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7 Steps to Clean up a Flooded Basement

flooded basement with water on the floor

Basement flooding is a common problem, unfortunately. It’s something every homeowner dreads and hopes they’ll never have to deal with.

The key to successfully combatting a flooded basement is preparation. As the leading basement waterproofing experts in Northern and Southern Alberta, our team at Groundworks understands the stress and devastation this situation causes. We compiled this helpful guide so you feel prepared to address it head-on if it ever happens to you.

Basement Flooding 101: Why It Happens

Before we jump into how to handle a flooded basement, it’s essential to know what can cause this problem. Water in your basement and widespread flooding come from various sources, including:

  • Poor exterior drainage, including gutters, downspouts, and landscape grading
  • Internal plumbing leaks and faulty sump pumps
  • Cracking walls and/or cracking floors
  • Leaking, damaged basement windows and window wells

Basement Flood Cleanup Checklist: 7 Essential Steps

1. Safety First

Prioritizing safety is paramount. While the instinct may be to rush in and mitigate damage, there are crucial preparatory steps:

  • Cut power supply to avoid potential electrical hazards. If water has risen above outlet levels, it’s advisable to engage an electrician before entry.
  • When accessing the flooded area, wear protective gear like rubber boots and gloves.
  • If power cannot be safely switched off or the water damage is severe, enlist professional flood restoration services.

2. Evaluate the Situation

Once it’s safe to navigate the basement, assess the extent of the damage. This understanding will guide the next course of action:

  • Conduct a thorough inspection, noting any visible damage.
  • Document the damage through photos/videos for insurance purposes.
  • If unclear, attempt to identify the flood’s source, including potential basement wall leaks.
  • Determine the water type (clean, gray, or black), as this impacts cleanup procedures.

3. Eliminate Water

Removing standing water is critical to reclaiming the basement space:

sump pump sitting on a basement floor
  • If available, utilize wet vacuums or pool pumps for efficient water removal.
  • In their absence, buckets and mops can still be effective, albeit slower.
  • For severe flooding, consider renting a sump pump to expedite the process.
  • Don’t overlook concealed areas where water may accumulate, like behind appliances or under stairs.

4. Dry Out the Space

After water removal, thorough drying is essential to prevent mold growth and additional damage:

  • Fans, heaters, or dehumidifiers can accelerate the drying process.
  • Opening windows and doors improves ventilation, aiding faster drying.
  • Moisture meters can verify dryness levels in walls and floors, ensuring completion.
  • Once excess water is removed, towels can soak up the remaining puddles.

5. Thoroughly Clean and Disinfect

Cleaning and disinfecting the basement further inhibits bacterial growth and mold prevention:

  • Use a bleach-based or disinfecting cleaning solution for effective sanitization.
  • Thoroughly clean all surfaces, including walls, floors, and soaked items.
  • Avoid mixing bleach with other cleaners to prevent dangerous chemical reactions.
  • For extensive cleaning needs, consider professional cleaning services.

6. Dispose of Damaged Items and Restore

With the basement clean, address water-damaged belongings:

  • Remove all water-damaged items like furniture, carpets, and personal effects.
  • Determine salvageability and items for disposal. Explore professional restoration for valuables.
  • Catalog damaged possessions for insurance claims.

7. Implement Proper Water Management Solutions

The final step prevents future flooding with comprehensive repairs:

crew installing interior drainage and a sump pump in a basement
  • Invest in professional basement waterproofing services (such as Groundworks) to upgrade drainage systems.
  • Regularly inspect for leaks or damage.
  • In high-risk areas, install sump pumps and backup power.
  • Consistent maintenance and inspections are key to preventing basement leaks.

For other useful basement flood cleanup tips, watch this video.

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    Failure to clean up a basement flood can lead to ongoing moisture issues and damage to any stored items. These possessions will become susceptible to foul odors and potentially hazardous mold growth, posing health risks. It is highly advisable to promptly address a basement flood to mitigate further harm.

    Many standard homeowner’s insurance policies exclude coverage for flood damage, particularly in cases considered preventable through regular home maintenance. However, certain circumstances may qualify for coverage under your policy. It’s best to consult with your insurance provider to understand the specific flood damage provisions outlined in your plan.

    There is no definitive timeline, but it is generally recommended that you wait until the basement has undergone professional cleaning and waterproofing measures. This approach ensures that your possessions will not be subject to further damage once they are restored to the basement space.

    Groundworks Protects Your Home From Basement Floods!

    Groundworks inspector ready to help you

    No homeowner wants to confront a flooded basement, but being prepared is crucial. If you follow this guide, you can navigate through this challenging situation more efficiently while prioritizing safety. Once your basement is dry and restored, implementing preventive measures from Groundworks will ensure you’re less likely to face a similar ordeal in the future.

    At Groundworks, we bring years of established experience, local trust, and on-time service backed by an extensive warranty on all our work. We understand that your home is your most significant investment, and our mission is to help you protect it from further damage. Contact us today for a free inspection.

    Holly Richards-Purpura

    Holly Richards-Purpura

    Content Writer

    Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.