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A Commentary on Readiness and Recovery | The Classic Blog
Authored by Florida native Michael Huss, owner and operator of Tampa Bay’s Classic Restoration and Reconstruction. We’re here to help.

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Don’t Call Us
Here’s how not to meet Classic Restoration and Reconstruction.

Don’t get us wrong; we are here to help. But if you would prefer to not need our help in the first place (for some odd reason), we have some suggestions for avoiding water and fire damage at your Tampa Bay / Pinellas County home or business. Some of these suggestions may seem to be simple common sense and a bit obvious, but you may be surprised to know how many people forget the ounce of prevention and end up paying the pound of cure. So if you don’t want to call us, give the below a read and avoid the scourge of fire, smoke, water and mold damage.

Where There is No Fire There is No Smoke | The Classic Blog

Keep your smoke alarms in good working order. Even better, have a monitored smoke alarm installed in your home or business. That might even qualify you for a discount on your insurance.

Don’t overdo add-ons to your electrical outlets. And if you do use ‘power strips’, be mindful of the load you are placing on it. Spend a few more dollars for a good quality power strip with a fuse and surge protector to avoid overloading and fire damage.

If your home still uses a fuse box, don’t overload the capacity. Meaning, don’t put a higher capacity fuse in to replace a lower capacity. It might even be time to upgrade to a safer system and do a wiring check, while you are at it.

Don’t ever dig on your property without being aware of the location of below-ground gas or electrical lines. Otherwise, you may be at risk and you are libel if you damage a gas or electrical line. The Classic Blog. The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog

Do not use an uncovered light bulb in a closet. A 100-watt bulb can radiate 150° of heat. That’s a fire hazard.

Keep gas-powered equipment, like lawn mowers, in a well ventilated space away from any source of heat, sparks or fire.

Never allow anything even remotely combustible near a fireplace, especially a wood-burning fireplace. Have your chimney inspected before the cool season arrives and the fireplace goes in regular use.

That’s it. So don’t call us (at 727-400-4729).

More on the Monster | The Classic Blog
Return of the beast.

Well, more like ‘Return to the Beast’. If you spend any time on this website, you will see we go on and on about mold. There’s a reason for that: Mold is bad (bad) news. More than once we use the term insidious when writing about mold. That’s because it is, big time. It hides, it stinks, it destroys and it can harm the health of humans and pets. In short, you may never know it’s there as your premises and the health of your family or your employers deteriorates.

We can fix it. Our expert licensed technicians employing our technology, like thermal imaging, will find The Monster Mold and they will kill it. All of it.

Want to learn how bad it can get and what can be done about it? The facts below were partially sourced from the EPA.

Mold: The Health Threat

Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.

Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on. You can prevent damage to your home and furnishings, save money, and avoid potential health problems by controlling moisture and eliminating mold growth

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

Getting Rid of Mold | The Classic Blog

Who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you may be able to handle the job yourself.

In any case, ACT QUICKLY. Mold damages what it grows on. The longer it grows the more damage it can cause.

If you choose to hire a contractor to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA’s Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations.

Mitigating Mold | The Classic Blog

If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), do not run the HVAC system. It could spread mold throughout your home or business.

If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.

Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so the mold may be difficult or impossible to remove completely. Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the surfaces before painting. Paint applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel.

If you are unsure about how to clean an item, or if the item is expensive or of sentimental value, you may wish to consult a specialist. Specialists in furniture repair, restoration, painting, art restoration and conservation, carpet and rug cleaning, water damage, and fire or water restoration are commonly listed in phone books. Be sure to ask for and check references. Look for specialists who are affiliated with professional organizations.

That’s us, Classic Restoration and Reconstruction | The Classic Blog

For more about licensing, certification and our water removal and water damage restoration qualifications in Tampa Bay and Florida, learn about us.

Bad Damage 101: Stressful? Yep. Impossible? Not even close.
A few basics for coping during the days after.

If your home or business has been substantially damaged by fire or flooding, the first thing you need to do is get out. Fire, flood and even lesser water damage, like from blown pipes, can deliver physical damage to humans and pets even after the flames are extinguished and the waters have receded. A variety of invisible toxins may be present and growing within ventilation systems, behind walls, above ceilings and below floors.

