Mold Damage Prevention

The toxic mold environmental risk may be one of the next major real estate “due diligence” concerns, especially in property development areas where major flooding has occurred. The problem is that this not only includes known residential and commercial flood areas incidents, but also numerous minor water releases due to plumbing failures, conductive condensation, house water leaks and accidents. The toxic mold concern could also be a problem where fires occurred at residential properties.

Mold Prevention

The key to mold control is moisture control. It is important to dry all affected water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home, contain the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Wash and clean off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced. Remember to always first consultant a professional to identify the problem and provide solutions for your drying process and if needed mold abatement. Here at Aztec Construction & Restoration, we offer FREE estimates and consulting throughout this procedure. 877-529-8320 call us today!

  • Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
  • There is no practical way to eliminate all molds and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  • If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  • Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  • Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60% ) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
  • Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  • Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  • Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  • In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  • 10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

Stachybotrys Chartarum (atra) is a greenish-black fungus found worldwide that colonizes particularly well in high-cellulose material, such as straw, hay, wet leaves, dry wall, carpet, wall paper, fiber-board, ceiling tiles, thermal insulation, etc. The fungus (mold), before drying, is wet and slightly slimy to touch. There are about 15 species of Stachybotrys, with a worldwide distribution. The toxic mold grows in areas where the relative humidity is above 55%. This type of fungus does not grow on plastic, vinyl, concrete products, or ceramic tiles. It is not found in the green mold on bread or the black mold on the shower tiles.

Fire and Smoke Damage

Understanding the effects of a fire

The following information is provided to help owners evaluate the damage to their home or business caused by smoke and fire damages. Throughout the clean-up and deodorization process, we are able to minimize and mitigate the costly repairs caused by fire loss. Aztec Construction & Restoration will assist and help you understand fire and smoke damage, and the residue and unseen odors that accompany them. We invite you to discuss any information on our site with our restoration professionals. This will ensure your home, business and furnishings are being correctly restored to pre-loss condition, or better. Moreover, by working with our restoration experts you can increase your knowledge base pertaining to your loss.

Our Professional Restoration Company is always conscious of timelines in a fire loss, we understand that just because the fire is out it does not mean the damage has stopped. We know that the longer corrosion control and emergency cleaning are delayed, the greater the costs increase on the loss.

Our team of IICRC certified professionals has the experience and training to work with home and business owners and act on your behalf with the insurance companies. We then coordinate the efforts that will return the structure and contents back to pre-loss condition, or better, by choosing the best avenue in restoration techniques. We specialize in advanced and modern technical cleaning and restoration procedures in smoke and fire restoration.

A fire loss is not just the physical destruction of combustible materials, there are unseen damages that are the side effects of fire and smoke damage. For instance, you did not have a physical fire in your home, but instead, you put a Turkey or some other meat on the slow burner and went out for a while. For some reason, you forgot to turn it off or did not make it back, or some malfunction happened and the meat was burned to a pile of disfigured black coal looking clump, without actually catching anything on fire leaving a foul odor in the air. You air out your house and even spray deodorizers for weeks, and that burnt odor just won’t go away.

Let’s take a look at this type of loss, first, the slow carbonization of most any meat on the stovetop or in an oven is called a “Protein Fire”. They usually reduce the meat into ashes or charred bone, and occasionally destroy the pot or pan it was being cooked in. The protein particles are released into the air and attach to almost any surface, this residue is unseen in most cases, and is sometimes oily to the touch. It will invade cracks in walls attach itself to carpeting, furniture, and any porous surface, not to mention in most cases it will venture into the return vent of the HVAC system. When it gets into the ventilation system, it spreads throughout the entire structure, and as you can see where this is going, it can infect the entire structure with this foul odor.

Cleaning such problems involves special training and equipment, as time will not remove the odor in all cases. Because it involves an oily substance that attaches to almost all surfaces, dirt can be attracted to it, and compound the problem. It is important that the damage is cleaned properly and promptly, by cleaning all affected surfaces and having the HVAC system professionally cleaned. Taking a look at the science of fire, how a fire actually starts, burns, at the microscopic level, helps us understand the fundamental information necessary to understand the fire restoration process.

