Imagine the following situation. A married couple, along with their three children, and their dog, finally have enough money to buy their dream home. It comes with a bedroom for everyone, a kitchen, dining area, living area, and a basement.
For years this couple wanted a house with a basement. For them it would be the perfect place to store precious heirlooms passed down through the generations. The basement looked just fine. Other than a few spiders, there seemed to be no issues. The couple would always check the basement for flooding after each storm, just to make sure that their valuables would not be ruined. They had heard of some of their friends having trouble with flooding in their basements, so they just had to be sure.
Hurricane season arrived. The couple wasn't worried that the basement would flood. Why would it flood? It's rained dozens of times, and the basement has never flooded. What was there to worry about? Once the hurricane had passed, the couple went back down to the basement, expecting it to be dry as it always was. When they were on the last step, they noticed a foul smell. The husband stepped down, and his shoes were submerged in water. Surprised, the couple hurriedly turned on the lights, to see that the entire basement was flooded. All of their belongings kept there were ruined. Now the question is: How do they fix it? What measures can they take to prevent this from happening again?
Flood Damage Repairs
Flood damage repairs do not just apply to basements. It can apply to any part of the house that has been flooded. It's important to note that these repairs do not just focus on patching up cracks where water can seep in.
Water from flooding hasn't gone through any purification process. It's filled with harmful chemicals and bacteria that can cause mold and mildew to grow, making the air dangerous to breathe. This also has to be fixed. Floods can also cause damage to electrical wiring, which cannot be left unfixed.
Usually a company that specializes in flood damage repairs will need to be called. Once they've arrived, they'll start repairs on the flood damage. The process includes:
- Inspecting and assessing damage from the flood
- Removing all water from the house
- Drying out the house and reducing the level of humidity in the air (dehumidification)
- Cleaning and repairing any flood damage
- Restoring the home to its former condition before the flood
Questions and Answers
Though the process of how flood damage is fixed has been explained, it’s likely there are still many questions you may have about details or the process. Here are some very common ones with answers:
Q: Can the home be entered if the power is turned off?
A: The house can be entered, but caution still needs to be taken. Homeowners need to be on the lookout for rotting wood, warped or distorted structures in the house, termites, weakening foundation, water in the walls and insulation, and any roof damage.
The service of professionals to inspect these structures will be needed. They can also inspect the HVAC system, electrical system, sewage system, and the walls and ceilings.
Q: Should the home be tested for mold?
A: In general, it's quite easy to tell if a house has mold or not. Be on the lookout for discolored walls and/or ceilings, fuzzy textured growth that is black or green, musty/earthy smells, bad odors, and allergic reactions. Mold can cause mild to severe allergic reactions. Some symptoms to look out for include wheezing, watery or irritated eyes, throat irritation, coughing, and other symptoms that affect the respiratory system.
Q: Will homeowner's insurance cover flood damage?
A: Sadly the answer is almost certainly no. Homeowner's insurance has a clear distinction between what type of water damage is covered.
The only exception is if a homeowner is living on a floodplain with a mortgage that's federally backed or through an insured lender. Otherwise, homeowners should have a financial plan on how to pay for flood damage repair costs themselves.
Nevertheless, an insurance agent should be called to clarify what is and isn't covered by an insurance policy. It may not cover flood damage directly, but it will cover other damage caused by floods, such as theft of items, or damage to property by electrical fires.
Q: After the insurance agent is contacted, what needs to be done next?
A: Make note of all damaged items. Before and after cleanup, take photos or video of the home. All wet items should be removed from the home, and that includes items that can be saved and cannot. Open all doors and windows to dry out the home.
Q: Should a homeowner try to clean up and repair their own home?
A: They are free to do so, but the appropriate safety gear must be worn. This would include gloves, glasses, and boots fit for clean ups and repairs, along with a respirator that is disposable. This gear will protect a homeowner from being exposed to noxious materials.