Recent Posts

Roof Damage and Hard To Find Water Problems

8/4/2021 (Permalink)

Roof tarped in a home, tree fallen in a home Roof damaged by a storm.

Roof Damage and Tough-to-Find Water Issues

Wind damage from a storm in Pleasanton, CA can blow roof tiles, leaving weaknesses for water to get into your home. When you can see signs of roof damage from a recent storm, it is time to have a full inspection to find additional damage. Roof repair will be critical to prevent interior and structural damages from water that can get in through the damaged areas in the roof.

Outside Wind Damage Clues

You probably suspect that roof damage has allowed water into your home. You may see signs of storm damage on the outside of your home, such as:

  • Bent, broken or discolored shingles
  • Rusting, sagging, or buckling gutters

If you see signs like these, it's time to call an experienced roof contractor to do a full inspection of your roof and begin repairs as quickly as possible to prevent future water problems.

Inside Water Damage

While the roof repair is underway, you may want to look for water damage inside. Where should you look?

• Check interior areas around clogged gutters. They are heavy and pull on fasteners, where water can get in. Clogs also cause pooling around your roof.
• Look for stains on the ceilings. Stay out of rooms until repairs are made, if the ceiling is bulging.
• Get in the attic. Look for damaged wood or drywall, and check for wet or moldy insulation.

If you have wet areas in the attic or home, you must repair and dry the areas as quickly as you can. Mold can develop very fast in moist areas and where water damage has occurred. Once the roof repair is complete, the leak is stopped and you can focus on interior cleanup. Mold cleanup should be handled very carefully to prevent further spread of mold spores in your home. A professional restoration company knows how to set up containment areas while they work to clean mold and water-damaged areas.

Fire Damage in Dublin, Ca.

8/3/2021 (Permalink)

Fire damage inside bedroom caused by candle The candle left unattended blew up and started the fire inside the bedroom.

This condo located in Dublin Ca suffered a fire when the homeowner left a candle burning unattended and it exploded.

Never leave a candle unattended.

Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire. Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc.

Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets. Do not place lighted candles where they can be knocked over by children, pets or anyone else.

Never touch or move a candle while it is burning or while the wax is liquefied.

Don’t burn a candle all the way down. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when 1/2 inch remains in the container or 2 inches if using a pillar candle.

Place burning candles at least three inches apart from one another. This is to make sure they don’t melt one another, or create their own drafts that will cause the candles to burn improperly.

Extinguish a candle if the flame becomes too high or flickers repeatedly. Let the candle cool, trim the wick, and check for unwanted drafts before re-lighting.

Never use a candle as a night light or while you may fall asleep.

These are just a few safety tips to keep you and your family safe. Remember accidents happen when you least expect it. Prevention is the key.

Avoiding Cigarette Fires in Your Home

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

A man's hand putting out a cigarette Make sure to completely put out your cigarette.

A cigarette fire in Dublin, CA or anywhere else it could occur, is preventable by practicing a bit of common sense while indulging in a habit that many find relaxing. Fire cleanup, whether a small convenience or major undertaking, is an activity that no one would find relaxing.

Ways To Avoid Fires from Cigarettes

It is a fact that smoking indoors is a leading cause of house fires. Before lighting up, consider the following tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

• Smoke outdoors. Homes are filled with flammable materials; an additional benefit to smoking outside is that you can avoid the need to deodorize your home from cigarette smoke.
• Do not smoke while taking medications that increase drowsiness. Avoid alcohol consumption that might also make you less aware of your surroundings.
• Make sure to completely put out your cigarette. Cigarette butts can smolder for hours.
• Never smoke in bed. You are more likely to fall asleep there, and bedrooms are typically filled with combustible materials.
• Empty ashtrays regularly to avoid an ashtray fire.
• Use an ashtray with a wide base or with a weighted bottom to prevent tip overs.
• Do not smoke around medical oxygen tanks. They can explode from exposure to sparks or flames.
• Use water to make sure that cigarettes are completely out before putting butts into trash receptacles.
• Do not leave a lighted cigarette unattended. Pets, children, or even gravity could dislodge it and bring it into contact with flammable material.
• Vaping also poses fire and burn risks because electronic cigarettes can, and have been known to, explode.

All fire personnel know that a cigarette fire is an all-too-common occurrence that can be easily avoided with some foresight. Responsible smoking practices can serve the dual purpose of indulging in a personal pleasure and keeping yourself and others safe.

Ice Dams and Mold Growth

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

Woman grabbing her hair while looking at mold growth in the corner of her ceiling Ice dams can cause mold growth inside your building.