Expert and technically advanced inspection and detection of toxins, like in lingering soot, water damage and mold, may include use of air sampling, water testing and thermal imaging systems. Practiced and implemented by a professional fire, water damage and mold remediation repair expert, these tools will let you know when it is safe to return.

Until it is safe to return, book a hotel or stay with friends or family. And keep your receipts. You may not have to wait long to put that paperwork to use. Check with your insurance company immediately. Chances are good they may provide an advance on your valid fire or water damage claim, enabling you to avoid coming out-of-pocket for everything from toiletries to meals and hotel rooms.  The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog

But remember, while you are away from your fire or water damaged home, you remain responsible for mitigating damages. That means you should contract with a reliable, qualified restoration contractor to secure your premises and personal property. If walls, windows and doors are damaged and easily traversed, all need to be boarded up and locked up. If you don’t get your home or business secured, your insurance company may deny claims for theft or vandalism which occur after the fire or flood. The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog

Get the insurance claims process underway ASAP. And remember, you don’t have to go it alone. A reputable and expert fire and water damage repair contractor should also be expert in dealing with insurance companies. Here at Classic Restoration and Reconstruction, dealing with insurance companies and the insurance claims process is something of a specialty of ours. We know how to work the ropes so you don’t have to jump through the hoops. The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog

Know your coverage. Both you and your water and fire damage repair contractor will need to know if your policy covers the repair or the total rebuilding of your home or business premises. You will need to acquaint yourself with terms and conditions including phrases like “actual cash value” and “replacement cost”. There will be limits and if your home was in need of repair before, for instance, the coverage may be limited to returning the premises to that prior condition. In other words, to get the job done as well as possible, you may have to stretch your claim dollars further than you may prefer.

In any case, your best bet is to hire an expert and honest fire and water damage repair contractor. Not only can that contractor work with you to get the best return on your coverage dollars, a truly professional contractor can actually expedite the claims process.

Of course, don’t rely on the insurance adjuster’s estimate. Even the most well-intentioned can short you in favor of their real client, the insurance company. Have your contractor do their own estimate of repairs. Fire and water damage repair can be complex with many hidden areas of damage. The job needs to be done right – 100 percent right – the first time. The Classic Blog

Don’t rush to settlement. For the home or business owner who suffers substantial damage by fire, water or mold, getting their life back on track can be a stressful business. Some insurance companies, through their adjusters, have been known to pressure their harried clients to settle quickly. Don’t do it. Take the time and work with a professional fire and water damage contractor to find all areas of structural damage. Many of these areas will be hidden. It takes a pro to find and fix them all.

Here are a couple of useful links: United Policyholders offers guidelines for dealing with insurance companies: The Insurance Information Institute provides consumers with advice on how to file a claim:

Or just call us, Classic Restoration and Reconstruction. We’re here to help. The Classic Blog

Overcoming Fire Damage
It looks worse than it is — really.

If you are the victim of a fire; if you incurred loss by fire and, as is often the case, also water damage at your home or business, here are some important things to do and not do:

DO NOT enter the premises until the fire department or a qualified fire and water damage repair contractor advises you it is safe to do so. This is especially important to remember soon after the fire. It may look like it is extinguished, but maybe not. The fire could reignite or areas of residual gas buildup, like within damaged pipes, could ignite or even explode.

DO NOT wear any piece of clothing damaged by fire, smoke, water leaks or flooding.

DO NOT eat or drink any consumable which was even near the fire, resulting soot or water damage.

DO be especially careful of roofing, ceilings and floors. Due to fire and water damage, weakened structures may collapse.

DO see that ALL utility lines are shutdown. A professional emergency fire and water damage contractor, if the fire department has not already done so, will disconnect all utility lines, like gas, water and electric, to eliminate risk of injury.

DO contact a qualified and licenses fire and water damage restoration and repair contractor, like Classic Restoration and Reconstruction. Here is just some of what a qualified Florida-based building contractor should do. That is:

DO be especially careful of roofing, ceilings and floors. Due to fire and water damage, weakened structures may collapse.

DO see that ALL utility lines are shutdown. A professional emergency fire and water damage contractor, if the fire department has not already done so, will disconnect all utility lines, like gas, water and electric, to eliminate risk of injury.

