How to Restore a Home After Flood Damage
Broken pipes can cause a significant amount of flood damage to a home.
In the United States alone, floods cause about $6 billion worth of damage every year.
While homes that are in flood prone areas are especially at risk of flooding, floods can be caused by a number of different issues –not just natural disasters. Broken pipes, leaky roofs, and backed up sewer systems can all cause a significant amount of damage to a home.
Flood damage requires prompt attention in order to salvage as much of your home and as many belongings as possible. The success of your cleanup and restoration process depends largely upon how long the water has been there.
Even if the flood damage was minimal, with perhaps only an inch of water in your basement, it’s important to take action promptly. Damp conditions are the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold loves damp locations, and will waste no time showing up in a flooded home. Mold can ruin more than just your walls, floors, and furniture; if the problem is left unaddressed, it can also cause poor air quality, which can lead to respiratory health issues such as asthma or other severe illness.
It’s important to start the cleanup process as quickly as possible to prevent additional damage. Here are some tips to help you start the restoration process after a flood.
Before entering the building, make sure your home is safe to enter. If the main power switch was not turned off before the floor, do not re-enter the home until an electrician has inspected the home and determined that it is safe for you to do so.
The sooner you remove your items from the flood-damaged area, the better your chances of salvaging them. You should also take precautions and unplug all electronics, and remove them to prevent electrical problems. Once your items have been removed, you should pull up the carpet, under padding, and any area rugs. This will make it easier to clean the floor beneath and give it a chance to dry properly.
Get Rid of Water
Getting rid of the excess water is crucial for saving your floor. The faster the water is removed, the better your chances of salvaging the flooring. Old-fashioned tools such as buckets, mops, and old towels work in many situations, especially if you are concerned about using electrical outlets. Dispose of the water down the drain if your neighborhood sewer lines aren’t backed up -or simply pour it outside. Another way to remove water (from carpets, and other soft surfaces) is by using a wet/dry vacuum. However, exercise extreme caution with using electrical outlets after a flood. If the water is deep, you might consider renting a sump pump.
Dry the Area
Removing the water and properly drying the space is key to preventing mold growth. Once the water has been removed, you can start the process of drying the area out. Make use of fans and a dehumidifier to help dry the affected areas. Open as many windows as you can to allow circulation and help speed up the drying process. If the drywall was damaged in the flood, you may have to remove it. Removing water-soaked drywall will help prevent it from becoming a food source for mold.
Disinfect and Ventilate
Once the area has dried, and the affected drywall removed, be sure to disinfect and clean the area with a specific cleaner that’s designed to help combat mold stains. Clean all areas that were affected by the flood, including the walls, wood, and other furniture that sat in the water for any period of time. Be sure to ventilate and dehumidify the entire house.
Mold is likely to appear after a flood, and it’s important to take extreme measures to ensure that you have dried everything, and removed water-damaged walls, wood, and furniture as leaving it behind can only increase the your chance of mold growing.
Be sure to use specific cleaning products designed to help combat the problems that come with mold.
For a green cleaning product that can tackle tough mold stains consider Green-Ox, the earth-friendly, powerful product that works on mold.
Image: Horst Gutmann