Tips for Salvaging Flood Damaged Photos

The beginning of the rainy reason marks the beginning of the constant fear of threats of floods and leaks. Experts predict at least five to seven hurricanes to hit the country this year alone. With hurricane chances that high, protecting your home from water damage should be a top priority. Torrential rains can pose many different risks. Items such as furniture and appliances could break instantly. Additionally, there is the issue of water damaged photos. These treasured family mementos can become irreparable if they aren’t addressed quickly, but they are salvageable if properly addressed in a timely manner. Using the following tips can help you salvage those precious photos when disaster strikes them. 

How to Salvage Flood Damaged Photos

There are a lot of ways you can salvage your photos when they sustain water damage. It’s important to never lose hope and try the following tips. The following tips can be useful if you discover the damage soon enough. 

1. Don’t Rush

When dealing with damaged photos, your first move is to take a step back. Before rushing into any form of salvaging tactics, take a good look around at your surroundings. If you act too fast, you might end up damaging it more. Make an accurate assessment of how severe the damage is, and explore your options before touching the photos. Taking it slow and evaluating the situation and damage will help identify the type of salvaging methods you can and should use. 

2. Freeze the Items to Prevent Mold from Growing

Regardless of the type of photo you have, mold will start growing on it within 72 hours of coming into contact with water. However, according to FEMA, some mold colonies can start growing as soon as 24-48 hours after contact. The best way to prevent this from happening is to stop the mold from ever growing. There are a few steps you should take before you begin freezing the photos. If there are any photos placed inside glass and metal frames, begin by removing them before placing them in the freezer. Before you start freezing the photos, make sure to put waxed paper between individual photographs. The waxed paper will help ensure the photos won’t stick together when inside the freezer. 

3. Air Dry Frozen Photos and Documents

Designate a specific table to this document recovery process, and prepare the table beforehand by covering it with paper towels. Spread all of the photos in small batches, making sure they’re on top while in a single layer. This helps draw out the moisture from the photos’ bottom side. As a means of speeding up the drying process you can use fans inside of the room, ensuring you don’t aim the fans directly at the photos. Pointing the fan directly on the photos can create wavy or curled up end products, or blow the photos around the room creating further damage. 

4. Ask for Expert Help to Restore the Photos

The techniques mentioned above are most useful when when you discover your damaged photos quickly after the damage occurred. If you discover your photos at a later time, it might be too late to use those techniques. When this happens, it is still possible to salvage your photos! At this time you should enlist expert help. These professionals can help you asses the level of damage and restore if the damage isn’t too great. Take note that each photo will have a different level of damage, meaning some water damage can become irreversible without professional aid. Some photos can be completely ruined when soaked or ripped apart when stuck together. It is important to find someone who can handle the restoration process and take the stress out of your hands. 

How to Prevent Water Damage

There are some precautions that can be taken to prevent your photos from suffering flood-damage. 

Here are some tips that can help give you some peace of mind:

1. Ensure Proper Drainage

Your drainage system is a surprisingly important element in the strength of your foundation… without a good drainage system, your foundation can weaken and begin to crack. Because of this, your gutters should be inspected and cleaned as often as possible. Gutter maintenance prevents water from building up and cascading down the sides of your house in the event of a storm. It is advised that your downspouts direct the water 5-10 feet away from your home. Maintenance costs are relatively minimal since gutter cleaning can be done yourself. If you decide to hire a pro you will need to pay $50-$250, depending on your home’s size and height. If you choose to put off gutter maintenance you run the risk of your foundation settling, resulting in cracked basement walls. In the worst case scenario, putting off gutter maintenance can lead to costly damages. The total cost of stabilizing, repairing, and sealing a deteriorated foundation can range from $15,000-$40,000. 

2. Check Your Sump Pump on a Regular Basis

Your sump pump should come to life during heavy storms. Finding out your sump pump isn’t working in the midst of a storm is less than ideal. A good rule of thumb is to check it at least once a year. However, during a heavy storm season, it is a good idea to check it several times. Sump pump testing is free, so there is no excuse to put it off or avoid it. To ensure safety, you can get a water-powered backup sump pump, or a battery-operated one. Either way, you’re unlikely to pay more than $350 even when you factor installation costs. Failing to check your pump before a storm hits can lead to a flooded basement, ruining everything from photos, to drywall and carpeting. 

3. Look for Water Leaks and Fix Them

Leaks often promote a host of issues, such as mold growth, attraction of termites, and carpenter ants. When assessing your property for water leaks, look for dark spots underneath the pipes and inside your sink cabinets. Also keep an eye out for ceiling stains and toilets that rock and drip. Inspections of your property should occur at least once per year. If you find missing, loose, and damaged shingles, it is best to repair them as soon as possible. If you let experts handle the roof repair, it can range from a few hundred dollars to a thousand.

Save Damaged Photos Today!

Your photos are important parts of your memories, and your story. That’s why it is important to ensure they’re preserved and cared for to the best degree. If your photos suffer damage, don’t lose hope- try out these tips or seek expert help.

What happens when the damage is too severe? Do you need help fixing your damaged photos and documents? If so, contact us today.