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FLOODED BASEMENT

Flooded Basement Cleanup, Repair, Restoration - Tips

A flooded basement can be a devastating event for any homeowner. Not only can it cause damage to your personal belongings, but it can also lead to costly repairs. However, with the right approach, you can minimize the damage and get your basement back to normal. Here are some tips for cleaning up, repairing, and restoring your basement:

flooded basement cleanup Toronto
Flooded Basement Cleanup job in basement crawl space

Flooded Basement Cleanup

The flooded basement cleanup process is challenging but a crucial step.

Flooding can severely damage building materials, for example, subfloor, flooring planks and underlayment, baseboards, drywall, insulation and wall framing. In addition, after the cleanup has been completed, there can still be trapped moisture and water between walls, and if not accessed for drying, the probability of Mold growth is high and can spread beyond the affected area. Therefore, hiring a professional is usually safer and often cheaper (in the long run) to perform the basement water cleaning task quickly and correctly.

Flood Tech is a Basement Water Cleanup specialist who is available to take your call  24 hours; they offer free consultation and Flooded Basement Services

How to-clean up after flooded basement

Flood catastrophes can range from minor to extreme happenings.  the cleanup process is challenging and can have health implications. If you are going to attempt the task yourself,  there are risks and hidden dangers; a few key things to keep in mind when it comes to safety and complete recovery.

Time is of the essence, especially when you are required to do a thorough and proper Basement cleaning in the fastest possible time. First, you have to make sure the affected area is completely dry (including areas you can’t usually or easily access). Once this is done correctly and you have verified that the place is dried correctly and decontaminated (through the use of specialized detection devices), you can begin the cleanup process.

Basement Flooding Cleaning DIY how to?

If you find that hiring a company is not an immediate option (could be due to a communal flood situation that leads to prolonged wait times for availability), then you can attempt the initial cleanup process yourself using the steps listed below. This should be considered a last resort as often it can be done incorrectly and may lead to bigger problems down the road. It is still strongly advisable to bring in a specialist to inspect the work you performed as soon as possible.

Flooded basement cleanup Tools & supplies needed for DIY emergency.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & first aid kits
  • Disinfectant & Cleaning products
  • Flathead Shovel
  • Portable Sump Pump
  • Wet/Dry Vacuum 
  • Mop & water squeegee
  • Industrial fans/blower
  • Dehumidifier
  • Pencil/Chalk & utility knife
  • Heavy-grade garbage bags.

 

Basement Water Removal Process

After ensuring it is safe to approach the water-damaged area (no electrical or gas threats), begin by marking a line with the pencil/chalk on the wall indicating the current level of the water. Next, place the sump pump directly into the water and begin extracting 2 to 3 feet of the water out and away from the premises (at least 6 feet away from any foundation walls). Once this is done, make a new mark on the wall indicating the new water level. Allow up to 12 hours for the water to sit and see if the water level rises. If the level rises then your basement is still being flooded and you should not attempt to remove any more water. Keep recording the water level regularly, recording the height change, and the time it took to rise. Once the water levels stabilize, you may begin proper extraction of the water. Once you have pumped out all the water, allow an additional 12 hours before determining if the threat is over. If the water level begins to rise again, wait until it stabilizes before attempting another extraction. Repeat this process until you have a water-free basement for at least 12 hours. Once the area is free of rising waters for at least a 12 hour period, you can use the wet/dry vac to remove any remaining pockets of water you come across. Do not attempt using the wet/dry vac to remove large amounts of water. This is only for small puddles and pockets of water the pump could not reach.

 

NOTE: You should always be monitoring the foundation for any cracks or structural deficiencies that may be a direct result of the damage. Should you encounter any foundation-related cracks, stop immediately and vacate the premises as the structure may no longer be safe to sustain any occupants in the premises. Cracks generally form when the foundation shifts, which is an indication that the water is still applying tremendous pressure on the foundation from the outside.,consider

Basement Flooded What To Do?

Basement Flooding incidents can result from minor to severe catastrophic damages to the property; it can occur by a multitude of factors and endure devastating effects if not dealt with promptly. This article will cover What to do when you have a flooded basement basics, the leading causes of flooding, how it affects your property, the most important things to do should you end up experiencing a basement flood, and the DOs and DONTs of dealing with this type of emergency, tips and a step by step guide on some key flooding preventative measures you can take to prevent a basement flood.