As we all know fire has been with us since before the beginning of recorded history. Fire causes the transformation of matter into energy, ash and carbon monoxide will result. These physical characteristics of fire cause most of the problems in a loss, due that the transformation of matter causes secondary damage to a structure at the microscopic level. Fire cannot start without some source of ignition. This ignition must provide sufficient heat to maintain the fire process. Almost anything can be the source of this ignition; gas, match, cigarette, electricity, candle, heaters even the sun reflecting through a piece of glass can cause the necessary ignition needed to start and maintain a fire.

These forms of ignition, as well as any form of ignition, cannot result without the correct heat range for the material to catch on fire. For example, a paper will burn at a lower temperature than wood. Almost any material on earth will burn or melt given the right temperature.

Once you have the right temperature for the material in question, you have ignition. This is the beginning of the decomposition process that is caused by the process of fire, also known as “Pyrolysis” (transformation of a substance produced by the action of heat). Pyrolysis is a chemical change -in a material brought about by heat, enough heat the fire results in either flaming combustion or smoldering combustion, that cause by-products of gases which begin to come out or vaporize. The gases will generally be both flammable-combustible (methane, hydrogen) and, or non-flammable (carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapor, etc.). The non-flammable gases venture throughout the structure or general environment, and the flammable gases usually are hot enough to combust as soon as they mix or combine with oxygen in the air showing the actual presence of a flame, or flaming combustion. In addition, the flame cannot be seen in smoldering combustion, but instead, a red-hot glowing is seen on the surface.

When these types of fires get going well they cause smoke and soot, tars or tarry residue, burned gases and heat. Moreover, the heat coming out of the flame and combustion process is hot enough to keep the burning material at or above its decomposition temperature and will continue until it runs out of fuel, or a means to extinguish the flame is attained. Depending on the fuel involved, and the amount involved in a fire, and the heat, will determine the resulting by-products caused by the pyrolysis process. For example, when wood alone burns, the chemical by-products of decomposition are so complex that it is estimated there are over 1000, separate chemical compounds that can be identified from its burning, and this does not include near the materials involved in an average building composition today.

These gasses, smoke and soot, tars or tarry residue, can venture into the HVAC system of a structure. This will cause what is called a “puff-back”, which results in these gasses, smoke, soot, tars or tarry residue to spread through the entire building should the system fan be running during the fire. This will result in the contamination of the HVAC system severely, not to mention other areas of the structure that was not in direct contact or closed off from the fire. In addition, soot can collect on previously unseen spider webs causing “soot webs” or “smoke webs”, which are sometimes seen after a fire, even in rooms on the opposite side of the building where the fire occurred.

With the known characteristics of the air current in a building, we can expect smoke to migrate toward outside walls and windows and consequently deposit residue more heavily there. With insulated walls, the window will provide a substantial temperature difference, and the circulation of currents may concentrate in that area. This is the reason a far heavier deposit of smoke or soot residue may be found on the back or lined portion of the drapery rather than on the surface that faces the room. Now that we have learned how a fire starts, and what happens during the fire, let’s take a look at what happens when the fire is extinguished. There are several ways a fire is extinguished, the best by far is by starving the fire of oxygen, but this is hard to do in a building unless you can afford a Halon fire extinguisher system. I would caution the use of as these systems as they will deprive an area of oxygen, resulting in the suffocation of anyone in the area.

With the many methods of extinguishing a fire; Freon type gaseous fire extinguishers, water, and foam extinguishers, they all have the same method in mind, smother and cool the fire and fuel. Each of these methods extinguishing will require different methods used in the restoration process. As the freon and foam fire extinguishers leave a mess that invades those cracks and crevasses, and of course water, which it the most common will mix with the ash and soot to form an acid that will cause further damage to anything it contacts.

The presence of water and steam in fire deposits as acids and acidic smoke-soot. There so many fire decompositions that are acidic in nature, either from organic or inorganic acids, sometimes we wonder which does more property damage-the fire or the water?

  

All these factors contribute to acid damage and deterioration of the contents and materials in a fire. In some cases, the acids may be strong enough to corrode metals, metal fixtures and even etch glass and chrome. Chemical and corrosion damage is another major source of damage, and the cost of losses from acid corrosion can be enormous.

The measurement of the success rate of the practical restoration experience, as well as business success, is clearly evident through the restoration technique, though the underlying science of it is not. By contrast, however, the scientific measurements of the actual fire process are many and quite sophisticated.

We all should be knowledgeable in the basics of fire and fire risk, including some of the most important issues and means of fire prevention. Let’s face it, knowledge is power, and preventing fires saves lives as well as property. Be sure to follow up on fire prevention and test your smoke detectors regularly, as it is reported that most fires with smoke detectors installed were not operational.

