Flood damage can be both costly and dangerous. If you have a flooded basement, you’ll need to remove all standing water, clean anything in contact with floodwater, and determine the flood’s cause before making any repairs.
We’ve detailed each step below, plus how much you can expect to spend on basement flood repair and who to contact for help.
Steps to Take Immediately after a Flood
Basement flooding repair is not a problem to leave for another day. You want to take immediate action to avoid long-term damage as soon as it’s safe.
1. Turn off the electricity: Turning off your home’s electricity is crucial even if there is a power outage. Though you’re having water issues, the threat of an electrical fire is high once the power returns. Contact an emergency technician immediately if you can’t safely access your home’s electrical control panel.
2. Protect your health: Keep your feet protected with rubber boots when walking through floodwaters. The water may contain chemical pollutants or diseases and bacteria.
3. Ensure the flooding has stopped: Wait until the flooding has stopped before attempting to assess your basement damage. Otherwise, you risk waterborne illness or electrocution.
4. Document the damage: If you have homeowners insurance, your provider will need visual evidence for your claim. Date and time stamp all pictures and videos for your insurance company.
5. Remove furniture and other items: If you can do it safely, remove all items from your basement to dry out. For items too waterlogged to move by yourself, enlist the help of a partner.
6. Dry out the basement: If you can get your hands on one, use a gas-powered water pump or sump pump to remove water from your basement. Remember, your electricity should remain off unless a professional tells you otherwise. If you can’t travel to a big-box retailer, you can create a simple siphon with a long garden hose, which will take much longer to drain. Regardless of your method, ensuring the water flows away from your house is most important.
Completely drying out your basement is also important to prevent mildew and mold. For this, floor fans and dehumidifiers can help expedite the drying process.
Address the Cause of the Flood
Before attempting to restore your basement, you must identify the cause of the flood. Even if a natural disaster is the primary reason, if your home’s grading was the second-leading cause, you must address this before making further repairs. You don’t want to spend much money only to have it happen again.
Common causes for basement flooding include:
- Broken washing machine
- Burst pipes (especially after a hard freeze)
- Clogged drainage system after a heavy rain
- Damaged gutters and downspouts
- Inadequate basement waterproofing during construction
- Leaky water heater
- Poor grading, which can lead to water flowing into the house
- Sewage backup
Cleaning and Sanitizing a Flooded Basement
Contact a professional cleaning company if you suspect your basement has been flooded with contaminated materials. If not, consider a do-it-yourself (DIY) cleaning with a simple bleach mixture. For this, 3/4 cups of bleach for every gallon of water is recommended.
When cleaning with bleach, make sure the room is well-ventilated. Open all doors and windows to ensure adequate airflow, and use a mop, rubber gloves, and a sponge to apply the mixture. Let the mixture sit for five minutes before rinsing.
Repairing a Flooded Basement Yourself
Serious structural damage from a flood should be left to professionals to repair, especially if you lack experience. However, there are some DIY projects you may be able to tackle on your own.
- Repair foundation cracks: Apply an epoxy or hydraulic cement mixture to any cracks in your home’s concrete slab.
- Waterproof basement walls: Find waterproof paint at most big-box stores and apply it to your basement walls. Remember that this alone will not fully address the cause of the flood, but it may help.
- Unclog floor drain: If your concrete basement has a floor drain, it may have gotten clogged after the flood. If possible, remove any objects preventing a strong drain.
- Apply anti-mildew spray: Once the basement is dry, spray all surfaces with an anti-mildew spray to prevent mold and mildew growth.
Flooded Basement Repair Professionals
Depending on the flood damage extent, you may have to hire one of the following professionals for repairs.
A plumber should be called first after a flood, even if the flood wasn’t caused by faulty plumbing. This is because the basement water may have impacted your sewage and drainage systems, so a professional must assess your home’s plumbing system to prevent further damage. If your home’s plumbing caused the flood, have your home’s overall plumbing health assessed.
There’s a high risk of water damage to your home’s electrical system after a flood. Before any flood cleanup occurs, contact an electrician after a plumber to ensure your home is safe. An electrician can also determine if your appliances are safe to use and whether your home is properly grounded.
Water Damage Restoration Professionals
A water damage restoration service or waterproofing company can quickly remove large amounts of standing water from a home. If your basement looks like it needs a professional, this is who you will search for in your area after getting in touch with a plumber and electrician. They’re adept at getting an area 100% dry and have tools to measure your basement walls and floor for moisture. They also know the steps to take to protect your home from overflows. All mitigation work should come with a warranty.
Flood waters can severely damage HVAC systems. If left unaddressed, you’re putting your home and health in danger. An HVAC technician will help address electrical issues and prevent mold, mildew, and contaminated air from entering your home. If you have homeowners insurance, they’ll also help with any documentation needed for filing an insurance claim.
Mold Remediation Professional
After a flood event, a mold remediation professional can inspect your home for mold and mildew growth. If any is found, they have air filtration systems and a variety of sprays they can use on any contaminated areas. They’ll seal off any polluted areas during the treatment so they don’t spread to the rest of your home.
The Costs of Repairing a Flooded Basement
Depending on the damage, homeowners may spend between $1,500 and $15,000 for their flooded basement repairs, but repairs typically cost around $4,000.* Addressing your home’s grading, fixing any foundation damage, and repairing its electrical and plumbing systems all add up.
*Cost figures via HomeAdvisor.
Waterproofing Your Basement
Waterproofing your basement requires time and money, but both will be well spent, especially if you plan to one day finish your basement. Waterproofing reduces the risk of basement flooding and will help prevent any damage that may occur if it happens again. Read our step-by-step guide to sealing your basement walls, including the necessary supplies.
After a flood event, it’s important to remain safe. While you may know what action to take, never put yourself in harm’s way to protect your house. This is especially true if you believe your home’s electrical system may be compromised.
If the flood is not a result of a natural disaster but a failed plumbing system, consider turning off your home’s water supply after turning off the power (assuming you can get to the control panel safely). Your home’s main water supply should be near your house’s front. Once located, turn the dial clockwise to turn it off. You may need a wrench, a water meter key, or a screwdriver.
Don’t hesitate to contact a professional if you doubt your ability to tackle a repair project.
Flooded Basement Repair FAQ
What should you do when the carpet gets wet in a basement?
When the carpet gets wet in a basement, it’s important to dry it out as soon as possible. Once the excess water has been removed, a wet dry vacuum (or wet dry vac) should be used to dry out the carpet further. A large floor fan and dehumidifier may also be needed.
What damage can a flooded basement cause?
The damage a flooded basement can cause depends on the amount of water. In addition to damaged items, a flooded basement can cause mold and mildew growth, wood rot, drywall and carpet damage, electrical system damage, and structural integrity issues that necessitate foundation repair. Flood insurance is a smart idea if you live in a flood plain.
Will a flooded basement dry on its own?
A flooded basement will not dry on its own. If you don’t take any steps to resolve it, mold growth is likely, which is bad for your home and your health. If needed, contact a restoration company to help.
How do I prevent mold after a basement flood?
To prevent mold after a basement flood, begin the water removal process as soon as possible. Remove all excess water with a water pump. Next, place floor fans and dehumidifiers in the area to remove all moisture from the air. Consider contacting a mold remediation company and spraying all surfaces with an anti-mildew spray.