Mold Growth with Ice Dams

The cold, snowy months of winter affect more than your heating bill. Slow snow melt on commercial roofs and gutters may create an ice dam that prevents proper water drainage. The worst-case scenario is that the excess moisture creates an ideal environment for mold. Ice dams create mold problems through the following process:

  • Sunlight causes snow to partially melt on roofs and around gutters.
  • The partial melt creates a blockage that prevents melt-off from draining.
  • Backed-up water seeps through cracks in the roof or in the walls.
  • Trapped moisture allows mold to flourish.

A Costly Problem

In some cases, low outside temperatures will be enough to prevent mold growth. Unfortunately, if the water seeps into the walls and reaches a warmer area of the building, mold can start growing within a day or two. While many commercial property owners fear black mold, there are hundreds of mold species that can damage buildings. If the problem goes unchecked, the property owner may have to pay for replacement walls or flooring.

Preventing Problems Before They Start

Commercial property owners can prevent mold growth by stopping an ice dam in its tracks. Keep close tabs on the roof, gutters, and flat surfaces where ice and snow can accumulate. Clear off any snow, and make sure melt-off does not refreeze. Repair any crack in the roof or walls so moisture does not seep through and call a mold cleanup specialist if any mold is suspected.

An ice dam can cause a major headache with mold growth, but this does not have to be the case. There are many steps commercial property owners can take to prevent the formation of ice dams and to prevent mold growth if they do occur. If mold growth is suspected, call a professional in Pleasanton, CA, who can accurately assess the damage, remediate the problem, and help you prevent trouble in the future.

How To Estimate the Cost of Fire Damage Restoration

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out a fire in a big building Fire on a building in Pleasanton, CA.

Arriving at an estimate for how much it will cost to repair fire damage to your office in Pleasanton, CA, can be intimidating. After all, it isn't a challenge we are accustomed to handling with regularity. Some commonsense knowledge can make you more comfortable with the process. Here are a few recommendations for estimating the expense of bringing your workspace back to normal.

Fire Damage Repair Expenses

As the person in charge of repairing the aftermath of a commercial fire, you might need the following services when hiring a team of commercial fire restoration experts:

  • Boarding-up services
  • Odor removal
  • Roof protection and replacement

Take stock of the damage to your building and make a list of everything you need before contacting a team of professionals.

Fire Damage Repair Estimation
To get a proper estimate, choose only experienced service providers. Those without quality reputations have a habit of enticing you to hire them with low-ball figures. Those amounts later inflate after work begins. Read online reviews to get a sense of the pricing honesty practiced by those you are considering hiring.
If you have fire insurance, contact a representative immediately. An adjuster will break down how much each task should cost. This will give you a good idea of what sort of quotes to expect from service providers. Avoid companies that charge much higher sums than your adjuster believes are acceptable.
Sometimes, fire relief teams hire subcontractors when they have trouble handling all the work themselves. The amounts those subcontractors charge inevitably get passed on to their customers. Demand that those you hire perform all the work themselves. Alternatively, stipulate that they cannot exceed the dollar figure suggested by your adjuster.
Acquiring an estimate for cleaning up a fire's aftermath may seem daunting, but it can easily be done with a few practical precautions. Make use of these guidelines to keep your fire restoration budget right on target.

Will My Insurance Pay for Water Damage?

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

two air movers placed inside a bedroom Drying up after water damage in a residence in Dublin, CA.

If you have sustained damage from water in Dublin, CA, and need to calculate the cost of fixing it, you might wonder if you should file an insurance claim. If you have homeowners insurance, you may think that filing a claim is the best decision — after all, if you pay for insurance, you should be able to use it. However, it may be in your best interest not to file a claim. In fact, depending on how the damage occurred in the first place, you might not have a claim at all.

What Type of Water Damage Does Insurance Cover?

Damage from a water source is usually covered by insurance if the cause is sudden and accidental. A few examples of this include:

  • Burst pipe
  • Rain or snowstorm
  • Damage from extinguishing a fire
  • Sudden appliance failure

If you need water damage repair after a sudden accident, your insurance can help pay for related expenses.
Insurance will not cover damage resulting from events caused by lack of maintenance. If, for example, your roof leaks because of loose shingles that haven't been fixed, or if a pipe rusts over time and bursts, you will not have a valid insurance claim.
Flood damage is also not covered by insurance. You can, however, purchase home flood insurance under a separate policy.

