Few things are more stressful and disgusting than basement flooding. Whether it’s one inch or one foot of water, the effects can be detrimental to your home. And while damage to things like carpet, drywall, and furniture are immediately noticeable, something more serious could be lurking underneath your floors.
Five things to do after basement flooding
Whether it’s just a couple of inches of water or a few feet, you must respond quickly to basement flooding. Here are a few things you’ll need to do:
Kill the power
If there’s standing water in your basement, then you shouldn’t attempt to walk or wade through until you’ve shut off the power and made sure that open circuits aren’t covered by water. This can obviously be an electrocution hazard and isn’t something you want to mess with.
If you’re unsure of whether the electricity is cut off, can’t get to the circuit board, or simply don’t feel comfortable with the situation, then don’t attempt to go anywhere near the water.
Get rid of the standing water
The next order of business is to get rid of the water. The longer the water sits in your basement, the more damage it will cause. Make sure you put on a pair of sturdy shoes or boots and pants that cover your legs. You never know what’s lurking underneath the water and don’t want to risk hurting yourself.
If the standing water is high, your first step is to get a bucket and start manually removing the water (be sure to dump far away from the home’s foundation). Once you extract most of the water, you can use a wet vacuum to suck up the moisture from the floor.
Call in the professionals
Once the standing water is removed, you should call in the professionals to take a look. Depending on the extent of the damage and how meticulous you want to be, this may include calls to an electrician, a flood cleanup crew, and a general contractor.
Any carpeting or absorbent materials that were affected will need to be ripped up or replaced. If appliances spent any time sitting in the water, they should be looked at by a professional before being used.
Call your insurance providers
Once all of the time-sensitive issues have been handled, take a few minutes to call your insurance provider to let them know about the problem. If the flooding happened as a result of one of your home’s plumbing systems, then your home insurance policy may cover some or all of the damage. However, if the flooding was the result of a natural disaster, then you’ll most likely need flood insurance. Regardless, place a couple of phone calls to see what can be done.
Protect your home
As soon as everything gets repaired and restored, you should begin taking proactive steps to protect your home from similar issues in the future. The ground next to your basement and foundation should slope away from the home. Gutters and downspouts should slope away too while discharging water a minimum of five feet away from the home. All windows and vents should be sealed and your basement walls should be waterproofed with an appropriate product. If flooding is common, consider installing special French drains or even a sump-pump.
How basement flooding affects your foundation
“The costs to fix basement floods and their damage vary significantly depending on how much water infiltrated the foundation and how much of your property was damaged,” says Doug Bonderud of Angie’s List. “A minor flood with several inches of water could cost $10,000 to repair, whereas a more substantial flood could cost between $25,000 and $50,000 to remediate. The length of time the water sat also affects the price to repair the flooded basement, because of mold issues.”
Unfortunately, these costs are just talking about cosmetic issues and surface level problems like furniture, flooring, drywall, and paint. In serious flooding situations, your foundation may also be impacted. While this certainly isn’t an ideal situation, it can be remediated as well.
When floodwaters rapidly move towards your home, they may push on the sides of your home and weaken the structure. At times, this can separate the structure from the foundation. As water penetrates into the earth surrounding the foundation, any pilings that aren’t built into load-bearing strata risk moving, breaking, or shifting.
Intense flooding obviously poses the greatest risk to your foundation. Water traveling at just 10 mph brings the same force as wind traveling at speeds in excess of 270 mph. You don’t need anyone to tell you that this isn’t good.
Signs of foundation damage include doors and windows that don’t shut properly, new cracks in walls, ceilings, and floorboards, visible shifting of the home’s structure, sloping floors, and gaps between the walls, floor, and ceiling.
If you notice any of these signs, then it’s important that you call a licensed and certified home foundation specialist as soon as possible. They can confirm the damage and develop a strategic plan that allows you to restore your home’s foundation in a quick and reasonable manner.
Give Summit Environmental Solutions a call
The foundation is the single most important aspect of your home. It’s the thing that every other element is built upon and you can’t afford to sit back and hope things will get better. Foundation damage will not correct itself. If anything, the untreated damage will only get worse.
At Summit Environmental Solutions, we serve the foundation repair needs of northern Virginia and would love the opportunity to work with you. We’ve been in business for more than 30 years and are proudly committed to intelligence and integrity. In fact, we are so confident in our trustworthiness that we even recommend customers hire a third-party structural engineer to evaluate the situation for themselves.
If you suspect that your property may have foundation issues — whether from basement flooding or any other number of causes — please pick up the phone and call us today. We’d be happy to provide you with a free consultation and estimate!