Don’t get left high and dry: A guide to flood restoration

Depending on whereabouts in the country you reside, flooding can be a common concern. Some areas are prone to flash floods, giving homeowners little time to prepare, but even with ample warning, floods can wreak havoc on your property.

If your home has been damaged by floodwater, you will need to seek out a flood restoration service to remove the water and restore the structure of the building.

Category 3 water damage

Water damage is categorized by its level of risk, and floodwater usually falls under category 3. Also known as ‘black water’, category 3 water damage covers water that is grossly contaminated and considered dangerous, such as water from sewage, seawater, and rising rivers and streams. The water is likely to contain bacteria, pathogens, and viruses.

Category 3 water damage requires immediate action. For safety reasons, all work should be handled by an IICRC-approved restoration professional.

The flood restoration process

Water damage can cause major structural damage to a property if left untreated, while mold and bacteria can grow and thrive under moist conditions, so it’s important to get floodwater in the home dealt with quickly.

A flood restoration professional will need to come and assess the full extent of the water damage and locate the source of the water. Then a plan can be put in place to restore the property – and you will receive an estimate of the costs for the process.

The first step in any flood restoration process is to remove any standing water. Vacuums and pumps will be used to drain the water out of the property, before each affected room is thoroughly dried and dehumidified to tackle water that has been absorbed into surfaces like carpets, curtains and furniture.

As it’s category 3 water damage, areas affected by floodwater must undergo a deep clean and sanitization to remove any health risks carried in by the contaminated water. Sanitization also helps remove any unpleasant odors it leaves behind.

If flood water has been left for an extended period, mold may start to grow within the home. The flood restoration specialist should be able to carry out mold removal and mold remediation if required.

The last portion of a flood restoration service is to restore and redecorate any badly affected areas of the property, such as flooring, paintwork, or other interior areas affected by the floodwater.

Prevention is better than cure

No one wants their home to fall victim to a flood, but the risk of flooding is unavoidable in many areas of America. If your home is within a high-risk flood zone, implementing a combination of preventative measures, structural modifications, and strategic planning can help to reduce potential flood damage.

Plastic sheeting, flood barriers, and sandbags can all come in handy to create temporary barriers around doors, windows, and other vulnerable areas while water is rising. Keep these items stocked up and in a known location, so they are easily accessible in an emergency. Install water alarms anywhere around the home where flood water could seep in. The alarms will sound if any water is detected, alerting you as early as possible of a potential flood risk, and giving you time to set up barriers or evacuate if necessary.

Regularly check your home’s drainage system and ensure that your gutters and drains are debris-free. These systems should be directing water away from the foundations of your home at all times. Certain landscaping choices can also help protect your home from flooding. Grade your yard away from the foundations of your home to prevent water from pooling around the perimeter of the building. Planting certain native plants and trees can also help absorb excess water.

You may choose to install backflow valves into your sewer lines, designed to allow water to only flow in one direction through a pipe. If your home were to flood, the backflow valves would stop sewage water from flowing back into your property. Install a sump pump at the lowest point of the building, such as a basement. Any water that accumulates by the pump will be removed from the property. You should also elevate any electrical systems above potential flood levels; heating systems, circuit breakers, and HVAC units can all present electrical hazards if damaged in a flood.

For homes in particularly high-risk areas, it may be a worthy investment to seal the walls of your property and install waterproof membranes in the basement. You may even opt to elevate your entire home slightly if you regularly experience floods.

Water damage from flooding can be detrimental to your property if not dealt with quickly and professionally. Always consult a flood remediation specialist as soon as possible after a flood has occurred, and take every precaution to protect yourself and your home against potential flood damage.

Powerhouse is a full-service home and commercial services company based in Texas.

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