As with all restoration/remediation, the goal is to return the property/environment to “normal” or sanitary conditions as quickly and efficiently as possible. All actions should contribute to achieving this objective. Those that do not so contribute should be reconsidered.
Determining the Scope of Decontamination
Since the removal of contaminants is the primary objective, it is critical to determine how far those contaminants may have spread. If arriving shortly after discovery, moisture meters and infrared imaging can provide excellent information on how far primary contamination with liquid water has spread.
Rough Cleaning, Initial Sanitization & Demolition
Rough cleaning to remove gross contamination as well as an initial application of appropriate sanitizers is usually appropriate before starting demolition. This application of sanitizer is an engineering control intended to reduce (not eliminate!) risk for workers. As a rule, porous materials directly contacted by Category 3 water should be removed and discarded. This includes carpet, cushion, tackless strip, insulation, etc. It also includes many contents items.
Semi-porous materials, primarily wood framing, can often be cleaned and decontaminated. Non-porous materials such as vinyl flooring or ceramic tile can often be effectively cleaned and decontaminated, unless contaminated water has penetrated under or behind them, in which case they must be removed to access the contaminated surfaces for remediation.