Heavy rainfall becoming a regular occurrence throughout the Midwest, it’s important to have a flood and water plan for your home. Water can do massive damage to your house and cleaning up after flooding is a serious affair. When floods hit, many things need to happen fast – and some things will need to take some time.
First, Call Your Insurer
Calling your insurance is your first move when your house takes on water if you have flooding insurance they will dispatch a damage assessor to your house. You can still begin cleaning while you wait for an insurance assessment, document the damage to your property and home with a digital camera or phone. You can move damaged belongings out of your home but hold off on discarding them until the assessment has happened.
Make Sure Your House Is Safe Before You Enter
After a flood, you will certainly be anxious to get back in your home and begin the process of repairing it. Before you begin though, you need to make sure your home is a safe place to enter. The gas and electricity to your home should be turned off. Water can cause unpredictable and deadly damage to both of these home systems, so don’t enter your home if either one is still turned on.
You’ll also need to be careful for the structural damage flooding incurs. Walls and beams that have taken on water can soften and collapse unexpectedly. If you are uncertain about whether your house is structurally sound after a flood, it is better to be safe than sorry and wait for a building assessment.
Let the Cleaning Commence
You will never clean your house deeper than after it has been flooded. Wear protective gloves and a respirator while cleaning and use caution every step of the way. Get furniture and belongings out of the house so they can start drying. You’ll need to open up any walls that were exposed to water. This serves the dual purpose of letting the structure breathe and dry as well as being able to better assess any structural damages.
Any carpeting and carpet pads will need to be removed entirely. To some extent, carpet can sometimes be recovered after a flood, but it will need to be thoroughly dried and cleaned before it is reinstalled.
…And Keep Cleaning
Remember this: flood water is nasty stuff and it leaves its mark on everything it touches. It can carry sewage, chemicals, and biowaste. Surfaces that aren’t porous, mostly glass, metal, and ceramic items, can be salvaged if they are thoroughly cleaned. Porous surfaces such as fabric, plastic, paper, and wood can harbor the mold, rot and bacteria that floodwater bring. If furniture with upholstery or other porous materials has taken on floodwater, but you want to keep the item, it will need to be restored before it comes back inside your home.
Trying to save porous belongings that have been exposed to flood water is a bad idea and can make you physically sick. Electrical appliances that have been submerged are no longer safe to use. If you are going to keep canned food you will need to remove the label and clean the exterior of the can completely with a diluted bleach solution. Relabel the can with masking tape after the can has been cleaned and dried.
Flooding can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Although the immediate impulse is to rebuild as fast as possible, your home will need to dry thoroughly before any walls are sealed back up or carpeting is installed. It is a good idea to have the structure of your home assessed after a flood and to be aware of the signs of mold and rot.
Wait to seal your walls and redo your flooring until your house is completely dry. Work with a knowledgeable contractor, like our team at Timberland Builders. We’re happy to help you bring your home back to life. Repairing flood damage is a combination of replacing damaged elements and allowing salvageable construction to completely dry before resealing walls. We can help you make a smart plan of repair that keeps your home structurally sound into the future.
Getting past a flood is a big deal, and no one should have to deal with the amount of loss flooding creates. Timberland Builders can help you land on your feet. If you’re facing water damage give us a call to find out more about how we can help.