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Three steps to restoring your property after a flood

If your home or business is affected by floods, acting quickly can help to minimise the damage to your property – and improve your prospects for restoring it. From extracting the water to deep cleaning your carpets, this checklist outlines some important first steps.

1. Is your property safe?

Floodwaters can quickly undermine a property’s safety and stability. Here are some important questions to ask before you occupy the property or restoration work begins.

  • Has the integrity of the structure or foundation been compromised?
  • Are the sewage lines clear?
  • Have electrical or plumbing fittings been damaged?
  • Have the electricity, gas and water been disconnected?
  • Have all electrical goods been professionally checked and tagged?

2. Drying out

Mould grows in as little as 24 to 48 hours in damp environments, which can be hazardous to our health. Once property is safe to restore, thorough drying out must commence as quickly as possible.

Before drying can begin, all excess water must be removed. If considerable water needs extracting a specialist pump may be required. Smaller amounts of water can be removed using mops, sponges and other absorbent materials.

How long does it take to dry out a house?

Times will vary. Drying out could take as little as 12 hours, or as long as a month – depending on the climate and the extent of the flooding.

Can I fast-track drying out after a flood?

Yes. Here are some ideas on how you can speed up the drying process:

  • Open all doors and windows.
  • Use fans or heavy-duty blowers to move air around damp rooms and wall cavities.
  • Heaters can be used in combination with dehumidifiers.
  • Generators can supply a temporary power source for restoration equipment.

What about mould?

Properties are full of places where moisture can hide, long after floodwaters recede.

To minimise mould after a flood:

  • Improve ventilation by removing fittings like plinths, kickboards and front panels from baths.
  • Check other poorly ventilated spaces like cupboards and corners.
  • Check wall and ceiling insulation for damp.
  • Remove all wet and unsalvageable goods that can trap moisture, slowing down the drying out process. Prior to cleaning a property all salvageable water affected household items should also be removed, cleaned and thoroughly dried.

3. Let the cleaning begin

Cleaning up after a flood can seem like an arduous task – here are some priority areas:

General cleaning:

Once all water, dirt and debris has been removed and drying out is complete, general cleaning can begin.

  • Thoroughly clean all exposed surfaces to remove contaminants left behind by floodwaters and inhibit the growth of mould.
  • Use a disinfecting solution to clean tiled floors, walls, bench-tops, and all other surfaces that had contact with floodwater.
  • For an effective clean, let the area remain wet for at least two minutes, then rinse and dry.

Carpets

The extent and source of floodwater will determine whether carpets can be cleaned, or if they should be replaced. Your prospects for saving carpet improve considerably if it has been wet for less than 24-48 hours. To effectively clean carpets in place:

  • Use a wet-dry vacuum to remove as much water as possible.
  • Dry carpets as quickly as possible, circulating air with open windows, fans and air-conditioning to speed up drying and prevent mould.
  • Once dry, vacuum and shampoo carpets before repeating the drying process. Alternatively you can use a steam carpet cleaner.
  • Working bicarbonate soda into the carpet with a broom, leaving it overnight and vacuuming it twice the next day can also help to eliminate any lingering odour.

​Timber floors

Although timber floors may be salvageable, often they won’t dry out properly when left in place. Once timber floors have been removed, dried and relayed they can be restored to their former glory with a floor sander. Check out these tips on bringing hardwood floors back to life.

For specialist equipment or advice on restoring your property after a flood, contact Coates Hire. Or Find your local branch.

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