In addition, you may want to look into flame-retardants. With all the ways that these fire retardants can be used, some treatments use chemicals that are absorbed by the fibers or fixed somehow on the material. Still, other treatments are applied to the back coating in mattresses or upholstery or the backing as carpet latex. Still, other fire retardants are formulated into shampoo or detergents, leaving some protective residue after the cleaning process.

Smoke Residue Removal
Even after a small fire is put out, the damage left in its wake can be overwhelming. A fire doesn’t necessarily have to burn a structure extensively to require a thorough professional clean-up. Smoke may travel throughout the ductwork system and affect an entire building. Even a light smoke residue should be treated properly and not smeared onto the surface, in order to prevent a lingering odor and damage from the potential chemical makeup of the soot residue.

Aztec professional team can help identify salvageable personal items, classify their condition and arrange for proper cleaning and storage of these items. We also provide a comprehensive, detailed inventory of items that remain, including proper documentation, photos and video for all contents listed to ensure proper processing with your insurance claim.

Be fire safe and if you do have a fire, protect yourself and property by calling 911 first!

Restoration at a glance

By selecting Aztec Construction, Inc. to complete your restoration work, you will have a team of experienced professionals waiting to help you make the many important decisions facing you.

Devastation strikes without warning, and when your property undergoes extensive damage, Aztec Construction Inc. will be there to assess, mitigate and properly restore the damaged areas back to pre-loss condition or better. All precautions are taken to secure the safety of your personal property, the structure of your building and you the customer as well. Great care and consideration is taken to assess the extent of damage accurately. Aztec Construction Inc. works with your insurance company to identify all damages, prepare an estimate, and come to a fair agreement based on the scope of work needed. Our goal is to do everything we can to expedite the process and get you back to in home or business as quickly and safely as possible.

1 Step One

The estimating process
A trained and experienced estimator from Aztec Construction Inc. will inspect your home and evaluate the damage to complete a detailed written statement of scope of work. During this inspection, the estimator will gather important information regarding the damage, take measurements of the damaged area, and if needed by the insurance company, take photos of the damage and the surrounding areas.

This process normally takes two-to-five business days. The written estimate is then forwarded to your insurance adjuster for review. Once your insurance company approves the estimate for the work, we require a signed written work authorization and the deductible fee (if applicable) to start the restoration process.

2 Step Two

The restoration process  

Aztec Construction Inc. is available to help you each step of the way. Upon receipt of a signed work authorization and your deductible (if applicable), a Project Manager will be assigned to your specific project. The Project Manager is the person responsible for your restoration and will be your contact person throughout this process. You will receive a call from your Project Manager within 48 hours to let you know your file has been received, discuss the details of your job, and begin scheduling the work.

If the damage if extensive and requires plans and permits, the Project Manager will begin this process immediately. The time needed to get the actual permit will depend largely on your local building department.

3 Step Three

Funding your project
Each insurance company has their own process for dispersing claim checks. The speedy receipt of insurance claim checks insures the project will stay on schedule. Most of the time the check will be mailed to us with our name and the homeowner’s name on the check. We will forward the check to you, the homeowner, for endorsement. This will release the funds for the project. It is important to receive the funds available from your insurance company as soon as you receive them. This allows to purchase materials required for the job and to pay suppliers and sub-contractors in a timely manner. If you have any questions, please contact our Accounts Receivable Department at 530-275-3327.

Why remodel?

Top 10 reasons to remodel

1 |  Sales potential

The external appearance of your home is important for raising the value and sales potential; enhance curb appeal if you’re looking to sell. Whether you are renovating one part of the exterior elevation of your home, changing out the front door, remodeling the kitchen, adding bathrooms, or updating all of the exterior look and feel of the home keep an eye on maximizing your home listing price for when your home goes on the market.

2 |  Preparing for retirement

If you’re planning on staying in your home thorough your senior years, it’s important to upgrade your home with age-in-place features, including rreplacing your bathtubs with easy step-in showers with bars and installing toilets for people with limited mobility, creating a home with ease of function to ensure you enjoy your home.  Or maybe you need to add room for grandchildren to visit; on the other side of the house.