Why Should I Think Twice About Filing a Claim?
There are no hard-and-fast rules about how an insurance company decides whether to accept a claim, or whether they will raise your rates afterward. It is in your best interest to talk to your agent ahead of time so you understand your coverage before a disaster occurs. If the cost of damage repair is minimal, paying for it yourself might avoid a rate hike. If you have catastrophic damage, you will probably want to file a claim, but the insurance company may still raise your rates.
If you want to know exactly what your options are for an insurance claim, the best thing you can do is talk to your agent. You will have the knowledge you need if you sustain water damage to your home.

4 Major Ways Water Enters Your Basement

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. It is visible line showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. Dealing with a flooded basement is frustrating.

Why Does My Basement Get Flooded?

Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a basement flood, especially when you can’t determine the cause. If your basement in Dublin, CA, has problems with water buildup during the rainy season, you may need to check for a few of these common problems.

1. Homes Built on Saturated Ground

When the ground is naturally moist, it can cause water to drain off into the lowest part of your property or the basement. If your home isn’t built on a floodplain, you can also check the soil moisture levels with the following tools:

  • Soil moisture probe
  • Tensiometer
  • ET gauge

As a solution, you may want to direct water from the high points of your land to a drainage ditch by laying down tile lines.

2. Improperly Sealed Walls and Floors

Cracks in the floors or walls can easily cause a basement flood, even if there isn’t a lot of rain. In some cases, the basement tiles of the house may not have been properly sealed or damage may have occurred to the concrete. Once you determine the source, you can patch up the cracks with epoxy sealers or cement.

3. Damaged City Sewage or Drainage Systems

When a section of the city drainage system breaks or becomes plugged near your home, the water may come back up the pipes and cause a basement to become flooded. If this is the case, you may need to call a local authority to help resolve the issues.

4. Blocked Gutters and Eavestroughs

When an eavestrough becomes blocked or clogged with debris, rain may overflow to the sides of your home and seep down into the soil next to your basement. Over time, the water buildup may create weaknesses in the foundation and cause cracks to occur. To fix this problem, you may need to install a screen mesh over the gutters or routinely clean the eavestrough system.

If you experience a devastating basement flood near Dublin, CA, make sure you call a professional cleanup crew. They can help you recover from water damage and help you resolve any major issues.

What You Need to Do After a Home Fire Is Extinguished

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

inside of a home totally destroyed by fire Fire damage to a Pleasanton, CA home.

What Do You Do After A House Fire

After you’ve escaped your home and had firefighters extinguish the flames, it might feel like your job is done. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. To ensure your home’s getting the proper treatment and fire restoration services it really needs to get back to normal, you’ll need to do just a few things, including:

  • Call your insurance company
  • Steer clear of your property
  • Contact a fire and smoke cleaning crew in Pleasanton, CA

By taking these steps, you can rest assured you’re getting the maximum amount of help when it comes to getting your home back in livable condition.

Insurance

After emergency services, your insurance company should be your first call. With most plans, fire insurance is included, and it likely covers at least some of the damages to your home. Agents can direct you to cleanup professionals supported by your plan, and help you financially throughout the entire process.

Call in the Professionals

Once you’ve spoken to your insurance agent, it’s time to call in the cleaners. One of the most crucial services these types of pros offer is an emergency board-up, which means they’ll quickly and expertly patch any damaged portions of your roof or siding to keep rainfall from causing even more hardship.

Find Somewhere to Stay

It’s critical to remember that in most cases, you won’t be able to live in your house again until repairs are complete. Therefore, you should find a family member or friend to stay within the meantime. If none are available, consider finding a hotel for the time being. It’s always good to make these decisions ahead of time as a part of your fire escape plan.

It’s not always easy to break through the shock of a house fire and get things on track. By following these steps as closely and quickly as possible, you can get your life back on track sooner.

The National Flood Insurance Program: Options and Coverage

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Wet carpet Storm damage to this office in Dublin, CA.

Repairing Your Business After a Storm

Commercial property owners in Dublin, CA, can get both building property and personal property coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program offered under FEMA. These commercial insurance policies can protect you from the massive cost of repairing your business after a major storm.

Scope of the Coverage

The NFIP is designed to offer protection in the event that a single flooding incident occurs. Flood insurance typically pays for damages to property that are caused directly by the flood in question. Therefore, a flood policy would not cover:

  • Water damage, such as a mold problem, that results from the neglect of the property owner to hire remediation services in a timely manner
  • Losses that result from the interruption of business operations
  • Sewer backups that were not caused by the flood
  • Property located outside the building, such as landscaping, other structures or vehicles

Building Property vs. Personal Property

Your commercial insurance policies through the NFIP can either be building property coverage, personal property coverage or both. Building property insurance covers the actual structure of the building and the equipment or systems that are inherently a part of it. For example, repairs to the fire sprinkler system and the HVAC system are paid for by this policy. It also covers permanently installed or built-in features such as walk-in freezers. Personal property insurance covers the items in the building that are affected by flooding. Appliances, furniture, inventory, carpets, machines and equipment fall under this coverage. Valuable items, such as art, may also be covered to a certain extent, although it is advisable to have an additional policy to insure these items. Personal property insurance can also cover vehicles that don't require a license to operate as long as they are stored in the building.

