A flood is one of the most catastrophic and devastating natural disasters capable of causing unfathomable consequences to individuals and communities worldwide. It’s responsible for the deaths of millions of people and damages that may cost billions of dollars every year.
Flooding is often the result of intense rainstorms or thunderstorms, broken dam walls, and extreme tidal surges. Whatever the cause may be, it can negatively impact not only your property but also your health.
Moreover, rebuilding your home after a great flood is no easy task. It may be a long, time-consuming, and challenging process. But it’ll surely help bring back your property and improve your quality of life.
If you have no idea where or how to start, don’t fret; you’re on the right page. This article will show you the steps you’ll need to take to rebuild your home after a flood. But before making any changes, ensure that the house is safe to work on, especially when it comes to exposed electric wires, etc.
The first step to rebuilding your home after a flood is to clean everything up. Flood waters can serve as a breeding ground for different microorganisms, particularly mold and bacteria. These microorganisms bring plenty of diseases, so make sure to get rid of them right away.
When flood water completely recedes or as soon as the weather becomes favorable, take all the items affected by the flood outside. These include furniture, books, appliances, papers, etc. You may let them dry out thoroughly or dispose of them if they’re beyond help.
Furthermore, you may consult professional water damage restoration services, such as https://www.summitclean.com/water-damage-restoration-portland-oregon, to ensure that your home will be free from all traces of flood waters. If you’re not convinced, check out the following services they can offer:
- Damage Assessment: They’ll evaluate the level of damage the flood has done to your property. This process will help them determine the best course of action to address the issue.
- Water Extraction: Water restoration companies use highly specialized equipment, such as pumps and vacuums, to quickly remove flood water from all areas of your home.
- Drying Process: Water restoration companies utilize tools that can help dry your home. Also, don’t worry since all their methods are science-backed and safe.
- Sanitation: Aside from extracting flood water from your home, it’s also the responsibility of water restoration companies to sanitize all corners of your home.
Reach Out to Your Insurance Company
The costs and expenses of rebuilding your home after a flood is not something you can easily joke around. It is why it’s crucial to reach out to your home insurance company as soon as possible.
When claiming your insurance benefits, ensure your copy of the insurance policy is with you. If not, your insurance company will provide you with a new one, given your circumstances, especially if it’s not advisable to return to your home.
Read the copy and follow the procedures for claiming your insurance benefits accordingly. You may also take photos of what the flood has done to your home to strengthen your claims. Do all these to get the most out of your insurance policy.
However, keep in mind that compensation varies depending on the coverage of your insurance. Ask your agent or review your policy to determine what your insurance covers. Also, check your location and see if it’s declared a ‘disaster area.’ If it does, your insurance benefits might change. You may be eligible to receive additional compensation.
Create a Budget Plan
Rebuilding your home after a flood can be expensive, depending on the extent of the damage. Therefore, it’d be best to establish a budget plan to help you allocate your resources accordingly and avoid breaking your bank.
Start with a thorough investigation and list down all the damage caused by the flood. Make sure your budget is as realistic as possible. It’s okay to allot more funding for the damage you might have overlooked but never go beyond your financial capacities to avoid incurring debts.
Here are the things you might need to include in your budget-making:
- The estimated cost of professional services
- The estimated cost of the items to be replaced
- The estimated cost of construction materials needed
- The estimated cost of overall home renovation and redecoration
Test Your Home for Possible Mold Growth
Molds are one of the top enemies of every homeowner. They may be small, but their impact on your health can be devastating, causing health problems for you and your loved ones. Such health conditions may include allergies and irritations.
In addition, molds become more active after a flood because it provides them with the main requirements they need to thrive and survive—water. It is why it’s crucial to have your flooded home tested for mold growth.
Also, mold testing is highly recommended if you have loved ones at high risk of contracting multiple diseases simultaneously. These include the elderly, infants, and other people with compromised immunity levels and respiratory conditions.
Mold testing is often done by professionals, but you can also do it yourself since the process is pretty straightforward. Here are the steps to testing mold growth after the flood:
- Dab or spray a bleach solution (1:16 bleach to water ratio) to highly susceptible areas.
- If the solution becomes white, it’s mold. If it does, puncture the surface area to see if rotting has occurred.
- Remove the mold and other infected objects.
- Spray the area with disinfectant spray to destroy them.
- Wash items infected with mold with soap to get rid of them.
Repair Your Flooring
Your floors may have suffered the most during flooding. If that’s the case, ensure to remove what was damaged as soon as possible. Here’s why:
- The tiles should be removed even if they don’t possess any water-holding capacity. Do this only if they’re attached to a wooden subfloor.
Wet wooden subfloors encourage mold growth as they won’t be able to dry up easily, especially when covered with tiles. And so, you also have to remove and replace them once you’ve removed all the tiles.
- Carpets are another thing that can absorb significant volumes of water. You don’t have to throw them right away. Just wash them with soap and spray them with a disinfectant solution to eliminate potential mold growth, and let them dry.
However, if your carpets are produced using synthetic fibers, you have no choice but to get rid of them. Such fibers encourage microbial growth by acting as a food source.
- Wood flooring has a good moisture absorption capacity, causing it to swell and grow molds and bacteria.
You can hire the services of contractors to do this or purchase relevant tools to do it yourself.
Repair Your Interior Walls
After addressing flooring issues, it’s time to check your interior walls and analyze the damage. Remove damaged panels, including the insulation, and replace them with new ones.
Aside from that, you can also enhance the appearance of your walls by using cement boards. These boards are half-inch thick and are made of cement, as their name suggests. They’re easy to install, durable, and can’t absorb water, perfect for properties situated in flood-prone areas.
If you’re not interested in using cement boards for your walls, you may use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) wall panels instead. Like cement boards, they don’t absorb water and will stay dry, even if your home is flooded.
Once the new panels are in place, all you need to do is coat them with a layer or two of epoxy or waterproof paint. This step adds an extra layer of protection from flood water.
Repair Your Home’s Exterior
The next thing you need to repair is your home’s exterior, which includes the windows and the entire walled surface. Keep in mind that the external damage might be more severe than the interior because of the following:
- Sharp debris from tree branches, stones, metal rods, etc.
- Strong gusts of winds
That is why it’s crucial to be as careful as possible when choosing replacement materials, specifically if your home is located in a storm- or flood-prone area. Use weatherproof windows and wall panels to prevent repeated repairs whenever a flood or storm strikes.
You may also use bricks for your home’s exterior. They’re not just durable and long-lasting but also look aesthetically pleasing. If you’re not a fan of rustic-looking brick walls, you may use stucco walling instead. Investing in the right materials will help you save a lot in the long run.
Dealing with water damage caused by severe flooding is challenging and time-consuming. But with the right knowledge and proper guidance, you’ll be able to execute every crucial task accordingly and promptly. The discussion above offers a simple guide to help you rebuild your home after a flood. Don’t forget to seek expert services to ensure the overall safety of your home.