So let’s start by defining the below critical elements of our topic and everything you need to know before diving deep into what and how you can protect your property from such flooded basement catastrophic events occurring.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  • What causes water to enter the basement?
  • Different Types of Basements
  • Basement foundation wall types
  • Water Damage Category Types
  • Four classes of water damage
  • Three tips to help get you through a basement flooding
  • How to Prevent a Basement Flooding
Basement Flooding Guide

How to find your Main Water Shutoff Valve

If you are in the midst of a basement flooding due to a pipe burst and declared safe to enter the basement flood, turn off the main water supply line, it’s usually located in the foundation wall near the front side of your property; if you can’t find it, call our 24-hour basement flooding emergency line, and one of our Flood Restoration Technicians can help guide you locate it. We can connect remotely via video chat if required. 

How to maintain and prevent my basement from flooding?

  • Schedule Plumbing Maintenance by a licensed plumber
  • Schedule your HVAC Appointment
  • Maintain all water connected appliances by an Appliance Technician
  • Schedule a waterproofing specialist for a foundation inspection
  • Schedule Sump Pump maintenance
  • Schedule Sewer backup valve maintenance
  • Schedule a consultation with a water leak detection specialist
  • Install water and flood detection sensor systems
  • Maintain and clean gutters and downspouts
  • Consult with an Insurance specialist to better understand your coverage
  • Inspect the perimeter of the property for cracks and seal
  • Slope ground downwards & away from the foundation of the property
  • Always have a second opinion by a second party Water Damage Expert before conducting a basement repair.

 

What causes water to enter the basement?

To understand how and what causes water to enter the basement and cause basement flooding, we’ll start by identifying the fundamental principles of flooding as indicated below:

 
Flood types?

Coastal flooding, riverine, areal, catastrophic, Fluvial floods, flash rainstorms, melting snow, ponding or pluvial and urban flooding.

 
Flooding source entry points
1. External flooding source points:
    • cracks in the foundation walls
    • footing area where the floor meets the wall
    • cracks in the foundation floor
    • basement windows or doors
    • sealants, furnace & bathroom vents 
    • electrical panel wiring coming into the property

Hydrostatic Pressure refers to water pressure from heavy rainstorms and downpours that increase water weight throughout the earth generating downforce gravity through the soil. This pressure occurs under the basement foundation floor and surrounding walls. Some common areas are cove leaks through the footing wall-floor joint areas. . Water pressure can, in time, also shift foundation blocks that have formed gaps or window wells that lack proper irrigation. Where the real catastrophic damage occurs, water enters the property and begins pooling on the cement floor foundation, rising in level as more water finds its way in. Left unattended, the entire basement eventually floods and causes irreversible damage to the property. In countries where the temperature drops below freezing, thaws and freezing cycles put tremendous stress on the foundation and cause it to form cracks that ultimately allow the pressure to get released into the property in the form of floodwaters. 

2. Internal flooding source points:

Sometimes the water source can be easy to identify, such as the cases of overflowing sinks and toilets, backed up sewers, or overflowing sump pits. However, it can be hard to locate because it happens within the structure itself. This can include burst pipes inside walls and leaky water pipes. 

 
The three primary flooding factors:
  • downslope factors – Water flowing downhill.
  • upslope factors  – The amount, location and timeframe it takes water to reach a drainage channel due to precipitation.
  • coincidences – Extreme weather changes that create heavy amounts of water in a short period of time.

Reference the diagram below to see the most typical sources of water penetration that can occur in a home. 

waterproofing diagram floodtech

Different Types of Basements

Basements are built below the ground, often used as an expansion to a dwelling at the lowest point of the property to increase living spaces. While some are more exposed to above-ground grading, others can be submersed entirely and well below the water table. In residential homes, the most common basement types found are

  • English Basements: Below the ground but stick out enough above ground to have full (or near full) size windows.
  • Walk-out basements:  Most are built on sloped grading properties where one side of the basement is mostly or fully underground while the other side is fully exposed with doors leading out to above-ground grading, used for living space with a separate entrance and furnishings, also referred to as Finished Walkthrough / Full Basements.
  • Crawlspace: Typically three to four feet high.
  • Cellar: Is typically used for storage. It can be the entire footprint or a partial portion of the house.
  • Partial Basement: Typically built as an addition to the property, used for living space, Furnace/ Laundry/HVAC room or storage.

