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Flood Damage Dos and Donts From the Experts

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Flood Damage Dos and Donts From the Experts

Assess the Damage

The first thing I do after a flood is thoroughly assess the damage. This allows me to understand the full scope of the restoration required.

I walk through each room and make notes on aspects like:

  • Water lines on the walls indicating the height the water reached
  • Standing water that remains in any rooms or appliances
  • Mud or sediment deposited around the house
  • Structural damage like warped floors or drywall

I also consult professionals as needed. For example, I’ll call in an electrician to ensure the electrical system is safe before turning power back on.

Thoroughly assessing flood damage helps me prioritize which areas need immediate attention. It also provides the necessary details when filing insurance claims. Rushing into cleaning before fully understanding the damage can actually hinder the claims process.

Document the Damage

I diligently document the flood damage with photographs and videos. This provides proof for insurance claims.

Important things I capture in my documentation:

  • Date stamps on all photos to prove when the damage occurred
  • Water lines on walls and furniture
  • Major structural damage like cracks in foundations
  • Destroyed personal property like furniture and electronics

I take photos from multiple angles to fully represent the damage. Close-up, wide shots, and everything in between offers adjusters a clear picture.

Documenting damage proves losses for insurance and may help secure additional funds for repairs or replacing belongings. Thorough photo and video evidence is crucial.

Dry Out the Property

Once I’ve assessed and documented the damage, drying out the property is a top priority. Lingering moisture can lead to mold growth in as little as 48 hours.

Here are effective drying techniques I rely on:

  • Open windows and doors to encourage air circulation
  • Position fans throughout the house to facilitate evaporation
  • Remove soaked materials like carpets, drywall, and insulation
  • Use dehumidifiers and consider renting commercial-grade drying equipment

I also hire water damage specialists for large-scale drying projects. They have the powerful equipment needed for quick and thorough results.

Acting quickly to dry flood-affected areas helps prevent further damage from moisture and limits mold growth. This restores the home faster.

Sanitize Flooded Areas

After drying flooded areas, I sanitize with disinfectants to ensure a clean and safe living environment. Floodwaters harbor pathogenic bacteria and mold growth.

My flood sanitization process includes:

  • Wearing proper PPE – gloves, goggles, masks, and protective clothing
  • Removing porous materials like drywall and insulation
  • Disinfecting hard surfaces with antibacterial and antimicrobial cleaners
  • Using chlorine bleach solution (1 cup bleach per 1 gallon of water) to sanitize and inhibit mold
  • Hiring professional remediation services for HVAC ductwork sanitization

I wash all exposed areas thoroughly, paying special attention to hidden spots like behind cabinets and under sinks where contaminants lurk. This sanitization removes health hazards and prevents lingering odors.

Make Repairs

Once the property is thoroughly dried and sanitized, I can shift focus to repairing the structural damage.

For minor DIY projects, I:

  • Replace drywall and insulation
  • Repaint cleaned walls and woodwork
  • Refinish floors that warped but are salvageable

For major repairs, I hire specialized contractors to:

  • Replace electrical and plumbing systems
  • Level foundations and rebuild walls
  • Install new flooring if structural damage is beyond refinishing

I work with my insurance company throughout the process to ensure all completed work meets their requirements.

Making the right repairs returns the property back to a livable and safe condition. Hiring professionals for major projects ensures quality results.

Replace Belongings

The final step is to replace personal belongings damaged beyond repair. This includes furniture, electronics, clothing, and more.

I take inventory of irreplaceable items and submit them to my insurance company. I provide receipts, photos, or video evidencing destroyed belongings to support reimbursement.

For basic replacing needs, I:

  • Buy new furniture as needed for bedrooms, living spaces, etc.
  • Replace electronics like TVs, laptops, and kitchen appliances
  • Shop for new clothing and shoes since floodwaters destroy fabrics

Taking time to replace possessions restores a sense of normalcy after the stress of flood damage. And insurance reimbursements help cover these significant costs.

Learn From the Experience

Any time I experience a flood, I take away lessons to be better prepared for future events.

Some key takeaways include:

  • Purchasing flood insurance for vulnerable properties
  • Installing drainage systems to divert water away from structures
  • Elevating HVAC and utilities above base flood levels
  • Keeping an emergency preparedness kit with supplies and documentation
  • Learning water damage mitigation techniques

I also analyze what factors caused the flood on my property specifically, like proximity to rising rivers or inadequate lot grading. This allows me to address vulnerabilities through landscaping or foundation modifications.

Each flood provides an opportunity to limit damages in the future. I learn from the experience to strengthen resilience.


Recovering from a flood starts with thoroughly assessing and documenting damage. I focus next on drying and sanitizing the property before mold and bacteria take hold. Making necessary repairs and replacing possessions restores the home’s pre-flood state. I also analyze the factors that led to flooding on my property to implement preventative measures. Following these flood damage dos and don’ts facilitates effective restoration and improved preparedness. With each event, I gain experience and resilience for minimizing damages from future flooding.

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