Frequently Asked Questions

At Milestone Building Group, we are committed to helping Orange County home and business owners stay healthy and safe in their homes and buildings following a disaster, pre-planning for one or just getting ready for a big remodel or renovation.

Please read our Frequently Asked Questions below to find answers to filing an insurance claim, remediation, emergency services and construction questions. If your question is not addressed here, please call us toll free at: (855) 624-7665 or fill  out the “contact me” form and we will call you!

Water Damage:

What causes water damage?

Some common causes of both residential and commercial water damage include:

  • Sprinkler breaks
  • Toilet overflows
  • Pipe bursts
  • Water heater & appliance breakage or malfunction
  • Floods, heavy rains, and storm damage
  • Fire damage and the water it takes to extinguish the flames

What are some hidden indicators of water damage? 

After water damage has occurred, there may be unknown water trapped behind the walls. Moisture meters and other specialty equipment such as infrared cameras may be required to determine if there is in fact moisture behind the walls and if left untreated, can lead to mold growth in as quick as 48 hours. Some building materials are a better food source than others;  Drywall, laminated products, particle or MDF boards and items containing resins and glue provide a good food source for mold.

Office equipment, paper files, furniture, fabrics, artwork and musical instruments may appear dry, but could contain unwanted moisture. Complete water removal and repair of the source of water damage is imperative to prevent further damage and mold growth. Call us at (855) 624-7665 to assist you in restoring your water-damaged home.

Can water damage cause mold?

Homes and buildings with mold or microbial growth don’t have mold problems; they have moisture problems. Water damage is the leading cause of mold growth especially in dry climates which we have in California. Mold requires moisture, a food source, and typically germinates quicker in warm temperatures causing quicker growth. Remove the moisture, and you will significantly reduce or eliminate the mold from growing. Once the physical growth has been removed and the structure has been cleaned, treated and in most cases tested then the home or building is decontaminated.  If the area of mold contamination is over 10 SF the IICRC requires containment and negative air filtration for mold removal and cleaning.  Only once testing has been complete is it safe for containment to be removed and the portion of the structure to be inhabited once again.

Let Milestone Building Group perform your mold remediation and repair the source of your unwanted moisture. Please call us at (855) 624-7665 or click here to fill out our online form.

How can we safely inspect our house or business for water damage?

We always recommend that you have an inpsection from a professional water damage restoration company. There is no way to detect hidden water damage without the proper equipment – as well as the experience of knowing the proper places to inspect for hidden moisture.  It is very common that we get called out to inspect a property and the visible damage described over the phone is two times or even three times larger, effecting additional rooms and personal contents.

How does the water removal process work?

Visible water is removed from porous and non porous services using our state-of-the-art equipment. Furniture and personal contents are either removed or put on foam blocks to stop stain transfer and protect further damage. Depending on the category of water contamination, carpet and padding may need to be removed and disposed of. Additionally, baseboards, laminate, wood floors, drywall, insulation, cabinets, countertops and other materials may also need to be removed depending on the conditions. Once the necessary deconstruction has been completed high output dehumidifiers, fans and other specialty equipment is stages within the home to start the drying process.  Typical straight forward residential drying should take no more than 3 days and should be documented with moisture mapping software and psychometrics, which is the documentation that allows your carrier to process your claim quickly, because they know what they are paying for.

“It is very common to find Restoration or carpet cleaning companies that are not documenting their drying efforts and overcharging by increasing the number of days and hours required for drying to be completed.  This leads to delays in processing, a lot of questions of credibility by your carrier and a big headache for you!”

How can we help speed the repair of our home or business after a storm or flood?

Restoration companies experience a surge of calls following severe weather. The best thing you can do is contact us as soon as possible after the damage. If you own a business, call us at (855) 624-7665 to discuss our Emergency Services Program and how it can help you keep your business operating following a disaster.

While you are waiting for your restoration company after a major devastation the following steps can be taken to “buy some time”

  • Remove as much water as possible.
  • Get all the items in the affected areas onto wood blocks or off the floor.
  • Control the temperature, keep it around 70 degrees or less.
  • Carefully remove the baseboard from your home or building (wall base for office) and drill large quarter-size holes on the unpainted areas, allowing air movement and alleviate vapor pressure
  • Remove any moisture-sensitive items (computers, expensive furniture, artwork, etc.) to areas not affected by the water damage.