Basement Foundation Wall Types

To better understand how water affects basement structures it’s important to know the type of materials the foundation is built from. Modern basements are built using one of 3 common methods:

  • Brick
  • Poured Concrete
  • Concrete Block

 

Two common historic house and building basement foundation types:

  • Rubble
  • Stone Wall

 

foundation wall types

Water Damage Category Types

When dealing with a flood, often you would involve your insurance company due to the magnitude and cost of the damage involved. It is important you understand the terminology used in the industry to better understand what and how floods get categorized and handled when making a claim. Floods are classified into 3 categories of floodwater. When discussing the category type, it references the water quality itself and where it originated from. Each type has an underlying problem it may present and how it gets handled.

Category 1 

“Clean water” comes from sanitary sources such as faucets, broken water supply lines, toilet tanks, water heaters, and other sources of water that are safe to interact with or consume. When you experience this type of flood, the insurance company will approve drying and decontamination for most of the content through standard cleaning and drying methods exercised by a professional water damage restoration company.

 
Category 2  

“Gray water” typically comes from a washing machine or toilet overflows (contaminated with urine or cleaning chemicals). It most likely contains microorganisms that are unsafe to consume and interact with. When you experience this type of flood, the insurance company will determine what gets cleaned and what gets replaced based on cost/replacement value comparison as the cleaning method is more costly.

 
Category 3 

“Black water” – Typically comes from sewer backups, toilet bowl water or flood water originating from sewers, streams or rivers. It contains lethal viruses and microorganisms that, if handled or consumed, can lead to severe sickness or death.  When you experience this type of flood, any affected content or structural materials are generally written off and fully replaced unless specifically requested to preserve with specialty cleaning methods.

Four classes of water damage when dealing with insurance claims

When discussing the class of damage, it references the severity and penetration level of the water damage.

 

Class 1

Partial flooding with slow penetrating effects. Easily cleaned up with minor to no repairs needed.

 
Class 2 

Fully affected room.  At least one foot of standing water affects structural materials. Requires medium repairs with some content salvageable through specialized drying techniques.

Class 3

Fully affected room.  At least two feet of standing water that affects further into the structure due to prolonged exposure. Ceilings and walls are fully affected. Requires partial tear out of fully deteriorated materials and some minor repairs to other materials

Class 4

Fully affected room.  Everything on the premises is affected, and drying times are longer, backed by specialized drying techniques. Major tear-our and reconstruction are required due to fully deteriorated materials having prolonged exposure to water.

Three tips to help get you through a basement flooding

While it may be a fact that there is very little that you can do to do away with the threat of experiencing basement flooding fully, this does not mean that you will not do everything that you can to minimize the possibility that you will have to keep dealing with this kind of problem every time it rains. On the contrary, you may do many things to reduce the likelihood of flooding in your basement if you are not fully confident that you will be able to go about the task yourself; below are a few tips to get you through basement flooding.

  • Get the help and guidance of a professional water damage Technician licenced to properly remediate Flood Cleanup, Mould Removal, Water Damage Repair, Flood Restoration and Basement Waterproofing Repair, Water Damage Inspection and Foundation Repair.
  • Install pipe drainage to downspouts and areas of high water accumulative sections of the property where the grading has no slope
  • Grade your lawn correctly around the perimeter of your home to ensure that unwanted water will get channelled safely away from your basement walls.
  • Install a dual sump pump with a battery backup system and Bluetooth water notifier alarm.
  • Install downspouts extension adaptors, and be sure it’s directed safely away from the property on a downslope.
  • Clean out your gutters in the fall and spring.

 

Suppose you already know that there is a chance that your basement might become flooded from heavy rains and are amidst to acquiring quotes for emergency basement foundation repairs due to water seepage vulnerabilities throughout the foundation infrastructure of your home; these times during an emergency can be dreadful maintaining your livelihood and parallelly having to book and organize a furniture pack-out service. Scheduling appointments with water damage restoration and waterproofing companies for repair quotes can take up to a couple of days unless you roll the dice and hire a company instantly without doing a proper contractor background check. Here’s advice on protecting your valuable furnishing possessions in areas of high flood risk while scheduling your repairs this way, you will not have to worry about replacing your valuable belongings in case of an unfortunate occurrence. Instead, minimize the amount of damage you will incur by protecting the furniture and possessions you will store in your basement for the time being.

