Was Your Home Flooded? If So, Here's What To Do...

Flood

Floods are never planned and they can rarely be prevented. Here's what you need to know after the water recedes.

Your first phone call, after you know that everyone is okay, is to your home insurance/flood insurance company.

Second, take photos of the home damage, especially the water line. It's a good idea to keep a small sample of cupped wood or drywall to show your insurance claims adjuster.

Next, find someone to clear out your home. (Of course, if your insurance company said to hold off on remediation you want to follow their instructions. Get back to this list after they say to go ahead.)

  • Everything needs to be moved out of the house, at least on the floor(s) that was/were flooded. 
  • All wall coverings (sheetrock/drywall, paneling, plaster, etc) and insulation must be removed to at least a foot above the highest water line. Flooring needs to come up, too. This is because the first thing that floods and overflows in a residential area is the sewer lines. Yuck! So dirty water has been inside your home. Get rid of everything that it touched! (If you choose to do this yourself be sure to wear protective gear, including a respirator. Everything that can be inhaled in the home can be dangerous to your health.) 
  • This should leave just the foundation, soleplates, framing studs, and exterior walls. Let them dry out completely. Installing new walls right away just traps moisure inside the walls. Guess what loves moisture and closed in spaces....MOLD! 
  • Have your framing, soleplates, and exterior walls checked for moisture level. 15% moist is the maximum allowed. Where do you find someone to test for moisture? Fox Inspection Group does that! (Surprise!) Of course you can read this information and then hire anyone you want, but it is important to get a written report with the findings. Future potential buyers of your home are going to want documentation that you remediated correctly after the flood. 
  • Hire someone to treat your wood framing and soleplates with mold inhibiting chemicals. (No, Fox Inspection Group does not do this.) 

Install, or have installed, new insulation, wall coverings, and flooring. (We don't do this, either.) Be sure to keep your receipt(s) to show your future potential buyers.

Get a Mold Certificate. Your future potential buyers will want to see one of these, too. It involves a licensed professional taking air samples and sending them to a laboratory to make sure that the home is not hiding any mold spores. (You guessed it: Fox Inspection Group does that! Well, we're right now waiting on our license, but we will be doing that very soon.)

A Little Light Reading....

The Washington Post reported that two months after Hurricane Katrina, CDC investigators found mold in the walls of half of 112 water-damaged homes. The worst symptoms from routine mold exposure — some amount of mold is in the air we breathe every day — are typically allergic reactions and are rarely fatal but can exacerbate other health problems. Post-Katrina mold, however, was implicated in the deaths of four Southern University at New Orleans professors — all of whom worked in the same storm-damaged building. All died within a few months of one another. The economic impact of mold and water damage also can be severe. “That’s a whole consequence that people really don't consider,”Behavioral scientist Mary Hayden, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said. “It’s devastating on all levels.”

Kids' asthma risk more than doubles if their homes smell of mold, says a new study.