A water disaster inside your home from a natural flood or from interior plumbing problems can cause damage to many surfaces and items in your home. But when water damage gets into your book collection, there are some steps you can take to save your books and much of the materials within the room. Here are some tips to help you repair and restore your water damaged books and shelving within your home library.
Save Your Books
Once you have removed the flood waters from the room, you will need to begin drying out your books as soon as possible to prevent mold and mildew damage. Be careful you don't open any water-saturated books or fan through the pages, as this will cause more damage. Resist the urge to open the book at all in an attempt to dry the pages; leave them closed flat.
Instead, place each book standing up on its end on a surface covered with an absorbent towel. As the water drips from the books via gravity, the towels will catch the drips. If any of your water-damaged books are leather bound or the coloring on the hardcover has begun to bleed onto the pages, place a paper towel between the front and back bindings and the interior pages while they stand on end to dry.
Place fans in the room to help dry out the books' surfaces but without the air blowing directly on them, as this can damage the paper. And place dehumidifiers in the room to reduce the air's moisture content and to prevent mold and mildew growth.
If you have any glossy-covered books, you may need to restore them with a freeze-drying process. You can talk to a professional water restoration company about this type of treatment to restore your more delicate books.
Dry Out Wood Surfaces
It is important to also dry out your wood bookcases to save them from water damage. Most solid wood can be dried out with the use of fans or moving them outside and placing them in the sun. Once they are dry, you can sand down any warped areas and re-stain them once they have been smoothed and corrected.
But if your bookcases are made of a compressed or another type of non-solid wood, you may likely need to discard them. This type of compressed wood absorbs great amounts of water and can lose its strength, become warped, and crumble apart even after it has dried.
Other water-damaged surfaces in the room need to be discarded if they cannot be properly dried out. This includes carpet padding, some types of carpeting, and drywall materials. If any mold growth is discovered during the removal of these damaged surfaces, be sure to bag them into a plastic trash bag to prevent the spores from spreading through the air.
For more information, contact your local water damage restoration company.