Ways to protect furniture from a flood
  • Move as many items to the main floor and securely store documents.
  • For heavy or larger items find a friend or a neighbour to help move the furniture away from the walls and to the middle of a dry room in the basement.
  • Install coaster furniture lifts approximately 4″ high some Walmart and building suppliers carry it.
  • You can also use homemade precut 2’by4″ wood lumber stud scraps to raise furniture off the ground.
  • Use Shrinkwrap or cover your possessions with 3ml plastic and make sure it’s waterproof tight.
  • Sandwich Saran wrap or aluminum foil for wrapping under furniture and legs make sure to use packing tape to secure it.
  • Hire a Content damage company specialist. 
  • If contaminated water affected the furniture hire a Content Property Cleaning specialist.
  • Is it too late and requires Content Property Water Damage Restoration.

If your home gets flooded and you experience certain forms of damage in your basement, you need to ensure that you get the professional help of a flood and water damage company for clean up and repair. This will allow you to ensure that every single part of the recovery process will be done efficiently. While you will have to spend a certain amount of money, there is no denying that you will be able to deal with the flood incident as best as possible. Some companies will even assist in processing insurance claims to minimize your stress.


Basement flood prevention video

Play Video about Why-Basement-Floods

How to Prevent Basement Flooding

Key preventative measures you can take to prevent your basement from flooding.

How to ensure your grading is suitable around the perimeter?

It is generally acceptable to have the earth around your house slope an inch per foot as you go further away from the premises. This should continue for at least 6-8 feet. Soil with 20-30 % clay content is best. Avoid using soil that is sandy or abundant in organic matter.

 

Prevent basement flooding by following this how-to guide

Should windows below grade have window wells?

It is important that you have window wells that go below the window line and have proper drainage systems to back them up. Generally, water flow is diverted to a perforated pipe. This pipe leads to a sump pit which has a sump pump in it. The pump diverts the water back out of the house and away from the foundation.

How to ensure your grading is suitable around the perimeter?

How to maintain your Eavestrough and downspout?

It is actually very inexpensive and easy to do and will save you headaches in the future. The sole purpose of eavestroughs and downspouts is to control and divert excess water to a proper location that can handle offloading this water safely away from the foundation walls. Once these stop working as intended, you are risking pooling and new channels of water going into areas that are not prepared to handle excess water. This can create slow degradation of foundation walls which will in time form cracks and provide the water with a new way to enter your property.

  1. Check Eavestrough Angle is always pointed down.
  2. Fix any separation between Eves trough and Fascia.
  3. Clean and Check Gutter Guards every season.
flooded basement eves trough cleaning maintenance

How to prevent a basement sewer backup during heavy rains?

Running your dishwasher, washing clothes, taking showers are all actions that put a strain on your sewer system. Combined with heavy rainfall going into the main storm sewer lines will likely cause sewer backups to occur right back into the property. It is always a good idea to install a backwater valve (it is a device that prevents public sewer content from spilling back into your house). If you have one installed already, be sure to inspect and maintain it regularly. If you’re unsure of how to do this, watch the video below on proper backwater valve maintenance steps.

What are cracks and holes in your basement foundation walls?

As buildings settle and shift, cracks in the foundation are unavoidable. They are a prime source for water to enter the foundation unexpectedly. Make sure to regularly monitor for cracks in the foundation, shifts in blocks and other natural deteriorating factors to your basement foundation walls. Areas in the foundation where the largest amount of stress on the building occurs are most prone to have cracks form (middle of the foundation on a sloped hill is generally the highest stress location). Areas where heavy freezing and thawing occur also become prone to floor cracks due to heavy shifting with the climate changes.

Basement Foundation Crack Injections

How to avoid clogged drains and prevent a sewage backup?

The top reason for the basement flooding is due to sewer line backup. This often happens when the main sewer lines get clogged up. Although sometimes it happens beyond our control and through the city sanitary lines, the most common instigator is our lack of filtering what we pour down our drains. Grease, oil, and fats do not mix with water very well. As a result, when they are poured down the drain, they do not get washed out easily. Once they settle on the walls of the pipes, they dry up and begin forming a blockage. Eventually, that block chokes the pipe and creates a full clog. Once this occurs, the water you pour down the drain has nowhere to go and begins flowing back into the house pipes, finding exits through floor and shower drains, toilets, and even sinks. Often with gravity, this happens in the lower point of the house which is the basement floor drains. The best way to prevent this from happening is to collect the oils and fats we cook with and throw them into the garbage inside a water-sealed bag. Municipalities that offer Organic Recycling programs will accept these in their “Green Bin” program.

6. How to avoid clogged drains and prevent a sewage backup?