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How to repair a water damaged home

Household 3 min read

Flooding can come from various sources: overflowing rivers, storm surges, excessive rain, a ruptured dam, ice melting rapidly in the mountains, or a burst pipe in winter. But whatever the cause, the damage can be devastating when large amounts of water enter your home. And when you have a flooded house, the repair process can be long and expensive.

Water damage repair takes time. Learn the crucial steps and coping mechanisms that can help when repairing your flooded home.

Tips for flooded house repair

Dry out the water damage

The first step is to call your local disaster recovery team to remove any soaked carpet or furniture and set up industrial fans to dry the place out. Removing wet items is essential to the drying-out process. Turn up the heat or air conditioning, depending on what time of year it is; otherwise, open the windows. Do anything you can to get the moisture out. It would help if you took every precaution to protect your home from further deterioration due to mold and excess moisture.

Ask your disaster recovery team members if they recommend an antimicrobial wash for any surfaces. Learn more about what to do after a flood in your home.

Contact your insurance company

This brings me to my next point, which is crucial too: call your insurance company. Get your insurer to send an adjuster as soon as possible to assess the flood damage inside the house. The adjuster will also document that you have taken steps to dry the place out. Work closely with them — they’re your best adviser, advocate, and friend right now. Learn about how to prepare for disaster insurance claims.

Inspect for mold and wait for test results

Once the insurance adjuster has had a good look at the place and the fans have dried out the moisture, have an inspector take samples from the remaining drywall and ceiling surfaces. These can be tested at a lab to determine if any black mold spores are present. Black mold can grow inside the walls without you knowing, leading to serious health issues.

Don’t start any water damage repairs until you know if mold spores are present. Test results can take a few days, but there’s no point in starting reconstruction until you know how much of the remaining drywall you’ll need to remove. Learn more about how to remove mold from your home.

Begin repairing your flooded home

Once you’re given the green light on the mold situation, you can begin the reconstruction process. At this point, your insurance company may have determined how much they’re prepared to pay out.

Find a holding zone and set up a living space

We used the guest room to stack up as much furniture as we could. Sealing the door kept the dust at bay here, too. Add phone numbers for your favorite takeout restaurants to your speed dial. And get ready for everything to taste like paint and drywall dust. If you’re staying inside your flooded house during repairs, brace yourself for life on a construction site.

Put up dust barriers between work zones and living areas. There will be dust and paint fumes for quite some time, so cover any vents in the construction area. If you skip this step, dust and fumes will circulate throughout the property despite any attempts to seal them off.

Consider upgrades carefully

Anyone who has lived through a renovation knows that the design decisions, material selections, and negotiation details can be exhausting — even for a designer. You might not realize how much that big-box-store light fixture bothered you until you hire an electrician to rehang it. Renovating your home could be an ideal time for upgrades and updates. But beware — this can be a very slippery slope, so know where to draw the line.

For example, this former wet bar was best left behind in the ’80s. We decided to remove the sink and create a storage nook for books. And since we had to repair the ceiling, there was no time like the present to bring it into the 21st century and get rid of that stippled surface. And thus, the slippery slope began. Learn about how home insurance covers renovations.

Check in on progress regularly

I made a few trips to see how repairs to my flooded house were progressing. Be prepared to travel several times to approve paint selections and materials on the site for final approval. Anything can go wrong if you have not prepared yourself to follow through on the design details to ensure a great outcome. If you’ve had the misfortune of repairing water damage inside a flooded house, take heart. Here you can see our result — a relaxed beach home we love even more than before.

Review home insurance coverages

When we initially took out our homeowners insurance policy, we considered all the furniture and personal belongings. We didn’t think they’d add up to very much. Learn more about Progressive’s home insurance coverages including water back-up coverage — that can protect against water damage to your home.

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