limited to one area of the house, and it leaves behind a residue that can hide in crevices and out-of-reach areas, and a simple "airing out" may not be sufficient. We recommend consulting with a smoke damage technician who can help you troubleshoot the next steps.
Most often, yes. You'll need to check your specific policy for the full scope of coverage, but generally, if the damage was caused by a flame, it's covered. Your best bet is to hire a professional restoration to help you through the claims process. We know how to avoid some common missteps when it comes to making sure the entire loss is documented and covered. Many homeowners and insurance companies forget, for instance, to consider that your HVAC system will need to be cleaned of soot, and since fires are extinguished using water, many areas of your home may need to be restored due to water damage even if they weren't directly affected by the fire.
Water damage insurance claims depend on a few different criteria. Ultimately, that's a question you'll have to clarify with your insurance company. However, we can tell you that the viability of water damage insurance claims depends primarily on what caused the damage (storm, burst pipe, plumbing malfunction, localized flood, sump pump failure, etc.). Some insurance policies will outline scenarios that will NOT be covered without specific riders, like flood insurance or sump pump failure insurance.
Contacting a restoration contractor and your insurance adjuster at the same time is a good idea because the restoration contractor will help ensure that the water extraction and dry out and the rebuild process that should follow. If the full scope of the claim isn't outlined and agreed upon from the start, there may be issues down the line, and property owners may have to pay out of pocket to get the property completely back to normal.
Identifying the source of the water damage is one of the first steps in both the insurance claim process and before beginning to dry out and repair the damaged areas. After all, if you replace a sagging, wet ceiling caused by a roof leak but don’t fix the roof, the next rainstorm will start the cycle all over again. The buckling to your hardwood floor could be caused by a leaking pipe. We will pinpoint your water damage's exact cause and ensure the source is repaired. We make sure your restoration job is done right the first time.
That depends on the types of materials that were affected by water. Drywall, carpet, and hardwood floors will take longer to dry than other materials in the space. We use moisture meters throughout the process and in many different locations to gauge the moisture levels and will continue to adjust our fans and dehumidifiers to achieve an efficient but effective dry time. The bare minimum of "three days to dry" may only produce a surface dry but can still leave behind moisture levels that create an ideal environment for mold to grow.
Most homeowners start trying to remove the water themselves before they realize they'll need to contact their insurance company about a claim so they can call in a water damage restoration company. However, standing water around anything with a power cord or outlet or sagging ceilings makes the area unsafe. Also, many insurance claims require documentation of the loss BEFORE any work is done, including removing the water. Always take plenty of photos of the damage you see before taking any action to start cleaning up the mess. Your restoration contractor will also be able to back up your insurance claim scope with the necessary technical documentation.
If the water damage involves Category 1 water (clean and free of microbes and bacteria), many of your personal belongings can be salvaged. Category 2 water would include other water sources, including rainwater, that, while not containing biohazards or sewage, still pose health risks and the potential for destructive microbial growth and mold. A water damage restoration technician will help you sort through the property's contents to determine what can be safely dried, what can be restored by a textile/contents technician, and what can't be saved or salvaged. There are off-site facilities in the area that specialize in restoring water-damaged contents. Your restoration team will document all of the contents leaving the property for restoration or disposal for your records and also for reimbursement from your insurance company.
For the majority of surfaces in your home, bleach won’t actually get rid of your mold problem. It’s the “iceberg effect.” Visible mold is usually a small percentage of the actual amount of mold growth. Bleach can’t kill mold on porous surfaces like wood, and while tile or fiberglass surfaces can be cleaned with bleach, often the mold has spread far deeper. The reason why mold remediation companies don’t recommend DIY cleanup isn’t that they want to make more money; they know, in their experience, that a mold problem is usually far more invasive than can be seen with the naked eye. Simply cleaning the surfaces can provide false assurances that you got rid of the mold, only to have it come back time and time again.
Sometimes mold remediation is included if the cause of the mold was a “covered peril” like a burst hot water heater or water damage caused by firefighters extinguishing a fire in your house. Gradual water damage - like from a leaking pipe or hose - will often cause mold growth, but your insurance coverage will usually not cover that by claiming that it was caused by poor maintenance or neglect. If your insurance company denies your claim, you should request an inspection from a mold remediation company that can help you document the source of the mold.
