Floods happen all over the world and when rivers swell, floodplains can be affected and homes can be damaged or even destroyed. Knowing what to do after a flood is important because time is of the essence when dealing with water damage cleanup. Here are five steps to follow after the flooding.
In Vermont, flooding can be a problem, especially in the Winooski River floodplains. Before you begin cleaning up, make sure you address a few safety issues. If your home is cleared by professionals, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N-95 masks, gloves, rubber boots, and clothing that can be thrown away before entering. Proceed to turn off the electricity and gas to the house beforehand to ensure safety.
Take pictures and videos of your home before you clean up so you can see what the house looked like before you started removing damaged materials and personal items. These pictures and videos can be used when filing a claim with your insurance company.
This is one of the most extensive steps of dealing with water damage cleanup after a flood. There are several things to think about from removing drywall to insulation and what materials can be saved or just need to be replaced. Contact water damage professionals to quickly evaluate your situation. The flood line of the house is usually easy to notice as a dirt line is left after the waters recede.
Remove all the debris from removing the damaged walls up to above the flood line. If possible, rent a dumpster or plan for several truckloads of lost materials depending on the flood levels. Sweep down the walls and remove the dust and grit from inside your home. While the electricity and gas are turned off, consider hosing down the remaining surfaces of your home with a garden hose. It was already wet once, so the damage is done. Hosing out the silt and some of the bacteria can make cleaning up a bit easier.
Spray cleaning products to disinfect the bacteria in the whole house. A bleach solution, household cleaning products, or commercial-grade chemicals can help keep mold, mildew, or other contaminants at bay.
If the weather permits, open the windows and doors to let the air circulate. It can also let the sun help dry out the house. Use household fans or carpet dryer fans to move the air across the remaining hard surfaces including lumber or hardwoods. Hardwood floors might be salvageable, check with a professional regarding what can be saved or not. Ventilate as much as you can.
If you need to close up the house while trying to dehumidify, for whatever reason, use a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers can be expensive to buy, but you may be able to rent one from cleanup professionals.
Using a moisture meter, make sure that all your wooden surfaces are at 16% moisture content or less. Mold growth is the concern here, so once you have checked for acceptable moisture content, consider spraying a mold control spray on all surfaces before you begin rebuilding.
Keep safety at the forefront of your mind as you complete these five steps. Remove only what is damaged and then clean up before ventilating and dehumidifying. Verify that everything is dry and follow up with a mold inhibitor before you rebuild. Don’t hesitate to contact our team at GW Savage to help you in assessing the situation. Our team of experienced professionals is ready 24/7 for any emergency and will give you the results you deserve.