Flooding. In Baton Rouge, it’s a terrible word that more and more folks have to live through. With all of the flooding that has happened recently, we wanted to provide a quick guide for the 8 things to do after a flood.
- Call the insurance company
If you experience a flood in your home, the very first thing you need to do is call your insurance company. Alert them and make sure they don’t have a set flood cleanup protocol they want you to follow.
- Document the damage
Before the flood cleanup, be sure to take pictures and/or videos. This documentation will be important when working with the insurance company or Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Make sure you have a date stamp on these pictures and video. (Check your app store for apps that will do this for you) The more information you can give when making a claim, the better off you will be in the long run.
- Remove soaked and water-damaged items
Start removing the water-damaged items from the home. Remove the furniture that was exposed to the water, the carpeting, as well as the padding. If you have wood flooring, you will probably need to remove that as well.
If the water rose over the baseboards, you will need to remove the baseboards and cut the sheetrock. The most important part of this process is removing the insulation that was behind the sheetrock. You will probably have to remove 6″ or more above the actual waterline because the insulation soaks up the water like a paper towel.
- Start sweeping out
Now that you are down to studs and concrete, it’s time to start cleaning out. Sweep out the silt and other debris. You may even want to hose it out. It has already gotten wet, and hosing it out may help to flush out some of the bacteria. Remember, floodwaters sometimes have sewage, and who knows what else. Blech!
It’s time to treat the areas to kill the bacteria. You can use something like Microban, or a bleach solution. Be sure to wear your PPE, gloves, goggles, etc., while doing your flood cleanup. Spray down the studs and the slab liberally.
- Dry your home
Start the process of drying out. This will take a few days, don’t rush it. You may even want to hire a professional company to help you with this process. Some of those companies are ServPro, Paul Davis Restoration, and United Fire and Water.
If you can’t get one of the professional companies out to help, start the DIY process by drying things out. If the sun is out, open the windows and doors, and set out fans. Box fans or carpet fans will do the trick. If you can’t leave the doors and windows open, you will need to check into renting a dehumidifier.
Make sure everything is dry before starting to close things up. Using a moisture meter is your best bet. Make certain the moisture content is 16% or less. The worst thing you can do is close things up with moisture still in the studs.
- Prevent mold growth
Once things are dry, spray them down with a mold control. Something like Bora-Care that you can spray yourself. This product will help prevent mold from forming after you have closed up the wall.
It’s now time for you to re-insulate and close up the walls with new sheetrock. If you need to hire a contractor, please get referrals and do your due diligence. Be very wary of contractors knocking door to door. Make sure they are licensed, insured, and bonded. Unfortunately, after every flood, we hear of evil people taking advantage of homeowners in need.
- Protect yourself
Remember, please wear your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) while doing flood cleanup. Your health is essential, and the last thing you need is to get sick during this very stressful time.
A final word
We are hurting for you, and our prayers go out to you if you are going through the aftermath of a flood. If we can help in any way, please let us know.