Renovating a home can be an exciting experience, but repair work? Not so much. When your home is damaged by the destructive nature of water, it can be frustrating and may feel as if you’re taking a few steps back on adding value to your home. However, the repair process is essential to get your home back to its original state — or better. When it comes to water damage, first-floor flooding is not an uncommon ordeal. To rectify the situation, you will need to call in professionals who provide drying services. Depending on the reason for the flood, you may also need to have drywall, insulation, and flooring repaired or removed. But, let’s not jump too far ahead. Here’s a step-by-step guide to assist you with repairing your home after the first-floor floods.
The 12 Main Steps
How you react in the first few moments of noticing your home is flooding may decide how much damage it sustains. Here are 12 critical steps to help you minimize and rectify damage to your home when the first floor floods.
1. Identify the Cause of the Flood
When homeowners think of a flooded first floor, natural disasters probably come to mind. However, the first floor can flood for many other reasons, such as the following.
- Burst pipes
- Faulty washing machine hose
- Leaking appliances, such as the water heater
- Overflowing dishwasher
- Overflowing toilet or blockage in the sewer system
- Pipe left on while the drain is covered or blocked
2. Stop the Flow
If you are able to identify the source of the water and can turn it off, do so. For example, you may cut the water supply in the home, turn off the dripping or leaking faucet, or plug out the water heater. If you must wade through water to do this, call the professionals and wait outside to prevent possible electrocution.
3. Cut the Power
If you can make it to the fuse box without passing through water, then turn off the power to the affected areas in the home. This will also help to reduce the possibility of electrocution. If you cannot make it to the fuse box without passing through water, call the professionals and wait outside.
4. Inspect for Damage
If the flood was caused by natural disasters, then do a thorough inspection of the home and call the relevant authorities to resolve the issue. Here are some of the things you should keep an eye out for.
- Damage to electric, gas, sewer and water lines.
- Structural damage, such as cracked foundations or warping.
5. Document the Damage
While you wait for the professionals to arrive, be sure to document the damage in the home as best as possible. This may be necessary for insurance purposes. Make notes, take pictures, and even take video footage where possible.
6. Call the Insurance Company
The best time to call the insurance company is right away, especially if the flood is due to natural disasters. Phone lines to the company may be busy, so the sooner you call, the further up the line you are on their waiting list. If you are unable to reach your local agent, consider calling headquarters.
7. Hire Water Restoration Professionals
Some insurance companies will send out their own licensed contractors to survey the damage, quote an estimate, and provide disaster cleanup and restoration services. However, in cases of an emergency, you may be asked to find your own contractors. You will then be reimbursed after the work is completed.
8. Remove the Water
As soon as you receive the go-ahead to remove the water from your home, get started. If the problem is widespread in your community, companies may have their hands full. So, get a head start on your home by doing some of the work yourself. Rent a sump pump or wet vac to begin drying water out of the home. However, avoid plugging these machines into sockets that were in the affected area, especially if the water rose to the level of those sockets.
9. Remove Wet & Damaged Items
There is no point in drying the area only to leave wet items inside. This would only provide a breeding ground for mold and harmful bacteria. Removing the carpeting and drywall will require professional help. However, you can remove soaked furniture, rugs, clothes, and appliances on your own. If any food came into contact with the water, you must throw those out as well due to possible contamination.
10. Dry the Area
Unfortunately, removing the water and wet items does not make an area dry. To ensure the area is truly dry, you must use a dehumidifier. If only one small room is affected, a personal dehumidifier should do the trick until the professionals arrive. Commercial-grade dehumidifiers, however, are larger and far more powerful.
11. Replace Material
Unlike United Water Restoration, many contractors who provide drying services do not replace the drywall, insulation, and carpeting they may remove from your home. As a result, you may need to call in another team of contractors to replace and re-install these items. This should also be covered by your insurance company.
Provided that opening the windows won’t let more moisture in, it’s a good idea to air out the home. Also, open drawers and cabinets. Ventilating will help to reduce the moldy smell that may begin to form while you wait for the drying and repair process to be completed. If you are unable to open your windows, then consider installing HEPA air filters to improve the air quality in the home.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when inspecting and repairing your home after the first-floor floods.
- Sometimes during a natural disaster, the lights go out. This may make it seem safe to venture into flood waters in or outside of your home. However, whenever possible, always turn off the fuse box.
- When documenting the damage to your home, take notes and photograph the area from multiple angles. If possible, immediately back the photos up to cloud storage online as the device may later become lost or damaged.
- Clear water does not always equal safe water. Water could be contaminated with chemicals and sewer material. Because of this, it’s important to wear protective gear when possible to enter the home. This may include gloves, water boots, and waders.
- Water increases the weight of items around the home, so take care when moving rugs, furniture, and other heavy items to reduce injury. If possible, enlist the help of others and follow best practices for safe lifting.
- If the flooding was due to natural disasters and you have lost windows and doors in the process, be sure to safeguard your home by boarding them up. This keeps out both burglars and wildlife.
If your home has recently flooded, United Water Restoration has the tools, the skills, and the team to provide drying services and repair work. We don’t believe in leaving any job unfinished, so once your home is dry and cleared of all contamination, we will begin the process of restoring your walls, flooring and any other damaged area. All you have to do to get started is call us at 1-800-430-5838 or find a location near you to get immediate assistance. Our emergency services are available statewide, 24 hours per day.