Restoring Damaged Ceiling Tiles
Most of our attention is on surfaces or items at eye level or lower, such as on tables, or the flooring in your home. But when your eyes go up, you might start to notice something frightful… damaged ceiling tiles, and causing you to think “Oh, no, it’s mold!”
It’s probably not. Most likely what you are seeing are damaged ceiling tiles from some type of water leak or moisture intrusion.
Ceiling tiles are usually made from plants, minerals, gypsum, clay, other natural materials, so are very absorbent and show stains easily. Some are made from synthetic products and might not have as many stains from water leaks or moisture intrusion.
Here are a few steps you can take to restore those damaged ceiling tiles. But remember that replacement might be a final option.
Take pictures of your ceiling first, just to avoid the frustration of fitting them back, especially if some tiles are of different sizes. Vacuum your tiles, removing as much dirt and debris you can, which will be concentrated on the topside of them.
You have to be careful now. Over wetting is an issue. In a typical spray bottle, use warm water and a few drops of dish detergent. Mist the tiles until they are damp and use white cloths to clean the surfaces. Use more detergent on heavier deposits of soil. Allow the tiles to dry.
Set the tiles out that still have stains. What you are going to do now is bleach away those stains. Don’t use chlorine bleach. Get some household hydrogen peroxide, easily found at a grocery store or pharmacy. Hydrogen peroxide is a safe bleach that will slowly remove stains. Mist the peroxide, using it straight (no dilution) over the stained areas of the tiles, and with a soft brush, work the solution into the tiles. The remaining stains often disappear in a few hours. If you see some progress, repeat the process.
Besides replacement, painting your tiles is an option, but you may lose some acoustical ability, since some tiles are designed to absorb sound. It’s a decision you will have to make.
And, of course, for any restoration work, such as cleaning of items that are damaged by water intrusion, call your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Dryer Vent Safety
Your washing machine and clothes dryer are valuable appliances, and they need maintenance from time to time.
One very important component to maintain and keep clean because of the danger of fire is the dryer vent system.
The vent system is the gateway for moisture-laden air to escape from the dryer to the outside of your home. The vent hose that enables this can be very short, perhaps just a foot or two in length, to several feet, depending on the distance from the dryer to the outside wall. The longer the hose run, the more lint that can build up in the hose, increasing the possibility of a fire.
Besides a visual inspection, pay attention to how long it takes your clothes to dry. If it seems it is longer than when you first purchased your washer/dryer, it may be due to lint buildup in the vent hose, restricting air flow to the outside. If you have to restart your dryer because your clothes are just not drying, that should signal an inspection and cleaning of your vent hose.
Inspection and cleaning
Disconnect the electricity to your dryer before doing any work and remove the lint trap and make sure it is clean. Pull your dryer away from the wall and unhook the dryer vent assembly. You will need a tool for this, most likely a screwdriver. Carefully use the hose from your vacuum cleaner, insert it as far as you can into the hose, thoroughly vacuuming. Also vacuum the section of the dryer the hose attaches to.
Also inspect and clean the assembly from the end of the vent hose to the outside of the home. Go outside, if possible, and inspect the opening. You might even find a bird has tried to nest in the opening, and occasionally bees or wasps have attempted to take up residence. You will need to clear out anything that can block the air flow to the outside.
If you aren’t able to clean the entire hose, such as if it is too long, it’s better to play it safe and just replace it all. Lint buildup inside the hose can overheat and catch fire, and you must avoid that at all costs.
And if the unthinkable does happen, and you have a fire in your home — or smoke damage — do the right thing. Call a professional restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Musty Basement
Fixing a musty basement is a chore that must be done quickly yet can be very frustrating. Trying to chase down a musty odor is not easy. It’s a restoration project that is crucial to you enjoying your home.
A smelly basement is notjust an odor problem; it usually indicates something more severe is going on. What you are smelling could be just damp materials, but it could also be mold growing, and the off-gassing of that process. This isn’t pleasant nor healthy.
There are several steps you, as a homeowner, can take to help fix this issue.
Doing some simple cleaning can accomplish quite a bit. Keeping things clean – and dry – is key to curbing the smells that can come from a basement. Take the time to inspect all the materials in your basement and take out and clean those that might be damp or have an odor. A little suspicion goes a long way.
Most likely, these items that could have odor issues are porous materials, such as clothing, bedding, and similar items. Have your carpet cleaned professionally, if there is carpet in the basement. Using a home carpet cleaning machine might actually do more damage than good. Hire a pro.
Look at the sources of potential musty odors. Windows that are drafty, walls the seep in water, anything that can create odors should be inspected and addressed. Remember that musty smells usually come from mold growth.
Although you may think that your basement is nice and dry, it might not be. The only way is to monitor the humidity level. You can do this with a hand-held device, the type your restoration pros use, but that may not be practical for you. Those devices can be very expensive.
Better yet is to set up a dehumidifier that has that information on it with its display. This way, you can run the dehumidifier as needed to keep the humidity at the level you want it to be. The lower the humidity, the less you should experience musty odors in the basement.
And the absolute best way to know if those musty smells from the basement are due to water intrusion, or other restoration issues, and what to do about them, is to consult with your favorite water damage professionals.
After all, it pays to call a pro!