DO contact a qualified and licenses fire and water damage restoration and repair contractor, like Classic Restoration and Reconstruction. Here is just some of what a qualified Florida-based building contractor should do. That is:

  • Secure your home against more fire and water damage;
  • Estimate cost of repair of fire and water damage;
  • Estimate the cost to repair or renew water and fire damaged items of personal property;
  • Store non-damaged household items;
  • Effect total cleaning and total repair;
  • Store repaired items until needed.

What we can’t do but what you can and should do:

  • Contact your landlord or mortgage lender as soon as possible.
  • Contact your credit card company to report credit cards lost in the fire and request replacements.
  • Save all receipts for any money you spend. These receipts are important in showing the insurance company what money you have spent concerning your fire or water damage loss. This will enable you to evidence expenses incurred to replace fire and water damaged items. This may prove useful come tax time.
  • Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to fire and water damage loss. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and to prove any losses claimed on your income tax.
  • Check with an accountant or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about special benefits for people recovering from and repairing fire and water damage loss.

More tips from FEMA

For more about licensing, certification and our water removal and water damage restoration qualifications in Tampa Bay and Florida, learn about us.

Flood Insurance | The Classic Blog
Got it?

Here’s the first thing you need to know about your flood insurance: You may not have any.

Right, we know, you have a comprehensive homeowner insurance policy and you live in Tampa Bay, Florida, so you must have flood insurance as part of that policy, right? Nope, probably not. Not unless you specifically contracted for an addenda policy covering the cleanup, repair and restoration of water damage incurred as a result of flooding.

If not, if you do not have an adequate flood insurance policy in place and your home floods, in the State of Florida and the Tampa Bay Area your insurance claim will never become an insurance claim. Thus, you will be financially responsible for evacuating the water, cleaning up, replacing water damaged walls, ceilings, drywall, flooring, carpets, furniture… And then there is the mold…

So what types of water damage does your homeowner insurance policy cover? In general, you should be okay if, say, a severe storm shatters a window or blows the tiles off your roof. But if the insurance company decides you were negligent in the upkeep of your home, like they say you failed to repair bad and deteriorating plumbing, you might be in for a battle.

In any case, if you live near the water, like on or near a floodplain, along the inland waterways or close to the Gulf, and if there is the slightest chance you may incur flooding due to, for instance, a tidal surge or overrun seawalls or river banks, make sure you have adequate flood insurance in place.

And here is a not very fun fact: According to FEMA, of all federal assistance rendered to households afflicted by flooding, 30 percent are not located in what FEMA designates as being of high risk of flooding. So your best bet is to cover yourself in advance. It may not cost as much as you think.

The good news from the Feds is that about 20,000 US communities can take advantage of the National Flood Insurance Program. Even better news, premiums start at about $130 a year (right, that’s a year). Do you live in a community qualifying for a policy issued by the National Flood Insurance Program? We think so, if you reside in the greater Tampa Bay Area or most other Florida cities. To be certain, you can check with FEMA.

Look for your city or town on the FEMA list. FEMA also provides a set of handy online tools to rate your risk, estimate water damage repair cost in advance and find an agent able to sign you up with the National Flood Assistance Program. To learn more, click here.

Once you have insurance in place, rest easy. Yes, the flooding of your home will not be pretty or pleasant, but at least you know it will be paid. Then you just need to call a qualified, certified and professional water damage repair and restoration contractor. That’s where we come in.

If we can provide more information, feel free to call or email Classic Restoration and Reconstruction. We’re here to help.

Flood Mitigation in Tampa Bay
What we do, what you should do.

Short of a fire or a tornado partially or completely destroying your Tampa Bay Area house or commercial space, few events impacting your home or business are as seemingly disastrous and genuinely distressing as flooding.  Even ankle-deep waters pooling on your flooring and carpets and seeping into your walls, ceilings and drywall can be overwhelming and mentally incapacitating.

But here is the first thing you should do: Don’t panic. Second thing, call a qualified, Florida-certified water damage repair and water damage restoration contractor, like Tampa Bay’s Classic Restoration and Reconstruction. A-Z – from the floors to the ceiling and the furniture between – we’ll take over and bring your home, house or business space and your life back to normal fully and rapidly.

