The sight of a flooded basement can be overwhelming, causing many a homeowner to shake their head in disbelief. How did this happen? How do I fix it? Where do I start?
Before you step foot into the dangerous waters filling your basement, you must learn exactly what you’re dealing with.
Step 1: Turn Off The Power.
This is the most important step. If you can’t get to your electrical panel without stepping into the water, call either an electrician or your electric company. Under no circumstances should you step into the basement water. Electrical appliances and outlets can turn standing water into a death trap.
Step 2: Protect Yourself
The water floating through your basement is not clean. It is therefore best to dress appropriately. Depending on the water level, wear either a pair of hip-waders or waterproofed shoes. Rubber gloves are a must, and if you suspect sewage, a face mask and goggles are also recommended.
Step 3: Remove Everything
It’s time to start emptying your basement. Everything, including carpeting and furniture, must be removed. During the process determine what is salvageable. Take salvageable items to an area, such as a garage or outdoor deck where they can dry.
Items such as area rugs, kids’ toys, work out equipment, and tools can easily be cleaned, sanitized, and dried.
Flooded carpet and padding most often can not be saved, while soft furniture, such as a sofa, can hold dirty water. Take extra care when cleaning and sanitizing these types of items.
Step 4: Remove Standing Water
It is safe to assume that if you have a sump pump, it has somehow failed. If you’re able to repair or replace the sump pump it will help in removing dirty water. If not, you can rent a floor pump. Old school solutions include siphoning or using a bucket to scoop out and remove water.
Once the majority of the water is out, you can switch to a mop and bucket to continue the process. A squeegee is also helpful in moving water into one location.
Step 5: Dry The Area
Once the standing water is removed, it’s time to begin the drying process. You are going to need fans and lots of them. Construction heaters are also helpful, as are dehumidifiers. The goal is to get the basement completely dry. Expect this to take a minimum of two to three days.
Step 6: Wash and Sanitize Everything
At the start of this step, examine your basement walls and floors. Look for swollen, bulging, crumbling, or moldy drywall or flooring. If needed, remove the damaged items, exposing all or part of the wall studs or concrete.
Scrub floors and walls with warm soapy water. Pay particular attention to cracks, crevices, and corners. Be sure to change to clean soapy water often. Once the basement is clean, allow it to dry thoroughly.
Walls and floors can be sanitized using 1/2 cup bleach to one gallon of water. Use either a mop or spray bottle to sanitize every wall and the floor surface. Allow to dry completely.
Step 7: Repairing The Damage
Be sure to learn and remedy the cause of your flood to avoid a repeat prior to beginning any repair work.
Once your basement is dry, clean, and sanitized and the cause is corrected, you can begin to repair the damage caused by the flood.