Besides fire, floods are the most damaging natural disaster that can happen to a home. Floods are also much more common than fire. So how do you repair the damage after you’ve had one? It’s a long and painful process, but there are the basic steps you’ll need to do to remodel your home.
Get your insurance right
As soon as it is safe to do so, take photos of all flood damage and call your insurance adjuster. Follow their instructions for documenting damage and their recommended first steps. This will keep you in their good graces so you can get the maximum compensation. If your area is declared a disaster area, contact them again to see how this changes your coverage.
Get the water out
Priority one after this is getting the water out. The longer the water sits, the more expensive the damage will be. Use sump pumps and buckets to get rid of standing water, then use fans and your home’s HVAC system to move air through the home. You can also call a water damage service company, but if your area has been hit hard you may have difficulty getting one to you in time. The standing water must be out within 48 hours to lessen the prospects of unhealthy organisms.
If something in your home it’s not likely to get dry within 48 hours of water exposure, you need to get it out of your home. Yes, this includes carpeting and furniture.
Get tested for mold
Mold spores blossom with enough moisture and they can hide inside drywall, carpet, hollow core doors, and many other places you wouldn’t expect. You must get mold testing done before you do any repairs so you can treat it first. Otherwise, the mold will bloom mid-repair and affect your health and remodeling efforts. If mold is found, follow your mold inspector’s procedures for disinfection and do not proceed with remodeling. Notify your insurance company as well.
Take out anything water damaged
Now is the time to think about remodeling proper. Any parts of the floor and wall that got warped or stained from water must be replaced with fresh material. If water came in through the ceiling, the same principle applies. As you pull things out, inspect insulation and framing for water damage along the way to see if they need replacing. Your priorities are getting rid of water-damaged materials and replacing them with new material so that your home meets code again.
Don’t go overboard
A major temptation during a flood rebuild is to remodel the entire home. As you tear things out, your home becomes a blank slate for your imagination. It’s all too easy to talk yourself into making expensive remodeling decisions that are too big for your compensation budget. First repair the important things, like your floor, then see what money is left over.
Be prepared to wait
Unless you can do it all on your own, you’re going to need professionals at some point. If the flooding in your region is really bad, this can take some time. Plus, you’ll need to figure out where and how you’re going to live while they do their work.
This only scratches the surface of flood restoration. The Red Cross and FEMA have created an excellent and free post-flood repair guide that every homeowner should read. Take a look at it to get further tips on how to repair your home after a flood.
Michael is the head of public relations department at ServiceProsLocal.com with primary focus on customer satisfaction. His main talking points are water damage restoration, environmental friendly house building and plant cultivation.