What is “air drying”?

Air drying is one of the many tools available to a professional water damage restoration company. Sophisticated turbo air dryers push moisture off the water damaged material (carpet, furniture, walls, etc.) and into the air where the commercial dehumidifier catches it and remove it from the room.

Will my insurance company pay for my water damage claim?

We work with all insurance companies and “yes” our services are covered. As an Orange County homeowner or business owner you have the right to use whomever you feel comfortable with to handle you water damage or other disaster claim.  In many instances your insurance adjuster may push to have you use their own contractor and even make it seam like the choice is not yours.  Some of the larger carriers have national discounted contracts which unfortunately can come with a discount on the quality of service provided.  Some restoration companies aggressively over-bill for services.  Our team immediately communicates with your adjuster letting them know they can count on us for a fully documented file and standardized Xactimate 3rd party pricing.  Most of the time we export our estimate and save them from the hassle and time of having to recreate it.

How much do you charge for water damage restoration services?

There are many factors that affect water damage costs.  In California the average water damage and repair claim is approximately $3,500.00, including repairs.  Milestone does many jobs jobs that cost a few hundred dollars and several jobs a year the exceed $100,000.00.  If you have questions Please call us directly at (855) 624-7665 and any one of our friendly staff members will assist you.  The bottom line is we strive to get the job done quickly and in the most cost effective manner possible.  What “goes around comes around” and if we can save you time or money we know you will refer us the next time a friend or family has a need.

Mold Damage:

What is mold remediation? 

Mold remediation is the removal and/or cleanup of mold from an indoor environment, such as a home or a business. Mold flourishes in the right environment of moisture, food source, and temperatures. If a property has serious mold damage, it is best to hire mold remediation professionals, as specialized equipment and methods may be required to remove the mold safely and completely. Call us at (855) 624-7665 with your specific situation, and we’ll gladly answer all of your questions.

What makes mold grow?

Mold enters your home as tiny spores. The spores need moisture to begin growing. Molds can grow on almost any surface, including:

  • Wood
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Wallpaper
  • Paints
  • Carpet
  • Sheet rock
  • Insulation

The mold grows best when there is a great deal of moisture, high humidity, or after a flood. There is no way to get rid of all molds and mold spores from your home, but you can control mold growth by keeping your home dry, well ventilated, and relative humidity around 50%.

How does mold grow?

Mold requires nutrients, water, oxygen, and favorable temperatures to grow. Nutrients for mold are present in dead organic material such as wood, paper, or fabrics. Mold can also derive nutrients from some synthetic products such as paints and adhesives. Mold requires moisture, although some mold species can obtain that moisture from moist air when the relative humidity is above 70 percent.

Many molds thrive at normal indoor temperatures; few, if any, molds are able to grow below 40°F or above 100°F. Outside this range do not die; they simply lie dormant until temperatures rise. Temperatures well above 100°F will likely kill mold and mold spores, but the exact temperature required to kill specific species is not known.

How long does the mold removal process take?

The mold remediation process depends on many factors such as how much mold is present, where the mold is growing (behind walls, etc.), and the materials it grows on. Most mold remediation takes anywhere from one to five days. Every situation is different, so please call us at (855) 624-7665 to discuss your specific problem.

How do I know when professional mold removal is complete?

Third party testing is usually the best way to test for complete mold removal verification. We always recommend pre- and post-testing to ensure accurate results.

Do I need to hire a mold remediation/removal expert to remove mold, or can I do it myself?

You must understand that when you disturb mold (clean it, cut it out, etc.), you distribute the mold spores through out the house, creating new mold issues. The only way to correctly remove mold is to build a containment using negative pressure and the correct personal protective equipment. You will also need to follow the IICRC S-520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation, and hire an industrial hygienist to make sure that the mold is removed.

To prevent future mold growth, you will also need to repair the source of the mold growth, which is unwanted moisture, and take steps to ensure the area stays dry in the future.

Milestone Building Group is certified in mold removal and remediation by the IICRC.

Fire Damage:

Are all fire damages alike?

