Dealing with Flood Damage

Just one week ago, Hurricane Sandy tore through the East Coast, leaving destruction to homes and businesses in her path. Even if you were not in one of the hardest hit areas, your home may still have experienced flooding due to the intense heavy rains. And with an expected Nor-easter expected to impact the mid-Atlantic with strong winds and heavy rain in just a few days, homeowners may once again find themselves contending with a flooded basement. There’s still time to prepare, but if you aren’t able to take preventative measures prior to the storm, here’s what to do if your basement leaks.

1. Determine the Damage

Once the rain has subsided, assess any flooding damage and try to salvage whatever you can. The sooner things are dry, the better. Even appliances like your hot water heater may have to be replaced if they’ve been exposed to high water. Once any water has been removed, you will need to replace any insulation or carpeting in order to stop any mold or mildew from growing.

2. Record Your Loses

Documentation is key when assessing any water damage in your home. Make a list of everything you’ve lost, and, if possible, provide pictures.

Along with this list, be sure to add the approximate value to each item.

This documentation is important to provide to your insurance company as well as the IRS. Federal tax deductions may be claimed by those who have suffered through a flood or other disaster.

For more information on possible federal tax deductions please visit this page on the IRS website.

3. Time to Clean Up

Having the correct tools is important to cleaning up any area affected by water damage. If your basement is prone to flooding, here are some items you should stock up on prior to the coming storm:

·Rags / Towels and Sponges
·A cleaning solution of 1 tbs. bleach to 1 gallon of water
·A mop
·Rubber gloves
·A broom
·Extra strength trash bags

4. Get Your Basement Dry ASAP

While using buckets may seem like a logical choice, the most efficient way to remove water is with the help of a sump pump. If there is too much water in your home and a sump pump is simply not going to be effective, be sure to call a professional waterproofing contractor for assistance.

5. Prevent Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are two of the most significant problems that result when flooding isn’t dealt with quickly and effectively. For carpeted basements, use a wet vac or other vacuum to get rid of the water immediately. For other types of flooring, clean up as much water as you can, and then turn on fans to dry your floors entirely.

Walls are another place where mold can appear. Clean all plaster, cinder block, or concrete walls with warm, soapy water, then disinfect with bleach and water. Drywall and insulation tend to hold on to moisture, so if the damage is significant, they must be taken down and replaced in order to stop any further damage.

Effectively cleaning up after a flood is vital. If the damage to your home is severe, be sure to contact a professional. There are also important tips on the Red Cross website (including this very helpful pdf booklet produced by FEMA and the American Red Cross). If your home is prone to leaks and flooding after heavy rains or snow, we recommend having your basement inspected.

Ameri-Dry Waterproofing

With over 30 years of basement waterproofing experience, Ameri-Dry offers patented, permanently dry systems that are backed by a full lifetime warranty. For more information about Ameri-Dry and Ameri-Dry Guy, visit

Photo credits: Top © Sheri Armstrong / Fotolia. Second © Amy Walters / Fotolia. Third © Mytho / Fotolia.  Bottom © Monkey Business /Fotolia.


  1. Megan Earl says:

    Dealing with flood damage is something that no one wants to have to do. If you don’t waterproof your basement, though, you’re a lot more likely to have to deal with this problem. I liked the tips you gave about preventing mold and mildew by getting rid of the water as soon as you can. Great post!

  2. Justin Knox says:

    A friend’s basement flooded recently, and it made me realize that I need to focus on waterproofing my own. I am hoping that I can prevent damage like this if I take the right steps now. What would you suggest is the first step to waterproofing?

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