How to Prevent Water Damage on your Home, Garage and Carport
The damage done to a property by floodwater can be extensive and irreversible. Flooding can ruin homes by wiping out belongings and permanently damaging floors and walls. It is important to take the time to flood-proof your home as much as possible by adding waterproof siding or veneer to the outside of your house and waterproofing garage walls and storage areas. Read on to find out many simple steps than can be taken to prevent flood damage, as well as what to do before, during, and after a flood.
Q: What kind of damage can water do?
A: Floodwater can cause permanent damage to furniture, books, documents, and other water-sensitive items, and it can cause wood to swell and warp. It can create structural damage to your home and ruin walls, floors, and belongings. If water is not immediately removed, mold and other microbial organisms can begin to grow. If your area is prone to flooding, make sure you are familiar with the steps that must be taken immediately after a flood in order to prevent irreversible damage from occurring.
- Tips For Drying Out A Water Damaged Building - Learn how to deal with the aftermath of flooding with this article from a restoration specialist.
- Dealing With Mold Problems After A Flood – Mold growth is a serious concern in areas that have been damaged by a flood. Find out what steps to take if you discover mold in your home.
- Mold After A Flood (PDF) – This fact sheet describes what to do right after a flood to prevent mold growth.
- Types of Flood Water Damage – A description of the type of damage done by a flood within the first hour, day, and week.
- Floods: The Awesome Power – This preparedness guide describes the overall damage that can be inflicted by floods and why they should be taken seriously.
Q: Why is it important to ensure your home, garage, storage areas, and carport are waterproof?
A: It is important to waterproof your property because unexpected flooding could happen at any time. Heavy rains can cause flooding that will damage outdoor property such as carports, sheds, and garages. To prevent unnecessary damage, make sure that storage areas are elevated and garage/carport walls are waterproof.
- Waterproofing and Painting Your Garage – A tutorial describing how to waterproof a garage to provide protection from floods and leaks.
- Protecting Your Property From Floods – How to waterproof exterior walls and raise electrical and HVAC components.
- What You Can Do To Reduce The Risk Of Flood Damage – A list of tips from Palm Beach County about how to protect your property from flooding.
Q: What precautions can you take before a flood or heavy rains?
A: First and foremost, make sure that your family has decided on an evacuation route. Once that is in place, put together an emergency kit with about a week's worth of clean drinking water, clothes, non-perishable food, batteries, and a first aid kit. You should also work to flood-proof your home as much as possible by installing a sump pump and backup power source and adding backflow valves to toilets and drains.
- Prepare Your Property For Flooding – Ideas for keeping floodwater and groundwater out such as using sandbags, air bricks, and arranging freestanding barriers.
- Key Facts About Flood Readiness – This guideline from the CDC describes how to prepare for a flood and what emergency supplies will be needed. It also contains information about how to prepare for evacuation and what to do if you are ordered not to evacuate.
- Recommendations for Water-Well Owners – Flood precautions for those with water wells on their property.
- Flood Safety Precautions – A basic safety checklist for before, during, and after a flood.
Q: What should you do once heavy rains begin or a flood warning is issued?
A: Once a flood warning has been announced, immediately gather the emergency supply kit and pay attention to the TV or radio for updates. Fill bathtubs, sinks, and buckets with clean water and turn off all utilities. If possible, make sure to bring in any outdoor items such as grills, furniture, and trash cans. Securely tie down large items.
- How To Prepare For A Flood – This checklist from the Red Cross will help families prepare for an impending flood. The page also contains links to information about how to respond during the flood and how to recover afterwards.
- During A Flood – Information from FEMA about what to do if a flood warning has been issued for your area.
- Floods: What To Do During a Flood or Flash Flood – Includes steps to take during a flood and instructions on what to do if ordered to evacuate.
- What To Do During Floods – This guideline illustrates what to do during minor, moderate, and major flooding.
- What To Do During A Flood – A helpful article with information for residents and businesses about what to do immediately before and during a flood event.
Q: What do you do after a flood?
A: After the flood, call your insurance provider as soon as possible. Take pictures of the damage and make sure to keep accurate records throughout the repair process. After the appropriate steps have been taken, the cleanup process should begin. For safety reasons, the electricity to the entire house should be turned off. Floodwater needs to be removed immediately to prevent the growth of mold and other dangerous organisms, so it is a good idea to call in a professional to handle the extensive cleanup process.
- Managing Water Infiltration Into Buildings – This in-depth article from the University of Minnesota's Department of Environmental Health & Safety explores what to do with various household materials immediately after a flood.
- Cleaning Flood-Damaged Homes – Read about the steps to take after a flood to prevent your home from being destroyed by water damage.
- Information On What To Do After A Flood – A fact sheet from the Health Department of New York about the steps and precautions to take after experiencing a flood.
- Food Safety For Consumers Returning Home After A Hurricane and/or Flooding – Safety guidelines from the FDA about how to handle food and water.
Miscellaneous Flood Information
Check out these additional resources to help prepare in case of a flood.
- The Cost of Flooding – An interactive tool that illustrates the potential cost of flood damage in your home.
- Drinking Water Guidelines – Precautions to take for drinking water after a flood.
- What Do I Need To Know About Floods? – Another valuable resource for dealing with a flood before, during, and after the event.
- Flood Protection - Doors – How to prepare your doors, garages, and other outdoor barriers for floods.
- Protect Your Home Against Flooding - A helpful checklist to help prevent flood damage to your home.