As a homeowner, floods are the last thing you’d want to experience in your home. But if you live in areas that are mostly affected by floods, there are high chances that you’ll face the menace from time to time. The good news is that your home can be fully restored after the flood. The thing is to act quickly once the heavy rains have subsided to minimize destruction on your property.
Typical Home Flood Damages
Here’s a list of ways a flood can destroy your home:
- Damages the foundation by cracking or breaking the slabs
- Distorts window and door frames to an extent they don’t open or close easily
- Weakens drywall and promotes the growth of mold
- Soaks fiber or foam insulation
- Degrades sheathing made from wood or porous material
- Swells framing, which could result in a lateral shifting of the house
- Interferes with the electrical systems through rusting of wires
With these in mind, here are practical guidelines on how you can spruce up your home after flood damage.
1. Call A Water Damage Restoration Company
The first step to take in the event of flood damage is to call a water damage restoration company. Remember, it’s not advisable to jump in all by yourself to rectify the damage caused by floods. It might be dangerous, especially if water has already infiltrated the electrical conduits. Such companies have better expertise in handling floods in a manner that doesn’t pose risks to your family.
Typically, they’ll carry out a thorough assessment of the damage and give you a detailed report of its true extent. The damage caused can be greater than you see superficially. Furthermore, these professionals can identify what kind of repairs your home needs to revert to its original state. They’ll also advise you on all the costs you’re likely to incur as you undertake the repairs, as well as the techniques to use to prevent similar losses in case the disaster strikes again.
2. Have Protective Gear
Flood water carries a lot with it as it flows into your home, including raw sewage, hazardous chemicals like lead paint, shrapnel, and pests. Wearing protective gear when handling flood water shields you from infections. Protective wear will also protect you from injuries like cuts from shattered glass. These are the must-have protective gear when cleaning up your home:
- Rubber boots
- Face masks
Aside from this personal protective equipment, make sure to have other essential ones like pails, mops, plastic garbage bags, and squeegees to help you wipe out the water.
3. Sort Out Your Household Items
After draining all standing water in the house, the next step is to assess which household items have been damaged beyond repair, which ones can be redeemed, and which ones are still intact. So, inspect all your pieces of furniture, family photos, mattresses, blankets, and everything that was touched by the flood waters.
Some of them can be taken back, but unfortunately, you’ll have to part with others. If you decide to keep some of the items, make a point of cleaning them thoroughly to get rid of dirt. For blankets, clothing, and other fabrics, a mild disinfectant or detergent will be of great use. For wooden utensils like the chopping boards, discard them as they’ve already come into contact with contaminants, and using them again for food preparation may endanger your health. On the same note, ceramic utensils must be thoroughly sanitized by soaking in detergents or boiling them.
As for furniture, carefully brush off the mud and then vacuum them. After that, leave them to sit under direct sunlight for approximately five hours. Be careful not to leave them for too long as this could warp the wooden members. Alternatively, you can use the recommended commercial cleaning tools suitable for the specific material of your couches or drawers.
To better be sure of the integrity of your electrical appliances, you’d want to hire an electrician to check them out and advise you accordingly.
4. Deep Clean The House
Having dealt with the household appliances, it’s now time to focus on the walls, floors, carpets, and other fixtures in your home. All these require careful handling to avoid damaging them. If your interior partitions are made of drywall, open them up to evaluate the exact extent of damage the flood water has caused.
Moving fast can significantly curb the advancement of water before it goes too far. In most cases, the water line won’t go all the way up to the ceiling, meaning there’s a great deal of insulation you can save. For the rest of the insulation materials soaked in water, it’s only logical to remove them, as leaving them that way perfectly sets up your home for mold infestation.
The flooring, laminate, hardwood, carpets, and tiles should also be ripped off. With laminate and hardwood, you have to take them off for drying, or else they’ll warp, owing to the moisture they’ve absorbed. As for carpets, which shrink and stink after such an encounter with water, consider pressure washing them or dispose of them completely. If you decide to keep them, ensure they’re thoroughly dry before reinstalling them.
5. Dry Up
It’s important to give your home time to dry completely as this ensures you keep off mold and mildew. As you know, these plants flourish in moist conditions. Mold spores are plenty in the air and they can start developing 24 to 48 hours after your home floods. That tells you how fast you should move to look for mold and curb its spread before it causes irreparable damage to your house.
Before patching up, ensure your house walls are moisture free and completely dry. You can use a moist meter to help you know the exact moisture levels of your walls.
6. Reentering Your Home
You can only go back into your home if it’s safe to do so. In this regard, go an extra step of having your house properly assessed by a water damage restoration company to ascertain its suitability for occupancy. While at it, inquire about the preventative measures to take to avoid damage should the flood hit again.
Natural disasters, like floods, are part of life, and so it pays to know how to shield your house from flood damage. But if flood waters access your home and leave a trail of destruction, you must move fast to arrest the situation before it spirals out of control. Consider temporarily vacating and starting a new home elsewhere to pave the way for water damage restoration companies to fix it, especially if the damage is extensive. For minimal damage, you may choose to remain in the house. Just ensure you implement the necessary precautionary measures to keep yourself safe from electric shocks, physical injury, and disease infection.