What To Do After Water Damage

Recovering after experiencing severe water damage can be daunting. Depending on the cause of your damage, be it a flood or broken pipe, you might find yourself having to remove mold, rip out floorboards, tear down walls, replace sidings, or completely overhaul your basement. It might seem like the list of damaged areas needing renovation is neverending. 

What To Do After Water Damage

You could try to force yourself into finding the silver lining of your situation. After all, experts all agree there’s a psychological benefit to decluttering your home. What’s more decluttered than a house ravaged by water damage!

But in all seriousness, as traumatic as severe water damage is, you can recover from it. And in many cases, your house will end up even more beautiful once you’ve managed all your repairs. 

Here are some tips and steps to take in order to fully recover after experiencing severe water damage. 

Call Your Insurance Company

No matter the cause of your severe water damage, you should reach out to your insurance company immediately. This will lead to them sending over an estimator to determine the value of the damage, and how much your insurance will pay out accordingly

Beyond the physical damage to your actual home, you’ll want to keep a list of valuable items that might have been damaged or destroyed by your water damage, as that can be applied to your insurance claim as well. 

But it’s unlikely that your insurance company will immediately appear at your home. In the meantime, you will need to take steps to minimize the damage and begin your rebuilding. 

Take Safety Precautions

Before taking part in any cleanup attempts, you need to take some safety precautions. First things first, you will want to make sure that the power has been turned off in your home. Water and electricity do not mix, so you’ll want to make sure that you’ve addressed that potential hazard before taking any further steps. 

Once the power is off, assess the area. Examine the walls and ceilings of your home, and make sure that everything is still structurally sound. If you see sagging floorboards or sagging ceilings, stay away and wait for the professionals. 

But if the property seems relatively safe, you can take some initial steps to minimize the eventual damage with some initial cleanup steps. 

Begin Initial Cleanup Immediately

Assuming you’ve already found, and stopped your water source, you’ll want to take a few immediate steps to limit the damage. First, pick up everything that is wet on the floor and move it to a dry, safe place. 

Once you’ve cleared the area, try everything the best that you can. Use any clean towels and (if you have one) a wet vac to try to remove as much moisture as possible. 

Now clean your floors. Yes, it seems strange to use MORE water when you’re trying to clean up from water damage, but water damage often brings dirt, mold, and other contaminants with it. Clean up the area as best you can, dry everything off again, and if the damage is truly severe, you should be bringing in the professionals.

Bring in Professionals

Now, you should call a professional cleaning company as soon as you’ve finished talking with your insurance provider, but as they likely won’t come right away, your initial efforts will help limit the damage as you wait for their arrival. 

And as soon as you bring in a cleaning company, you should also hire a contractor. If you are recovering from a flood, we’d recommend anyone with storm response experience, but the goal is to have a professional assess the damage to make the proper repairs. 

This will likely involve the inclusion of an electrical contractor, and possibly an HVAC specialist as well. At this point, the restoration of your property is largely out of your hands. 

That said, here’s the work you should expect to see done on your home. 

Replace Flooring

It’s almost certain that your flooring will be irreparably damaged, so their replacement will be one of the first steps your contractor takes. Floorboards, laminate flooring, carpeting, and tiles all absorb water, which causes them to warp and bend when oversaturated. 

They also can take in dangerous mold that can cause health problems if not taken care of. All of that means that replacing your flooring is almost a certainty whenever you’ve experienced severe water damage. 

While you might not be enthusiastic about the idea of paying to replace your flooring, you can always use this as an opportunity. Maybe your home previously had carpeting from the 70s that you weren’t exactly a fan of. Now you can start from scratch, and install new flooring that fits your style and makes your home shine!  

Replace Walls and Insulation

Walls are another area that likely will be irreparably damaged in the case of a major water event. Drywall and insulation are porous materials that soak up moisture, which can be a breeding ground for mold. 

The contractor you’ve hired will likely have to open up your walls, remove the drywall and insulation, and replace the damaged areas. 

By this point, you’ve likely restored your home to its former glory, minus one key area.

Renovate Basement

If you live in a home with one, you’ll likely find the most severe damage happening in your basement. Water tends to flow down and ends up pooling in your basement. That might require you to completely tear out the basement and replace it with mold-resistant drywall and other materials to increase its defenses against future water damage incidents. 

However, that might not always be the case. Sometimes a flooded basement can be fixed through basic restoration and mold removal services.

Suffering severe water damage can be a traumatic and frustrating experience. But even if you experience the worst-case scenario, you can recover from the damage. By salvaging what you can, and bringing in the right professionals, you can restore your home and your peace of mind.


About Woodard Cleaning & Restoration

Woodard Cleaning & Restoration was founded in 1946 by Earl and Nancy Woodard. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Woodard services the greater metro area (Illinois, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, St. Louis County, and many more). Woodard is proud to serve as the preferred provider for cleaning & restoration services. Our cleaning services include carpet, hard surface, furniture, and rug cleaning for both residential and commercial properties. We also provide water, fire, board-up, storm and smoke restoration services for residential and commercial clients. For information or questions submit a form online or call us at 314-227-3932.

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Updated 2/12/2021