Yes, your wet blueprints may be salvageable, but time is not on your side. Because the drawings are often on large sheets of fragile paper, they require special care during the document restoration process. By outlining the steps to take when blueprints get wet in the company’s disaster preparation plans, employees will know how to mitigate additional damage and prepare the drawings for the salvaging process.
Blueprint Document Restoration: What to Do before Experts Arrive
- Contact Polygon immediately. The sooner you call, the sooner a restoration team will arrive to your location. You will experience the best results if experts begin the restoration process within the first 48 hours.
- Do not separate single blueprint sheets. The paper used to create blueprints is so delicate that separating wet sheets puts them at risk of tears and further damage. Rather than separate the drawings, interleave two-inch stacks of blueprints with freezer paper. In addition, place a sheet of freezer paper at the bottom and top of each stack. Do not use acid-free buffered paper, such as archival tissue paper, because the alkaline solution will dissolve the blue pigment in the blueprints. If you don’t have freezer paper, you may use clean, heavy cardboard instead.
- Place the blueprints in drawers or boxes. Loosely place stacks of blueprints in dry map drawers that you removed from their cabinet. If you must stack the drawers to save space, place a couple of 1-by-2-inch lengths of wood between each drawer to promote air circulation. If you don’t have map drawers, you may use bread trays, polyethylene-covered plywood, flat boxes or window screens with wood frames.
- Take care with rolled blueprints. Like stacks of blueprints, rolled drawings that are wet are vulnerable to tears. Rather than lay them flat, you may bundle a small quantity of rolled blueprints loosely in a box. Alternatively, support rolled drawings in cardboard tubes, poster tubes or sections of PVC pipe.
- Freeze the blueprints. Freezing blueprints stabilizes the drawings. If you do not have access to a large freezer, place the drawings in a dry, well-ventilated room away from the disaster site. If you are able to control the temperature in a room, set the thermostat to the lowest temperature possible. Use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air and promote drying.
Polygon’s Blueprint Salvaging Process
When the document restoration experts from Polygon arrive on the scene, they will inventory the wet blueprints, carefully pack them and place them in a climate-controlled truck that maintains ideal holding conditions. Once the documents arrive at our secure drying facility, our team will place them in a vacuum-freeze drying chamber to dry them. This newer state-of-the-art, high-tech restoration tool reduces drying times by up to 30 percent and causes the least amount of dimensional distortion in documents. The process involves placing wet blueprints in a large airtight chamber. After freezing the wet documents, we reduce the pressure within the chamber, causing the frozen water in the documents to sublimate. When ice sublimates, it turns into water vapor without transitioning into a liquid state. The variable settings in the equipment allow our specialists to have complete control over the speed in which documents dry to avoid warping and unnecessary damage.
At Polygon, document restoration and drying is our specialty. We have the world’s largest fleet of drying and climate control equipment. Our emergency response teams are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so it’s never a bad time to call us about your document drying needs. Get in touch with a Polygon specialist today to learn more and request a complimentary consultation.
[Cameron Degeliavia CC License 2.0]