When storm season in Dublin, CA, arrives, you may need both building property and personal property insurance for your business. These commercial insurance policies protect you from the daunting costs of rebuilding after a flood.

Home Remedies for Smoke Odor Removal

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Picture of home engulfed in smoke. Smoke odor penetrates everything and is tough to remove!

Helpful Cleaning Tips

  • Wash, and scrub all exterior surfaces including walls, walks, drives, decks, windows, and deck screens, etc.
  • Wash and disinfect all interior walls and hard surfaces with mild soap or other appropriate cleaning solutions or products, and rinse thoroughly. Don’t forget inside cabinets, drawers, and closets.
  • Launder or dry clean all clothing.
  • Wash, dust, or otherwise clean all household items, including knick-knacks.
  • Disinfect and deodorize all carpets, window coverings, upholstered furniture, and mattresses with steam or other appropriate equipment.
  • Upholstery, fabric window treatments, etc. can be spray-treated with deodorizing products available at most supermarkets, but do not use odor-masking sprays.
  • Have heating, ventilating, and air- conditioning units and all duct work professionally cleaned to remove soot, ash, and smoke residue. Change filters when you first return to the premises and at least once a month for the first year.
  • If aerial fire retardant or firefighting foam residue is present on the house and/or automobiles, use a mild detergent and brushes to scrub and dilute the dried residue and flush it from the surfaces; rinse with clean water. A follow-up with pressure washing may be beneficial but will not replace scrubbing to remove the residue.
  • Ash and soot on the ground and vegetation in the vicinity will continue to generate smoke odors and airborne particles when disturbed by air movement. Until the ash and soot are diluted and absorbed by the environment, indoor mechanical air filtration may help minimize the uncomfortable and potentially health-threatening impact of these pollutants.

Additional Tips on How to Clean Smoke Damage

Smoke odors can be quite stubborn. Depending upon how strong the smoke odors are, one or more of the following methods of cleaning may prove helpful.

 Keep in mind, though, that if the smoke odor has permeated into your carpets, draperies, furnishings, etc., there may be little that can be done to eliminate the smoke odor unless these items are removed or replaced.

Vinegar. White vinegar cuts through odors naturally. Try wiping down furniture, washable walls, floors, etc. with white vinegar. Also, try placing several bowls of vinegar around the room with the smoke damage, leaving them there for several days. If you can’t stand the smell of vinegar, try mixing a bit of lavender oil into the bowls to help cut the odor of the vinegar.

  • Baking Soda. Baking soda is another natural odor-absorber. Try sprinkling liberal amounts of baking soda over furniture, floors, etc. Leave a few bowls of baking soda around the room for several days to help absorb the odors.
  • Activated Charcoal. This product, often used as a detoxifying agent, is also a natural odor absorbent. Placing bowls of activated charcoal (powdered form) around your room may help to absorb the smoke odors.
  • Fresh Air. In the warmer weather, leave your windows and doors open as much as possible. Fresh air will eventually dissipate the smell of smoke.
  • Ozone Generators. There are products on the market known as ozone generators that may help in reducing or even eliminating smoke odor from your house. Remember, though, that these expensive products, while effective in reducing the odor, will not eliminate it completely if the odor has permeated the carpets, draperies, furnishings, etc. We here at SERVPRO implement this method in most if not all smoke odor removal jobs.

Getting the Smoke Smell Out of Clothing

Getting the smoke smell out of clothing can be difficult. Some suggest using 1 cup of vinegar in the wash cycle, along with the usual detergent. One wash may not remove the smoke odor, so check for smoke odor. If the odor is still present, wash again using the same process. Smell the items each time after they are washed. If they still smell like smoke, wash them until the odor is gone. If you dry them in a dryer when they smell like smoke, you may set the odor in the clothing. The Iowa State Extension gives tips on removing stains and odors from clothing in their publication, Quick ‘n Easy Stain Removal. Information about smoke odor is on SERVPRO of Pleasanton/Dublin website.

If all else fails, call the professionals at SERVPRO!