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-   -   Cleaning up after flood (http://www.houserepairtalk.com/f114/cleaning-up-after-flood-15004/)

nealtw 10-31-2012 12:28 PM

Cleaning up after flood
 
Your house now may contain
Mud, sand, mold, gasoline, pcbs, asbastos, lead paint, prety much any bad crap that comes to mind.
You will need proper clothing just to inspect the house, boots, coveralls gloves, breathing filter. Take a camera with you.
Do not enter a building with obvious structural dammage until you are sure that it is safe to do so.
Turn off the gas at the meter.
Turning off the power is a little tricky. Standing in mud and turning off the main may be dangerous. Perhaps a dry piece of wood to get some distance.

Everything in the house that got wet is contaminated and needs to be removed. Salt water distroys electronics, fridge, stove, TV,
After removing all the mud and funiture and carpets,
Drywall and insulation must be removed well above the high tide marks on the wall and yes that includes behind kithcen cupboards.
Exterior doors are often packed with insulation around the frame and should be removed and allowed to dry, may be salvagable.
Rince everthing down with a hose when water is available and pressure washing is better if you can.
Hard wood floor a distroyed and should be removed sooner is better than later and lamminents need to go asap.
Just like a new house, this wants to stand open to dry out.

reubenbanks 04-23-2013 04:39 AM

After watching flooding we all have to struggled with what to do next. but your tips and suggestions help me very much. Thanks for the Help.

bud16415 02-20-2014 06:21 AM

Floods come in all degrees and I’m assuming Neal is describing the worst case like we see so much after a hurricane. I often hear people tell me they had a flood and it was just basement involvement with an inch or so of standing water. This can also be devastating but also something within the scope of a DIY cleanup. Total involvement is going to at least initially require some professional help.

I think time is of the essence with the really bad stuff like mold and such forming along with outside temp. I think step one in any major flood would be to contact the utilities and don’t even think of turning off the power yourself at the main. Let the utility at minimum pull the meter and the gas company turn off the supply outside the house. At some point pumping out water will be required and that can’t start until water has receded. In a major flood if I was planning on doing the work myself I would be looking to get a dumpster on site as soon as I had the bulk of the water out. Insurance will be involved if you have it and will be calling a lot of the shots also. Portable power and possibly heat will be next, work lighting etc. all stuff most DIYers don’t have. As Neal mentioned a good camera to document everything will be very important and keep in mind if it’s your home all that might be destroyed in the flood. A good reason to document a home before anything goes bad and keep the information in a safe remote location.

I was struck by the contrast comparing the stories coming out of the North Eastern states recently and even one member here we haven’t heard from in a while and the southern states a few years back when faced with very similar problems. I saw far more reports from the east coast of homeowners and neighbors jumping in and gutting the houses and cleaning them up and moving back in even without drywall up yet. Piles of debris on the streets being quickly removed and life getting back to somewhat normal despite the cold temps. The southern states seemed to linger in that devastation much longer and the cleanup seemed much slower and less DIY. I’m not suggesting any cause of the difference just that I observed it.

On a precautionary note as most here know I love living in century old houses and something I have noticed at least in the more rural settings is these old home locations were more carefully chosen. Maybe because there wasn’t the overcrowding and maybe because construction wasn’t as water tight as today. Every home we looked at over the last few years to buy I took a hard look at location and water tables etc. Everyone would be wise to do that IMO. I used to spend a lot of time down on Hilton Head Island and in talking with folks down there most everything built there came after WWII and the old timers will talk of the 100 year storm that always reshaped the landscape. That is a really beautiful place and I can see why so many want to live there and over the last 35 years it has become such a busy place I don’t have the desire to go there like I once did. But I keep thinking of the 100 year storm thing. It’s just one low costal area of 100s if not 1000s that have similar issues just one I have watched grow over the years.

