Leaking pipes, burst sewer pipes, and many natural disasters can leave your home flooded. While this might seem like too much to handle, just try to take it easy and follow these flood damage cleanup tips.
Before you take on dealing with the aftermath of the flood, take extensive photos of the damage it has done, and reach out to your insurance agent. Once you have completed these steps, proceed with restoring the damage the flood has done.
With proper tools, you should manage the consequences of a small or medium amount of water. But, if there is significant flooding that’s not going away, it’s time to face the facts and reach out to flood damage repair experts no matter what you do.
Also, if your area of residence is recovering from a large scale natural disaster or flood, the wisest thing to do would be to listen to the local disaster relief authorities and leave the repairs to the experts.
Before you do anything else, take a look at the water that has flooded your home. There are three types of water that you should be on the lookout for.
- Clean water comes from rain or leaking pipes. It doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals, so you should be able to handle it by yourself.
- Gray water comes from leaking appliances, such as your dishwasher, washing machine, or toilet. This water is potentially lightly contaminated, but you should be able to deal with it, provided you take the proper precautions.
- Blackwater is the most harmful one as it tends to come from the sewers or nearby natural water sources like rivers. This type of water can be hazardous to your health, so hire a flood damage repair specialist.
All of your cleaning efforts will be in vain if you cannot stop additional water from flowing. Therefore, your first step should be to assess the situation. Try to locate the flooding source and see if there is a way to stop any further water damage (for example, by shutting off the water main). Once you have done this, proceed to water removal, if it’s safe to do so.
Caution: if you know or suspect that any electrical wires have been compromised due to the flood, do not enter the flooded area.
Water is a tricky foe. Some of the damage it has done can be hard to spot, so before you proceed with the flood damage cleanup, unplug all the electronic appliances as soon as possible. Completely shut off power and gas, if you can. Using these devices after a flood could cause an electrical shock or even explosion.
Certain species of mold are toxic to humans and bring serious health risks. Furthermore, mold tends to grow and spread fast, so you should get rid of it as soon as possible.
If you spot a mold-infested area that is small in scale, you can simply cut off the infected portion, put it in a bag, and dispose of it as soon as possible. But, if you spot a large mold infestation, you’ll need to stop any airflow from the affected area to prevent the mold from spreading any further and call a mold specialist.
Use proper tools to get rid of all the remaining water. Depending on the water quantity in the flooded area, you could get by with just a wet vac and dehumidifier. More extensive sites might require a flood restoration water extractor.
You can also use fans to help you with air circulation and drying the flooded area faster. If you find some mud after removing water, use a shovel to remove as much of it as you can.
You might be so mad that your first instinct is to take a sledgehammer to the damaged drywall and smash it all away, but try not to do that.
Instead, mark a straight line on the wall that is damaged. Next, take a utility knife and cut along the line. Most of the time, there is no need to make a hole in the wall as the damage won’t be deep. Cut roughly one half through the thickness of the drywall and carefully loosen and remove the debris.
Once you have removed all the damaged drywall, take down all the wet insulation. This part can be a bit tricky as insulation tends to absorb water and appear to be in much better shape than it is.
When it comes to a situation like this, it’s best to err on the side of caution and altogether remove all the suspicious insulation.
You should immediately dispose of items that cannot be salvaged to prevent mildew and mold growth. This may include drywall, carpet (if submerged for over 24 hours), and wood veneer furniture. Be sure to photograph any losses to include with your insurance claim, if applicable.
The way you should approach cleaning your floors depends on the type of flooring that was damaged.
- Hardwood floors should be dried gradually, as drying them too quickly can cause additional cracks to appear. Remove a piece of flooring every few feet to stop the wood from buckling.
- Vinyl or tiles with wood subflooring require removal of the top tiles in order to dry the wood below.
- Carpets and rugs that have been exposed to water for more than 24 hours must be thrown away. The same goes for any carpet that’s been soiled by sewer water. Otherwise, use a bleach solution (2 TBL to one gallon of water) to clean your surviving rugs.
Before you begin the restoration process, it’s essential to sanitize the flooded area. Doing so will get rid of all the potentially harmful bacteria and stop any additional mold from spreading.
Spray and wipe down all the area with bleach to stop any dangerous elements from spreading any further.
Constant airflow is your ally when it comes to helping the drying of the flooded area. Make sure that your home is constantly drying thoroughly.
There you have it, you have successfully recovered from a flood. Congrats!