Document Restoration – Five frequently asked questions.

Document damage can happen at any time, and there are many causes, including flooding, leaks, weather events, or the aftermath of a fire. When disaster strikes, many believe damaged documents are irrecoverable and accept losing important, valuable, and sentimental books and papers. However, efforts can be made to recover them!

If a book is infested with mould, most people will throw it away. What many don’t know is that it can be saved and restored. Here are five frequently asked questions about document recovery and Polygon’s response.

1. “Our company has dozens of filing cabinets full of wet documents; should we start getting rid of them?”

Firstly, don’t move any wet files, documents, or other materials since you don’t yet know the full extent of the damage. Polygon has an extensive labelling system when retrieving documents from customers. They are categorised and placed into distinctly marked boxes, so we know what to prioritise, where to return them, and in what order. The boxes are tagged with as much detail as possible, so if a file or document is requested before work is complete, it can be retrieved quickly.

2. “I see mould on wet books. Can they still be saved?”

Yes, they can! Polygon can save many paper items such as books, files, and photographs from mould. Disinfecting and cleaning are essential steps in the recovery process, and the process itself is defined by the severity of the damage the items have sustained. There is a significant difference between a box of files stored in a humid basement for weeks after a flood and a box left in the rain overnight.

3. “We have sensitive information on these wet documents, and they can’t leave the building. Can you dry the documents here?”

It’s possible. There have been situations where Polygon staff and its equipment have been placed on-site at a customer’s premises. Our main drying chambers are located at our offices, but we have created small drying chambers that can achieve optimum conditions on-site. If the documents cannot be removed from site, Polygon can advise on your options.

4. “Should I start drying these wet papers and then let you finish?”

The short answer is no, let them be. Often, the best thing is to leave the documents as they are and allow Polygon to start the drying and cleaning process. Additional damage may occur if you try to move the documents or dry them on your own. If the papers are dried too fast, or the wrong method is used, they can be exposed to further damage.

5. “We have blueprints and other oversized papers. Are they too big to be dried in your drying equipment or facility?"

Not likely. To this day no book or document Polygon has dealt with has been too big, and the size of the drying rooms and chambers is often underestimated. Most chambers can change size to fit the object that needs to be dried, so size is not an issue.

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