 

 

3 |  Go green

Paying too much for your utilities? Slash your energy bills. Replace your single-panel windows with energy-efficient windows and you can save hundreds in monthly bills. Add energy-efficient appliances, solar water heater, high-efficiency furnace, and added insulation to decrease energy costs and the upgrades will pay for themselves over time.  Plus energy efficiency will make your house more comfortable and reduce your carbon footprint.

 

4 |  Home is where the heart is

And the kitchen is the heart of the home. Family and friends gather and spend most of their time here.  Everyone gathers to start their days and to check-in when you get home.  Our kitchens set the stages for family gatherings, celebrations, heated discussions, and to pass down to new generations family traditions and recipes. Is it any wonder that kitchen remodels are so popular and have the largest payoff in terms of boosting a home’s resale value?

 

 

 

 

5 |  Make it right

Your bathroom might function just fine, but it’s always a good time to update and put in new plumbing.
Maybe the kids have outgrown sharing rooms?  Re-configuring by adding functional space to a laundry room can make sometimes an everyday task easier.  Look for areas that need to be updated and improved through out your home.

 

 

6 |  The kids are staying 

Your family won’t be going anywhere until your kids are grown; maybe even stay through/past the college years. So why wait 10 or 15 years to remodel? Make your home suitable for the future now; adding bathrooms,  reading nooks, creating outdoor space to entertain; look to add spaces for expanding families can make a difference for a joyful households.

 

7 |  Updated look

Don’t waste another day looking at those tile (with cracked grout lines) counter-tops! Does your home reflect the era it was built in; like a flip phone?  Now is the time to make your retro kitchen environment into a kitchens of today’s century. Perhaps it lacks a breakfast bar, and your family wants to gather informally in the kitchen to enjoy coffee or grab a quick meal without going to the dining room table. Whatever the reason, one motivation for a kitchen remodel is to arrange the room to best suit the family’s needs.

8 |  Your home feels stale

Your home is almost perfect but it needs a minor facelift or you are simply ready for a change. The current kitchen might be functional, updated and attractive, yet no longer appeals to you or mets your family’s needs. Maybe its time for gourmet kitchen with fancier amenities than accommodates the cook’s needs.

9 | Make your basement usable

Are you tired of using your basement as one big storage unit? Convert it into a living space, such as a media room, or even add a closet and a window for an extra bedroom, which will add square footage and increase the overall value of your home. Maybe you need more space, or a second bathroom would make things a lot easier during those busy mornings. Maybe your husband wants a man cave, or you would like a deck or a patio for outdoor entertaining. Renovating so that the home functions better is a good idea, as long as the upgrades don’t hurt the home’s value or decrease usable space.

10 |  Avoid the stress of buying a new home

Searching for a new home can be stressful and time-consuming. Instead of spending months looking for that perfect home, upgrading your bathrooms and kitchen or removing that wall that’s been bugging you and add in a walk in closet.  Fall in love with your home all over again.

 

Dream it and we will built it!

 

 

 

 

 

Restoration Process: Frequently asked questions

When will my restoration start?

A project manager will call you to discuss the project and time frame for your job within 48 hours from the time your file is processed.

When should I send in my insurance check?

As soon as you receive the check, endorse the back and mail to, or contact, Aztec Construction, Inc.

Why should I send my check prior to completion?

Costs for your restoration start when the first call is received and continue until the job is completed. This money is necessary to purchase materials and fund the project as it progresses. We pride ourselves in paying our suppliers and sub-contractors in a timely mannor.

Who do I call if I have a question?

Your project manager is always available to answer questions regarding your restoration. If you have questions on billing or payments, call our A/R department.

It is our intent to guide you through the potentially difficult process of insurance claims and restoration work. If you have any questions or need more information, contact your insurance adjuster, or give us a call, 530-275-3327. We’re here to help.

… answered here

The kitchen is the center of your home. Where everyone gathers to start their days and to check-in when you get home.  Our kitchens set the stages for family gatherings, celebrations, heated discussions, and to pass down to new generations family traditions and recipes.Kitchen Remodel “It’s where you prepare your meals and it’s where all of your parties gather. Is it any wonder that kitchen remodels are so popular and have the largest payoff in terms of boosting a home’s resale value? Of course, kitchen remodels are also the most complicated and can be the most expensive. The average project cost varies depending on the size of your kitchen, the quality of materials, and whether you change the layout of the room. On average, homeowners report that a kitchen remodel costs $22,120. A smaller project between $10,000 and $15,000 may include painting walls, refacing cabinets, upgrading the sink, and installing a tile backsplash. A $30,000+ renovation may include installing custom cabinets, hardwood floors, granite counters, and high-end appliances. Most homeowners spend between $12,562 and $33,418”. (https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/kitchens/remodel-a-kitchen/#how)

