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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Does Seawater Make Flood Damage Worse?

4/14/2020 (Permalink)

"Need help?" SERVPRO Leaves Your Flood Damaged Home in North Kingston Only When It Is Dry and Ready for a Build Back.

SERVPRO Provides Expert Flood Recovery When Saltwater Damages North Kingston Homes

Weather patterns and rising sea levels contribute to a problem unique to coastal areas. Flash flooding during storms is complicated by significant amounts of saltwater entering and overwhelming residential properties. 

How Can Seawater Flood Your Home? 

Flood damage in North Kingston can include significant seawater involvement. Duck and Bissel Coves bring saltwater far inside the borders of our oceanside town. Rain and wind storms produce strong surges of ocean water, while king tides cause flooding of shoreland. 

Why Does Saltwater Flooding Do More Damage?

Rainwater is already destructive, reacting with materials to break them down ruined for future use. Flooding already necessitates rapid extraction and drying to halt progressive destruction and secondary issues like mold. High levels of salt in seawater lead to:

  • The water becoming more conductive of heat and electrical charges, increasing the risk of electrocution
  • Swifter corrosion and rusting of metals
  • The accelerated weakening of building materials
  • Erosion around foundations makes soil less stable as its chemical composition changes, breaking down common foundation materials over time
  • Faster mold growth because of organic substances

Why Does Saltwater Damage Recovery Differ from Normal Flood Restoration?

Merely removing water and drying out the structure of your home does not account for the deposits of salt that can remain throughout your home. Systems and materials damaged by the salt include:

HVAC ducting

The metal can corrode and distort, and fasteners loosen.


Copper and aluminum can corrode, risking shorts that can damage electronics and cause fires.


Metal pipes can rust, increasing the chance for leaks and water damage.

Wood and wood products

Delignification can occur when saltwater soaks into wood, pulling out the “lignin,” an organic substance that makes cell walls rigid. Severe weakening of structures follows.

How Do We Reduce the Salt?

SERVPRO uses fresh water to wash away the salt. Freshwater flushes through the affected space, and we pump and extract the steadily desalinating fluids. Throughout the process, we monitor salt levels until nearly normal readings occur.

SERVPRO of Newport & Bristol Counties stands ready to handle complex seawater flooding scenarios. Call (401) 847-8145 to discuss the protocols and your options.

Learn more about North Kingston.

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