8 things that you should do to repair and restore flood damage
When water floods a home, it can do a lot of damage in a very short amount of time. Therefore, you want to make sure that you are following the appropriate steps to get your home back to normal after water damage, without cutting corners that could cause injury or lead to the same issues recurring over and over. Putting a bandaid on the issue would simply bring you back to square one soon afterwards with less money than you had to begin with.
Below are seven clear steps that you should take in order to ensure the safe and effective recovery of your belongings in the aftermath of home flooding.
FLOOD DAMAGE REMEDIATION
TO DO LIST
1. ASSESS THE SAFETY OF THE SITUATION
The safety of you and your family members is the number one priority, so the first thing you should do is make sure everyone is out of harm’s way. If the water is flooded around appliances or the water level has risen above outlets, then electricity could be running through the standing water. This is an extremely dangerous scenario. If this is the case for you, do not touch the water, evacuate the building, and call professionals to come in and help.
If you can safely access your home’s electric panel, then go to it and cut the power to your home to stop the flow of electricity.
2. FIND THE CAUSE OF THE FLOODING
Once the area is safe, the next thing you need to do is to locate the source of the flooding. From small water infiltration to mass amounts of flooding, the sources of home flood damage can be far ranging.
Here are some potential causes of water pooling in your home:
3. CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
The next thing to do is to call your homeowner’s insurance agent. Depending on the cause of the water damage and your particular coverage plan, your insurance may cover some or all of the flood damage remediation.
If the damage is due to natural disaster flooding, typically homeowner’s insurance does not cover that and you will need to have additional flooding insurance for that coverage.
4. REMOVE EXCESS WATER
Removing water fast is extremely important. The longer water is left to sit, the more damage it can do. If there is a lot of water pooled in your basement or around your home, then it is best to call a water damage restoration company as they have the right equipment to remove water quickly and effectively.
As for do-it-yourself water removal methods, you can grab a bucket and start removing water that way or activate your sump pump to get the water out.
5. GET WET BELONGINGS AND DAMAGED MATERIALS OUT OF THERE
Next, get your water-logged belongings out and into a well ventilated area, preferably outside if weather allows. The most vulnerable items are porous materials, such as any upholstery, wood, fabric, paper, leather, etc. Get these materials out so they can begin drying out as soon as possible.
Upholstered items and items made of fabric such as clothing and rugs
These could potentially survive if you bring them outside to air out quickly. Throw what you can in the washing machine and scrub what you can with soap to help prevent mold growth.
Some wood materials may need to be replaced, as they will likely be weakened by the water damage and could be susceptible to mold.
Drywall and paper goods
Anything made of paper will likely be damaged beyond repair. Any affected drywall panels will probably need to be completely replaced.
Plastic typically holds up well to water damage and can simply be dried out and wiped clean. Unless, of course, it is a plastic product with batteries or a power cord, then water mostly likely got inside and the item will need to be properly disposed of.
6. DRY OUT THE SPACE
This is the point when a water damage restoration team would bring in air movers, air scrubbers, and dehumidifiers to dry out the space as efficiently as possible. Professionals also often have access to wood drying machines, which can dry out wood at a deep level to help ensure there’s no room for mold growth.
If you aren’t hiring professionals or simply want to start the drying process before the team of pros gets there, bring all of your fans and dehumidifiers into the space and turn them on. If you are looking for a dehumidifier to have on hand for such an occasion, see our page on the best dehumidifiers.
7. CHECK FOR MOLD
Wet conditions + lack of ventilation = mold infestation. So naturally, after any materials have been soaked in water, there is a risk of mold growth. Mold can work its way deep into materials and eventually cause structural damage and pose health risks to individuals living nearby. Therefore, you want to remove mold as quickly as possible and help prevent it from ever recurring.
Mold remediation professionals will have the expertise in this area as mold growth is so closely tied to flood damage. Here’s a breakdown of what to do if you notice mold by material type.
Throw what you can into the washing machine. Use soap to scrub out the mold on the rest and let everything air out.
Scrub with soap and water.
Wood & Drywall
Air out these materials as best as you can, but if they are badly waterlogged, then they may be beyond repair.
This material also holds up well to mold and can be cleaned up with soap and water.
An important factor in keeping mold from growing again is preventing the conditions that led to mold growth in the first place. First and foremost, that means making sure water doesn’t come into your home again. This was addressed earlier in Step 2 when you located the source of the water, so this could look something like filling in foundation cracks or repairing broken pipes, for example.
8. REPLACE DAMAGED ITEMS
Depending on the severity of the water damage, materials such as wood framing, some furniture, and drywall may require a complete replacement. Wood framing could be weakened to the point of risking the structural integrity of your home. Additionally, once drywall gets wet, water travels up through the rest of the panel very quickly and changes the makeup of the entire sheet.
These are not issues you want to take lightly. If you have water damage restoration professionals in your home, have them take a look specifically at these areas and see what they recommend. They may be able to replace them for you as many of these companies often offer these services. Since they are already in your home, it may make economical sense to use them rather than having someone completely different come in, but get a couple of different bids to compare.
Flooding can be extremely damaging, both physically and emotionally, and it can take a real toll on a family. Taking the appropriate steps to handle your flood damage can help ensure that you solve the problem efficiently and effectively the first (and only) time.