Absolutely not. Each home and business contain different materials that burn and create their own cleaning and restoration challenges. Here are the four main categories of fire damage and smoke damage cleaning sources:

  1. Natural substance smoke residue – Natural items that burn include paper, wood, and other items containing those substances. The color of these residues are usually black and gray. These smoke residues can be cleaned using a vacuum and dry sponge. Yet many smoke particles can be the size of .004 microns and are small enough to go anywhere in the dwelling – even inside wall cavities – and each particle causes a smoke odor. Failure to remove these particles can lead to unresolved odor issues. There are solutions to the smoke particle residue removal, such as ozone and other processes, which professional fire damage restoration cleaning companies can implement.
  2. Protein substance smoke residue – Chicken, beef and other proteins, when burned, make a very large, greasy mess. Cleaning these residues takes training and understanding of protein burn cleaning.
  3. Synthetic substance smoke residue – To put it simply, any type of plastic or derivative of plastic when burned becomes very slick to the touch. Again cleaning these types of fire damage residues are complicated and requires specialized training in order to do it properly.
  4. Oil burner malfunction residue – Otherwise known as a “puff -back,” this residue is caused simply by an oil burner misfiring and then shooting burned-oil residue through the heating system, then distributing the residue through the house.

How can we safely inspect our house after fire damage?

While you may have an amazing amount of technical and practical experience, by law only a licensed inspector (structural engineer, industrial hygienist, etc.) may determine the safety of any dwelling.

We had severe fire damage in our home, and the fire department used a lot of water to put the fire out. What should we do now?

Water damage is often a byproduct of fire damage. It’s always best to hire a professional restoration company certified with the IICRC who has at least five years of proven experience in the field. But while you are waiting for help to arrive, here are some tips to get started:

  1. Remove as much smoke from the home as possible by using carpet or fire fans from your local supplier
  2. Extract as much water as possible from everywhere possible.
  3. Remove wet carpet over wooden floors to prevent wood floors from buckling.
  4. Apply Vaseline on all metal objects to prevent corrosion.
  5. Don’t start cleaning walls unless you have been given correct instructions on how to. Doing it incorrectly will create more damage.
  6. Get scraps of hardwood and put them under all objects on the floor. This will help prevent some mold growth and permanent staining.
  7. Find commercial dehumidifiers and place at least one every room in the house. This will help start removing moisture from the home and prevent mold growth. You will need additional equipment, but at least this is a start.
  8. Don’t throw away anything. The insurance company has experts that can determine the most burnt items and pay you the value. Even items that look destroyed have some monetary value.

The Fire Department recommended that we board up our home/business. Is that something that you can do?

Yes! Milestone Building Group has a trained team that will make sure your Orange County home or business is secure. An eager handyman might insist that they can do it, but if done improperly, your home won’t be secure against further damage from the elements or vandalism. Crazy as it may sound, besides the risk of theft, you are legally responsible for injuries that a thief may sustain while in your home.

The correct equipment should include a 3/8″ plywood with two-by-fours bolted over windows from inside the property. The front door, if needed, should have a secure lock with keys held by only you and your restoration contractor.
Call us at (855) 624-7665 to assist you in securing your property after a fire.

Do we have to throw out all of our food after a fire?

The fire’s heat will expand and contract your food cans, boxes, bags, etc., letting in smoke that will make your food items inedible. Remember that this smoke contains harmful carcinogens that will make you sick—or worse. Wait until your insurance adjuster reviews the products, and then throw them out.
If you can’t wait for your adjuster, make a video of the products carefully before throwing them away.

We have fire coverage in our property and homeowner’s insurance. How does Milestone Building Group help with our insurance claim?

When you call us, we will inspect the damage at no charge, and give your insurance provider a true estimate on the cost of repairs. We will communicate with you throughout the restoration process. If it is under the deductible we can bypass the stigma created by a loss and take care of the insured directly without filing a claim.

If this makes sense to you, why not call us the next time you’ve been unfortunate enough to have property damage.  We’re available 24 hours a day for any kind of loss, including fire, flood, smoke, vehicle impact, and vandalism.  All you have to do is call us at (855) 624-7665.

How can we estimate the extent of the fire damage for insurance purposes?

If you are having the insurance company pay for your damages, you’ll need special software to create an estimate to their specifications. Many homeowners and building owners hire their favorite contractor or home improvement company and can often find themselves in a battle with their insurance adjuster or end up without adequate compensation for their repairs.

Milestone Building Group has the experience and reputation to work alongside insurance adjusters to ensure you get proper compensation. Contact us today with your fire damage restoration project.

Proudly serving Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Tustin, and all of Orange County.