To head off ongoing and increasing damage, the first thing we’ll do is rid your Tampa Bay residential or commercial premises of water – and we’ll do it fast. The tools we’ll apply will include the latest in water removal and water evacuation and drying equipment. In the case of substantial flooding, this will likely include dehumidifiers, fans, wood floor drying units, wall cavity drying units, HEPA air cleaning units and more. Operating that equipment will be professional, certified water removal and water damage restoration repair technicians and contractors. [For more about our licensing and certification in Florida, learn about us.]

Once the flooding is ceased and the water fully evacuated, we begin the deep-structure drying and sanitation process. If you rely on an unqualified and careless contractor – if these steps are not performed properly, 100 percent properly – moisture may remain and mold, mildew, fungi and bacteria may spread unseen within the walls, below floors and above ceilings. Not only can this lead to more expense and hassle months or even years later, ongoing exposure to toxic airborne microbes could threaten the health of your family, pets or employees – especially in the hot and humid Tampa Bay Area. (Adding to the deferred negative impact and levels of stress, most likely your Florida insurance company will not cover future repairs.)

What methods and services should a qualified contractor employ to restore and protect your home and family? He is some of what we do:

  • Water extraction;
  • Pump outs;
  • Structural drying;
  • Dehumidification;
  • Mold elimination;
  • Sewage spill recovery and sanitation;
  • Offsite furniture cleaning and sanitation;
  • Drying storage facility rental;
  • General preemptive water damage consultation.

That’s we do.  In the meantime, what should you do? Below are some dos and do nots.

What you should do:

  • If the water is sourcing from your household, like a blown or leaning pipe, make sure the water source is fully turned off. This will help contain the damage.
  • Turn off the breaker in the damaged area before you unplug or remove any electrical devices located on the wet carpet.
  • Place aluminum foil under the legs of any furniture which is in contact with wet carpet. This might help prevent furniture stains on your carpet.
  • Lift draperies away from wet carpet.
  • Pin up upholstered furniture skirts which may get wet.
  • Remove books, shoes, paper goods, fabrics, potted plants, and other items which may stain wet carpet.

What you should not do:

  • Do not use your home vacuum, since electrical shock may result, as well as certain damage to the equipment itself.
  • Do not place newspaper in traffic areas to walk on, since newspaper ink transfers easily to the wet carpet fibers and may result in permanent staining.
  • Do not walk on carpet any more than necessary. This will keep the damage from spreading to unaffected areas.

After doing (and not doing) the above, leave it up to us. And try to relax. We’ll get your home and life back to normal sooner than you think. (We can also help facilitate and expedite the insurance claim process. More on that next blog.)

For more about licensing, certification and our water removal and water damage restoration qualifications in Tampa Bay and Florida, learn about us.

The Monster Mold
Seek it out and destroy it.

Mold, or as we have come to call it, ‘The Monster’, can begin its insidious invasion of your home or business starting with any number of water damage-related causes. Flood, leaking or blown pipes, deficient or degraded weather proofing, defective roofing, insufficient repair of prior water damage by an unqualified building contractor, or one of myriad other sources of water intrusion and damage. Whatever the cause, mold is indeed a monster. Not only can it degrade the structural and cosmetic condition of your home, house or commercial space, it can also threaten your health.  The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog, The Classic Blog

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report, Mold Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects in the Aftermath of Hurricanes and Major Floods, “Excessive exposure to mold-contaminated materials can cause adverse health effects in susceptible persons regardless of the type of mold or the extent of contamination.” In other words, even low levels of ongoing and sustained exposure to invisible airborne mold spores can result heath threats to humans and pets. This can include mysterious allergic reactions, mycotoxin poisoning and fungal infection (mycosis). To learn more about mold and it potential health impact, see Wikipedia and the CDC report.

Mold, of course, grows in conditions of sustained moisture, darkness and decay. Often the monster, mold, will hide behind walls, deep within cabinets and above ceilings. Hidden, yes, but its invisible tentacles of airborne microbes (and often rancid odors) will find their way into the breathing areas of your living or business space, sometimes invading via ventilation systems.

So how do you see what can’t be seen? Thermal imaging. Classic Restoration and Reconstruction employs the latest thermal imaging technology. We’ll scan the entire structure of your home, house or business to seek it out. We’ll detect its every hiding place. Then we’ll attack it with specialized weapons: The ultimate in cleaners, sterilization agents, compounds and drying equipment. We will repair the source of the water damage or leak and we will kill the monster.