  

Estimating Your Kitchen Remodel Costs: According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, kitchen remodeling costs break down as follows:

  • Design fees: 4%
  • Installation: 17%
  • Appliances and ventilation: 14%
  • Cabinetry and hardware: 29%
  • Countertops: 10%
  • Lighting: 5%
  • Flooring: 7%
  • Doors and windows: 4%
  • Walls and ceilings: 5%
  • Faucets and plumbing: 4%
  • Other: 1%

The first step in determining kitchen renovation estimates is considering your kitchen as a whole. Before you get to the smaller questions, such as whether to reface your cabinets or replace them, ask yourself the big questions. What do you want from your kitchen? How do you want it to look and function? Is the size and configuration right?

You dream it, we will built it. 

 

We make dreams happen

What would a new bathroom mean to you? Maybe it’s the perfect sanctuary where you start your day. Or it’s a retreat at the end of the day to unwind and let go of the stress of the day.

What would the ideal bathroom look like? A space that is all your own, where only calm and serenity reign? Aztec will create the perfect space – just for you!

 

You dream it, we will built it. 

Take charge! Dream big and let us make that dream into a reality. Call us today: 530-275-3327

 

… a walk in closet

What does your dream closet mean to you?  Maybe it’s the perfect sanctuary where you start your day.  Or it’s a retreat at the end of the day to unwind and let go of the stress of the day.

Making that dream space into a reality is what we do best.  Need more room to showcase your treasures?  Maybe a chandelier to provide the perfect lighting? Or maybe you just need someone to help you organize the chaos, so you can find what you need.  Aztec will create the perfect space – just for you!

Spoil yourself!

Take charge!  Take advantage of a lonely wall in the spare bedroom and gain your dream closet!

Call us today: 530-275-3327

 

 

 

Quick tip if you’re driving in the snow

We’re seeing some severe weather here in the north state. Aztec Construction & Restoration will be driving where we’re needed, so if you see us on the road (and we know our vehicles are hard to miss), a friendly wave is always appreciated.

Consider keeping a supply of kitty litter in your vehicle.  Kitty litter (or sand) can help with traction in otherwise slippery conditions.  Don’t worry, Mittens won’t mind.

Drive safe out there!

And if you need our disaster relief services in the north state, we are not far away.

Call us 24/7 at 530-275-3327.

Winterizing your home

At Aztec Construction & Restoration, we know you’d much rather be warm and cozy in your home than dealing with a disaster. With the storms lining up in the forecast, here are some steps you can take to winterize your home:

  • Clean your gutters, and flush your down spouts and drains to prevent clogging or flooding.
  • Have your furnace or heating system serviced for efficiency and uninterrupted warmth.
  • Sweep your chimney – debris and even critters can find there way into chimneys, so be sure it is clear before your first fire of the season.
  • Check windows and doors for a breeze. Touching up caulking and investing in a weather stripping (or a DIY draft blocker) can make your home more energy efficient, and prevent invasive water and wind.
  • Clear landscaping within 7 feet of your home – your trees and branches don’t want to fall, but sometimes the weather has other plans for them.
  • Store all unsecured outdoor furniture and decorative items in a garage, shed, or other indoor location, to keep it from being whipped around in the wind and causing more damage.
  • Wrap all exterior pipes for insulation – a frozen pipe is a one-way ticket to disaster.
  • If you live in an area that floods regularly, be sure to take the time and get sand bags. Put them around garage doors and any area of your home water may come in. Investing in a sump pump could also help remove unwanted water and divert it to an area that drains efficiently.

If you have a vacation home that will be vacant through the winter months, other precautions should be taken:

  • Turn off your water at the source valve, and consider draining the water from faucets, toilets, etc., to prevent frozen pipes.
  • Install an automated thermostat – keep your thermostat set at 55 degrees or more to keep the home from freezing.
  • Unplug all appliances to reduce risk of fire and reduce unnecessary utility charges.

If you have any other tips for winterizing your home or business, please share in the comments section. And if find yourself or a friend in need of disaster relief services, call Aztec Construction & Restoration 530-275-3327 right away, 24/7.

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