After the flood waters recede and the clean up has been done, most folks want to get back into their homes and start rebuilding. The problem is that wood that has been submerged in water has likely absorbed a large amount of water. Rebuilding too quickly after a flood can cause continuing problems such as mold growth, insect infestations, and deterioration of the wood and wall coverings. Flood waters are not clean water; therefore, most porous building materials must be removed and replaced with new materials.
The following steps should be followed:
- Open flooded walls, even if they appear undamaged, to prevent mold, odor, and structural decay later.
- Remove water from the structure as rapidly as possible. Ventilate.
- Remove baseboards, and cut holes in wallboard to drain uninsulated walls.
- Remove the interior surface of insulated walls to a point above water height, often 12S18 inches. Discard flooded drywall.
- Undamaged paneling may be propped open or reinstalled after cleaning.
- Remove and discard all wet fibrous insulation.
- Clean out mud. Wall studs and plates may be sprayed with disinfectant (1 cup bleach/gallon water) to kill any existing mold and fungi.
- Speed dry with dehumidifiers and fans.
- Leave walls open until they have thoroughly dried, which may take up to a month.
- Select replacement materials that will withstand future floods (such as rigid foam insulation, removable wainscoting, ceramic tile, etc.).
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