A special note: Parents of newborns should be especially certain that their child’s environment is 100% free of airborne particles of mold and fungi.

We can help. Classic Restoration and Reconstruction is Tampa Bay’s reliable source for water and mold damage repair, and thermal imaging. Feel free to contact us.

Insurance and Water Damage in Tampa Bay
Be ready and get it right the first time.

Coverage of flooding and water damage under most homeowner and business insurance policies can be a problematic scenario – unless you are aware of the ins-and-outs and mitigate in advance. That’s a fancy way of saying: Make sure you ARE covered and if you take damage contract with an expert to fix the problemcompletely.

The insidious creep of mold – lingering, ongoing and often invisible damage (at first) – is a particularly insidious water-based household plague. If you live or have your business space in an area prone to heavy rains and potential flooding, you need to be aware, you need to be prepared and you need to hire a reputable, professional and specialized contractor for repairs and renovations.

First, make sure you have adequate flood insurance. This is, almost always, a separate addenda policy, added on to your primary homeowner or business policy. You may not be insured for water damage unless you have in effect an insurance policy specifically covering flood and water damage repairs.

Then, if you are later unfortunate enough to actually be the victim of a flood and water damage, make sure you totally (100%) remedy the damage. If, for instance, the occurrence of mold is missed and it grows again to become not only a cosmetic and structural issue, but also a health issue, a future claim may be denied on the basis that you were responsible for repairs under the first claim. Safe to say, the fact that your contractor may have  been negligent and at fault will not sway most insurance companies for a second-go-round.

Put simply: If your contractor does not do the job and do it right the first time, you may be paying out-of-pocket when the mold again saturates the drywall, rots the wood and again makes itself an unwelcome and toxic guest in your home or business.

We can help. Classic Restoration and Reconstruction is Tampa Bay’s reliable source for preemptive damage mitigation consultation and water damage repair. Feel free to contact us.

Water Damage Repair and Restoration
No shortcuts allowed.

It seems like it should easy. Mop up the mess, replace some flooring and drywall, apply paint, all done. Right? Wrong. Water damage not 100 percent cleaned and repaired and the resulting insidious spread of mold and mildew will not only eat away at the structure of your home or commercial business space, it can also lead to serious respiratory health problems – not to mention some really bad smells.

The repair and restoration of water damage, often invisible water damage, must be done right – 100 percent done right. 

If your home or business was impacted by water damage, due to flood or burst pipes, for instance, don’t delay repairs or cut corners relying on less than expert contractors.  Left for too long or not repaired properly, toxic moisture can seep further into walls, floors and furniture. That inevitably leads to rot, decay, mold and potentially unhealthy airborne sanitary conditions.

Water damage, if not cleaned and repaired in total, may not only result in dangerous levels of mold, structural safety, too, may be compromised. The longer you wait the worse the damage will be. And that means more expense and more time to get your home, business and life back to normal.

We can help. Classic Restoration & Reconstruction is equipped with the latest technology, including indiustrial fans, dehumidifiers, air movers, air scrubbers, wood floor drying units, wall cavity drying units, HEPA air cleaners and TES drying systems.We will expertly dry out and protect your property and furnishings. Our services include:

  • Water extraction;
  • Pump outs;
  • Structural drying;
  • Dehumidification;
  • Mold elimination;
  • Sewage spill recovery and sanitation;
  • Offsite furniture cleaning and sanitation;
  • Drying storage facility rental;
  • General preemptive water damage consultation.

We can also help facilitate and expedite the insurance claim process.


Classic Restoration and Reconstruction, a building, construction and bio-hazard removal contractor fully licensed, insured and bonded within the state of Florida, primarily services the Pinellas County cities of Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, New Port Richey, Clearwater, Port Richey, Holiday, Odessa, Oldsmar, Hudson, Bay Pines, Belleair Beach, Belleair Bluffs, Belleair Shore, East Lake,  Gulfport, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Kenneth City, Largo, Safety Harbor, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg Beach, Tierra Verde, Treasure Island, West and East Lealman and other Pinellas communities.

If you would like to know more about Classic Restoration and Reconstruction and its owner, Michael Huss, feel free to call. We’re here to help.

The Classic Blog

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