Hurricane Harvey – Cleanup and Restoration Tips

Hurricane Harvey – Cleanup and Restoration Tips


Hey everyone.  I’ve been working all this week trying to get crews together so we can start helping folks dry out. I’ve learned a few things along the way and thought I’d share them everyone you so you can avoid potential pitfalls.  This info should be helpful to DIYers as well as those that are bringing in hired guns.


Essentially this is a 5-step process. 1) Document everything before work begins. 2) Remove EVERYTHING that got touched by Harvey Soup. 3) Disinfect. 4) Kill the mold. 5) Rebuild.

  1. Document. Take pictures or a video of everything before work begins. Document the high water mark in every room. Open cabinets, drawers, pantries and pan the camera slow. If you think you are panning the camera too slow, slow down even more!

  2. Remove EVERYTHING that is damp or wet. Furniture, mattress, and carpet are the obvious stuff. But drywall,  insulation, wood floors, stairsteps, and cabinets also need to be removed.  That includes the drywall that is behind kitchen cabinets, kitchen back splashes, and showers. It also includes removing bathtubs and shower pans (under the shower tile).  Every house is different, but essentially you should be able to stand in one corner of your house and see all the way to the other side.  All that will remain are the studs.  I highly recommend that you purchase a moisture meter.  They are relatively inexpensive and can really help you determine how much material you need to remove.

    Once that’s done, you need to get all the little pieces of Sheetrock off the studs.  A wire brush works well for this.  Then you can either remove the nails/screws or hammer them in.

  3. Kill the Mold.  Buy a few gallons of Concrobium from Home Depot and spray everything down.  Wait about 16 hours and then move to step 4.
  4. Disinfect. Mold isn’t the only enemy.  Everything that touched Harvey Soup is crawling with all kinds of harmful bacteria.  To disinfect it, products like PineSol or OdoBan work great.  They are about $10/gallon at Home Depot.  You can mix some up in a 5-gallon bucket and literally scrub EVERYTHING down than came into contact with Harvey Soup.  You can use a long-handled scrub brush like this one to scrub every stud in the house.  Don’t forget to scrub the floors too.

    Once that’s done, you wait until everything is dry.  For this part, you have to be patient.  It’s going to take 3 or 4 weeks.  You can try to rent or buy dehumidifiers, but I plan to crank down my air conditioner and buy a bunch of box fans.

    In general, the interior studs will dry faster that the exterior studs.  Next the interior sill plates will dry out followed by the exterior sill plates.   Once the studs are at about 10-11% humidity, you can start to rebuild.  But there is one last step before you do.    

  5. Rebuild.


My focus is on taking care of items 1 (documentation) and 2 (removing everything wet). Once we do that, folks can crank down their AC units and turn on some box fans until ServoPro or PuroClean can get there with their gear.  Last time I checked, the Ace Hardware near Memorial and Dairy Ashford had about 100 box fans in stock.   


Even if you decide to go the DIY route to take care of item 2, you should consider bringing in a ServPro or PuroClean type company to make sure all the mold is gone. I believe that some companies offer a “mold free” certificate, but I’m having a hard time running this info down. If I think everyone should ask their insurance company what they require.  



As far as you air conditioner goes, almost all of us have condensing units that have been submerged for a while. My AC guy told me to leave it off for a few days to let everything dry out. Then try to fire it up. If it starts, you are good to go, if not, call your AC guy so they can fix it. Personally, I plan to put a box fan on top mine for a couple of days, cross my fingers, then try to turn it on.


Other notes:

Most cleanup and restoration companies are charging by the square foot (so am I). To figure out your square footage, you can go to, plug in your address, and your information will show up. Folks can scroll down to the bottom right hand corner of that page and look for their square footage. It will say something like ‘Base Area Pri”.  In the example below, I pulled up a 2-story house.  The bottom floor is 1,215 square feet.  I strongly recommend everyone have this info before a contractor shows up.

I hope this helps!

If you don’t want to go the DIY route and are looking for a company that has has your best interest at heart, give me a call today.  I’d be happy to take a look at your property and give you a written quote.  

Thanks and have a great day!  

Adam Taylor







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