If the inspection/assessment process was able to pinpoint the source and cause of the mold growth, once that source is repaired, you can be relatively confident about the success of remediation. Ask if your restoration technician has the IICRC certification for “Applied Microbial Remediation.” You can also request a “post-remediation mold clearance” from a third-party mold inspector to re-test the area for any remaining traces of mold before the area is treated with a sealer or encapsulant to resist future mold growth.
It could be. Because mold spores are microscopic and airborne, you’ll end up breathing them into your lungs. Depending on the type of mold and how well your immune system functions, you may develop some serious health symptoms that could end up being the result of mold. That’s why a mold remediation company takes mold removal so seriously. The space affected by mold is isolated and contained during cleaning so the spores won’t spread to other areas of the house, and the remediation team stays suited up in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the process.
Anytime the moisture levels in your home are at 60% or higher, mold can grow. What’s frustrating for many property owners is that they don’t see a puddle on the floor or water dripping from the ceiling. When mold grows, the source of the moisture is usually hidden under floorboards or behind walls.
Federal asbestos regulations do not apply to work that you perform in your own home, but the EPA strongly recommends that you not attempt to remove vermiculite insulation yourself. Instead, the EPA strongly recommends hiring a properly accredited asbestos contractor if you need to have vermiculite insulation removed from your home.
The only way to determine whether a material contains asbestos is to have it tested by a qualified laboratory. The EPA recommends testing suspect materials if they are damaged (fraying or crumbling) or if you are planning a renovation that would disturb the suspect material. Samples should be taken by a properly trained and accredited asbestos professional (inspector).
Removal of the vermiculite insulation may not be necessary if it is confined in a manner where it will be left undisturbed. If you choose to have the vermiculite insulation removed, the EPA recommends that you use a trained and accredited asbestos contractor that is separate and independent from the company that performed the assessment of the vermiculite insulation to avoid any conflict of interest.
It's not possible for you to tell whether a material in your home contains asbestos simply by looking at it. If you suspect a material within your home might contain asbestos (for example, floor tile, ceiling tile, or old pipe wrap) and the material is damaged (fraying or falling apart) or if you are planning on performing a renovation that would disturb the material, the EPA recommends that you have it sampled by a properly trained and accredited asbestos professional (inspector). The professional then should use a qualified laboratory to perform the asbestos analysis. Also, you may 4 learn more about whether the replacement materials you intend to install might possibly contain asbestos by reading the product labels, calling the manufacturer, or by asking if your retailer can provide you with the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the product(s) in question.
If you have vermiculite insulation in your home, you should assume this material may be contaminated with asbestos and be aware of steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from exposure to asbestos. The EPA recommends that vermiculite insulation be left undisturbed. Airborne asbestos fibers present a health risk through inhalation, so the first step is to not disturb the material, which could release fibers into the air. If you disturb the insulation, you may inhale some asbestos fibers. The degree of health risk depends on how much and how often this occurred. If you choose to remove the vermiculite insulation, this work should be done by a trained and accredited asbestos abatement contractor that is separate and independent from the company that performed the assessment of the vermiculite insulation to avoid any conflict of interest.
On July 12, 1989, the EPA issued a final rule under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) banning most asbestos-containing products in the United States. In 1991, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded the rule. As a result, most of the original ban on the manufacture, importation, processing, or distribution in commerce for most of the asbestos-containing product categories originally covered in the 1989 final rule was overturned. Only the bans on corrugated paper, rollboard, commercial paper, specialty paper, and flooring felt and any new uses of asbestos remained banned under the 1989 rule. Although most asbestos-containing products can still legally be manufactured, imported, processed, and distributed in the U.S., according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the production and use of asbestos has declined significantly.
Asbestos that is in good condition and left undisturbed is unlikely to present a health risk. The risks from asbestos occur when it is damaged or disturbed where asbestos fibers become airborne and can be inhaled. Managing asbestos in place and maintaining it in good repair is often the best approach.
Providing commercial and residential restoration services near you
Serving Tacoma, WA and the Surrounding Areas
- Gig Harbor
- Federal Way
- Bonney Lake
- University Place