Understanding the term ‘dry standard’ in the water damage industry

Posted by Matt Buchanan

We use a lot of terms that may be foreign to most people. In fact, a lot of times it can seem like we have a completely different language. Add to that the fact that we’re bring in equipment and systems that look like they were made for NASA, and it can be overwhelming for a lot of people.

moisture-readings-water-damageIf you’ve subscribed to our blog for any amount of time, you know one of the things we stress to customers is education. We want you to be knowledgeable about what we do, and we feel certain that when you are you are more comfortable with what is happening and more confident the work is being done correctly. So in this blog post, we’re going to discuss a term known as the ‘Dry Standard‘. It’s the ultimately aim for any water damage restoration project we’re called to.


What is the ‘Dry Standard’?


structural-drying-water-damageWhen you talk about water cleanup services, what you’re really talking about is removing the water and then performing what we call structural drying. Anybody can remove standing water. Even you can with the right equipment. That’s the easy part, and one we usually have done within a couple of hours of arriving to your property. The challenge is removing the last remaining moisture that has seeped into and under your home’s surfaces. Structural drying is that part of the process, and with any job we have to achieve the dry standard.

Achieving the dry standard means returning every soaked surface to the same level of moisture content it had before it got wet. Most people think something is either wet or dry. The truth is every surface in your home, from the drywall to your wood floors to your cabinets and carpet, have some level of moisture in them. They need that moisture to maintain their functionality and appearance. So to get to the dry standard when drying out your home, we have to take moisture readings from ‘dry’ surfaces in your home, and then match the wet areas to those same moisture readings. Every type of surface needs a certain amount of moisture, so the challenge for us is not under-drying or over-drying.


What happens if the Dry Standard is not achieved?


The danger of under-drying.


black-mold-damage-structural-dryingIf you don’t dry the area to its dry standard, you’ll end up with black mold. That’s inevitable, and sadly it’s something we see all the time in properties in which a ‘professional’ water damage company was hired to perform the work. If you’ve read our blog at all, you’ve heard us discuss the dangers of hiring the wrong mitigation company. Even some of the big name franchises (you know the ones always advertising on TV!) have some of the worst technicians in the field. If the property isn’t dried fully, black mold will set in and begin feeding off of the cellulose found in your home’s structures. One that happens, you’ve got a health crisis and a very expensive cleanup effort. Not good!


The danger of over-drying.


water-damaged-hard-wood-floors-dryingIf the surface is over-dried, meaning the drying process goes well beyond the the moisture content found in the same surface in a dry area of the home, the surface can be ruined. This is especially the case with wood surfaces, like floors or cabinets. If you over-dry your wood floors, you’ll start to see gaps in between the planks. Once you see that, they are ruined. You can either decide to live with them or you can decide to spend the money to have them replaced. Either way, you’re talking about a matter of a few percentage points of moisture meaning the difference between black mold growth, success, and ruin. Do you think you’ve got the chops to pull that off? Then by all means, get to work.

But if not, please give us a call. We are students of our industry and are constantly studying the best ways to quickly achieve the dry standard for our customers. As a full-service water damage company, we promise to get your home completely dry so you can move on with your life and put this tragic event behind you once and for all!

About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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