WHAT TO DO AFTER A NATURAL DISASTER FLOOD
After the waters have receded, emergency officials have given permission to re-enter your home and you know your loved ones are safe, here are some next steps…
- Take photos and/or videos for use as an inventory and record of damage and loss.
- Damage can be added when found.
- Keep damaged materials (as appropriate - check with your insurance agent) for proof of loss.
Flood Insurance Claims
If you have flood insurance, contact your insurance adjuster immediately
If you do not have flood insurance, your homeowner’s insurance likely will not cover the loss.
If the flood has been declared a federal disaster by the President, you may be able to secure FEMA assistance:
When to Call Floors Etc.
If your flooring was damaged in a natural disaster flood. Floors Etc. can help.
We've helped clients through Harvey, the Tax Day Floods. Ike, Allison and more.
We understand floors and insurance comanies.
Clean Up - Don't Wait
Begin cleanup, salvage, and drying as soon as possible (Do not wait for your adjuster as it could take weeks for him/her to meet with you.).
Safety Tips for Clean Up and Salvage
- When cleaning, wear a mask, gloves and coveralls to minimize exposure to possible hazardous materials
- Open all the windows and doors to the home to allow airflow into the house, safely starting the drying process.
- Never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia or vinegar.
- Mold can be a hazardous result from a flood.
If mold is present
- Consider a professional service that specializes in post-flood cleanup
- Wear a mask that can filter spores.
- Be sure all electric and gas services are turned off before entering the premises for the first time.
- Download and carefully review the publication, “Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment,” by NEMA.org.
- Have an electrician check for grounds and other unsafe conditions before reconnecting the system
- Use battery-powered light sources.
- Check for fire hazards and gas leaks.
Dress to Protect
Wear sturdy shoes, rubber gloves, and eye protection.
Rely on Bottled Water for Everything
Until your local water company, utility, or public health department declares your water source safe, purify your water, not only for drinking and cooking, but also for washing any part of the body or dishes.
Watch for Critters
Flood waters bring them out - be watchful for fire ants, snakes, or other animals - then steer clear!
The Danger Persists After the Rain Stops
Make sure that everyone is out of danger of new flood crests, fire, and falling buildings.
- Remove any mud, debris or silt that still may be on the hardwood floor.
- Carefully use shovels to remove the top layer of mud and then use plastic dustpans to help remove the lower layers of mud.
- The dustpan’s plastic edges will reduce the likelihood of more scratches being introduced into the floor
- Use a non-abrasive brush and detergent that doesn’t suds up and scrub the cracks and surfaces of the hardwood floor.
- Rinse with clear water.
- Once you’ve been given the “OK” to turn back on your power, turn on the air units, furnace, heaters, etc. – until the temperature of the home reaches between 75 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you’re working with a flood restoration company, large heaters or special fans and dehumidifiers might be brought in and hooked up to a safe external power, like a generator, to help dry out your home.
- If you have a crawl space, the NWFA recommends you use exhaust fans.
- If you have a basement, the National Wood Flooring Association recommends drying the floor from below.
- Leave things this way until the flooring flattens out back to its normal state.
- Let Floors Etc. determine the extent of the damage.
- Boards may be cupped or crowned, separated completely from the finish, warping or buckling.
- You may also find mold beginning to grow or mold that has found its way in under some of the finish.
- This might require replacing some or all of your floor – Floors Etc. will assess your flooring damage for you.
- A professional abatement company might be required to eradicate the mold growth.
- The entire drying and cleaning processes can take weeks or months before the wood to return to normal moisture levels and the hardwood floor restored (if restoration is even possible – replacement might be your only option depending on the level of damage).
- The types of subfloors you have will play a factor in drying times.
- Full repairs and installations should not begin until all of the flooring is within normal moisture limits.
- You may be working with several people doing several different things to your home at once.
Floors Etc. Pro Tip
The National Wood Flooring Association strongly urges you to resist giving into any pressure to make any quick fixes to your hardwood floor.
- Remove water-logged rugs, carpets, and pads within 24 to 48 hours after flooding subsides (this is assuming you are safely able to enter your home – PLEASE do not enter your home until it has been deemed safe to do so!).
- Flooded carpet pads should always be discarded and replaced.
- Floors Etc. recommends that all flooded carpets and rugs be replaced since flood water may contain harmful contaminants.
- If salvage is attempted, spread out rugs and carpets outdoors. Hose off. If soiled, have professionally cleaned.
- Dry the carpet and subfloor thoroughly as quickly as possible. If carpet is installed damp, it can mildew.
- Carpet might shrink, but Floors Etc. may be able to stretch it – we will tell you up front if we think this is possible.
A FEW ETCs...
- If an upholstered furniture piece is deemed too valuable to part with, have it assessed by a professional to see if it can be safely salvaged.
- Hose off any mud, clean, sanitize and let dry completely out of direct sunlight.
- A professional furniture restoration company might be required.
It is recommended to discard flood-contaminated wooden cutting boards and spoons, plastic utensils, baby bottles, nipples, and pacifiers. Thoroughly wash and sanitize metal and ceramic pans, utensils, and dishes. If unsure, it always safest to discard.