Eight Steps for Restoring a Wet Basement

flooded basementCleaning up after a basement flood is a time-consuming and disagreeable job. That’s just one reason why you want to take advantage of baltimore waterproofing by a professional company before we get hit with a few days of heavy rain or one of those drenching thunderstorms.

If the next big rains send a few inches (or a few feet) of water running across your basement floor, however, it pays to know how to tackle cleanup. Here are a few recommendations our waterproofing pros at Guardian Basement Waterproofing put together for you.

Your plan of action will depend on how much water you have in your basement. If it’s completely flooded or even a few feet deep, check out the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s tips on cleaning up after a flood. There are serious health and safety issues you need to take into account (including concerns about electrical and gas services) if you’ve been hit this hard. Don’t proceed with any kind of cleanup until you’ve read up on advice from the experts.

You’ll also have to exercise caution when a seeping foundation, a broken rain gutter or water sprout or improper sloping against your home have brought a few inches of water into your basement. If you have power outlets or power cords that are underwater, stay out of the basement area until you know the power to that room is turned off. Since water is an excellent conductor of electricity, you could get a bad (even fatal) shock if you walk in it when the electricity is live.

Watch out for leaking chemicals. Many of us store paint supplies, cleaning agents and other potentially dangerous substances on the floors of our basements. Once the water has subsided and it’s safe to go down into your basement, be prepared to deal with a chemical stew. Open windows, wear gloves and respirators and go equipped with heavy-duty trash bags to contain the mess. (You’ll want to check with your local jurisdiction to see how you can properly dispose of any toxic chemicals; don’t throw them down the drain and into the sewer system!)

Deal with the flooring. If you’ve got carpeting or rugs, you may be able to suck out the water with a water extractor or carpet cleaner and then put high-power fans on it to dry it out. (You can try a wet vac, but they aren’t really designed for that task and may not be effective.) Get professional help if you need it. Fast action is critical to prevent the growth of mold, and even your best efforts may not be enough to save the carpet.

If you have laminate or hardwood flooring and it’s showing the signs of water damage, such as cupping, curling or cracking, you’re probably out of luck unless you can replace the affected boards. It’s more likely that you will have to redo the floor since water may be trapped below the surface in the sub-floor.

Wash the walls. The treatment you’ll use for your walls will depend on their surface, whether that’s paint over concrete, drywall, wood paneling, or some other type of basement wall system. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results. You may have to remove finished material to dry out wet insulation behind those surfaces or remove and replace it. Remember, your goal is to eliminate any spots where unhealthy mold may grow.

Check appliances for signs of damage. Make sure the water didn’t hit the motors of your washer or dryer (and if it did, get a service technician to check them before you run them.) You may also want to treat the surfaces of these expensive appliances to prevent rust spots.

Redo. Once you’re sure the basement is completely dried out, it’s time to begin the restoration process, replacing wall systems and/or flooring as necessary.

Take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again! Prevention is critical if you don’t want to repeat this unpleasant experience and spend the hours (and the money) to clean and restore your basement. Call us today for fast and effective Maryland basement waterproofing services. We’ll identify the causes of your lower level flooding and fix them so the next time it rains you won’t have to worry about the water getting in.