In light of the recent cluster of thunderstorms, I wanted to cover something I’m sure a lot of people have experienced as a result of the heavy rain: flooding and damage. Over the years, I’ve come to know a thing or two about typical household damage you may find after a torrential rain. Water can harm your house in many ways, including the structure, flooring, walls and furniture. Expensive items can be lost, such as appliances, electronics and antiques. On top of all that, there could be an onset of mold and contamination, as flood waters are full of mud and bacteria.
Depending on the extent of the damage, you might end up completely renovating a space (or the whole home), but more importantly, you (or a professional) will want to inspect the most vital parts of the household. These areas include your sewage, roofing, heater and air conditioner, ducts, utilities, electrical systems and foundation. These tend to be the most pricey (and dangerous) to replace, and if not taken care of, they could lead to further trouble and wasted money down the line.
For the sake of your health, have a professional remove anything that was soaked, such as carpet, curtains or bedding, because mold can develop within just 24 hours after a flood. Once the weather has somewhat cleared, the best thing to do is open every window, turn up the heat or air conditioner (depending on the season), and dry the house out as best as possible. This will help take care of the mold problem (before it becomes a problem).
Other potential damage could include wood rot; termite damage; distortion or warping of things like baseboards and molding; wet plaster, panels or insulation; broken or leaking water pipes; and damaged walls and ceilings. If your home undergoes such a beating, it might be a good time for a thorough remodel.
Take the opportunity to replace and rebuild, if necessary. At the same time, it would be smart to prepare for the next flood, by floodproofing. According to the American Red Cross, this means to rebuild using materials and methods that will prevent or minimize damage from future floods. Additionally, they recommend that you should seek flood insurance and write up a flood response plan for the rains to come.
Floodproofing adds tremendous value to home for potential resale, though the first steps to rebuilding aren’t so fun. If there is indeed foundation damage from the flood, it’s best to raise the level of the house first before any other repairs. Raise the building to the point where the lowest level is elevated above possible flood level. If the house is in a spot where flooding is a common occurrence, it would be worth the homeowner’s while to build floodwalls, which are essentially barriers to prevent floodwaters from reaching the home. Floodwalls are made of concrete and are built around the home, while another type of barrier, called berms, are small levees built from fill dirt. These are both great ways to prevent flooding in the future.
Next, it would be wise to inspect all the windows in the house, just to be sure everything is properly sealed. If they were damaged by the heavy wind or hard rain, consider replacing them with something more durable and/or reframing them with updated window frames. Just be aware of what your recovery budget is, taking into account what your insurance will cover, of course. It’s very easy to get carried away in the heat of a remodel in the wake of a bad experience, so be proactive in the conversation about what needs to be done and what you’ve always wanted to do for your home (and what that will cost).
If your hardwood floors or vinyl tiles were ruined in the flood, consider replacing them with concrete or stone, as they are harder to damage and will save you a lot of trouble in the future. Plus, having hard surfaced flooring and countertops is a popular and timeless look. If you already have concrete floors, then you really have nothing to worry about, as they will dry out easily. Repairing doors can be tricky, though, especially if you have hollow wooden doors, which can be a breeding ground for mold buildup. On the other hand, solid wood doors are easily repaired, as are ones made from metal.
No matter what, after a flood, it’s all about safety first. Then, you repair, rebuild and recover. From there, you prepare and prevent. There’s a lot of DIY methods out there for just about anything, but in this case, I have to heavily recommend a professional contractor. These situations cannot be left to a Pinterest board’s list of best practices or a YouTube tutorial. You and your family’s health and well-being depend on how the aftermath is worked out. Let others help, and you can work together to face the future in a newer stronghold.