Just curious Neal what prompted you to start this thread? I have had a few minor floods I have dealt with over the years and hope I never see a major one, but it’s good to think about and maybe even plan ahead for all kinds of disasters, major and minor. Our neighbor just bought a small generator and we have been talking about some ways to implement one for a few days or a week in a power outage without breaking the bank. He offered to bring me over a power cord in an emergency as we are on the same power pole. After having the furnace go out this winter for just 12 hours till I could repair it was a little taste of the feeling of the heat being sucked out of the house. I’m looking at back up heat source that doesn’t require electric and also a small gen that could keep a few things going and plan ahead on how to best do that. Sure I would love a whole house backup but that’s going to have to wait a while for funding.


Great Thread

nealtw 02-20-2014 07:45 AM

Floods happen anywhere, I wrote this after seeing a house on a mountain that had the bad luck to be lose to a street drain that plugged up. Over ran the ditch and wased out a burm and filled the house about 3 ft with water. After the water was removed they had about a foot of mud.

Still not as bad as the guy with a house at the bottom of the street when the sewer main plugged up and the basement filled up with all the flushing up the street for somewhere close to two weeks while he was out of town.

bud16415 02-20-2014 08:10 AM

Yes they can happen anyplace there is rain or water. Erie sits on a slope as does all the area around the Great Lakes for around 30 miles back where the divide is and the water flows south and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico. Around here I have seen the storm drain system overwhelmed and man hole covers blown into the air with geyser force.

My worry is this spring after the deep freeze and abundant snow fall we are going to see a lot of flooding. Around here if we get a rapid thaw the ice breaks up fed by the snow melt and the ice will catch and make dams everyplace. Our one railroad crossing has a nice size creek running thru two culverts that are close to 30 foot in diameter, 100 times at least what the creek flow would ever be. As a kid I asked my dad why they made them so big and he said they knew what they were doing 100 years ago and how much ice 20 miles of creek could produce. I don’t see anything like that being built today for similar amounts of water.

Most winters we get a few thaws and we just had a little one yesterday. Everyone we get will help before the weather really warms up.

Did the guy you mentioned at the bottom of the street put in and alarm or anything after his flood. Sounds like that neighborhood wasn’t designed too well.

nealtw 02-20-2014 05:31 PM

Did the guy you mentioned at the bottom of the street put in and alarm or anything after his flood. Sounds like that neighborhood wasn’t designed too well.

The one with the backed up toilet was on TV. (dirtyest jobs) I think.

Wuzzat? 02-20-2014 05:43 PM

And if your basement is full of water and you drain it too fast the basement walls may collapse inward.

I guess to figure out how slow to drain, dig a borehole outside as deep as your basement is below grade and then don't have the basement water level fall below the water level in the hole. As the water level drops any difference becomes less critical.

nealtw 02-20-2014 05:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wuzzat? (Post 100684)
And if your basement is full of water and you drain it too fast the basement walls may collapse inward.

I would have to say a sample of that. I think that would require the fill around the house to have turned completely to mud in order for the added pressure to push on a wall, that is stabilized with a floor above. But then you wouldn't be draining it, you would be pumping it and likely you couldn't pump it faster than or before the water level has dropped.

Wuzzat? 02-20-2014 06:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nealtw (Post 100687)
I think that would require the fill around the house to have turned completely to mud in order for the added pressure to push on a wall, that is stabilized with a floor above.

I don't know.
If you somehow instantly drained a well, would the sides of the hole collapse inward?
Civil engineering is not my field. :confused:

nealtw 02-20-2014 08:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wuzzat? (Post 100689)
I don't know.
If you somehow instantly drained a well, would the sides of the hole collapse inward?
Civil engineering is not my field. :confused:

If you are talking about an old well that was hand dug with side lined with rock to allow ground water to get in. How whould you drain the well without lowering the ground water. (removing any pressure on the walls)
Pump a septic tank with high ground water and it could float.

I could see a house being in trouble if the mud on the outside was also a hill that was pushing down against the foundation. But then we would be talking more about a mud slide than a flood.
Civil engineering is not my field.
I have stud in a field and talked to a few engineers.:beer:


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