Got a Flooded Basement ?

Here's What To Do When a Basement Flood Strikes

Picture this: you step down into your basement, only to find yourself foot-deep in water. The sight of a flooded basement can be overwhelming and distressing, leaving homeowners at a loss. Whether caused by heavy rains, burst pipes, or foundation leaks, basement flooding poses a significant threat to both your property and peace of mind. In this comprehensive guide, we will navigate through the chaos and equip you with essential knowledge on what to do when basement flooding strikes. From immediate actions to long-term preventive flooding measures, we will unravel the steps to take, helping you regain control and protect your home from basement flooding.

In the event of an Emergency Basement Flood

Five essential emergency steps:

  1. Ensure Personal Safety: an emergency flooded basement can be potentially dangerous. When faced with a flood emergency, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and consider all the potential hazard factors. If the water level is ankle-deep or higher, then avoid entering the basement due to multiple risks, including electrical hazards and potential gas leaks. In this case, it is best to contact a water damage restoration professional immediately or city emergency services. They are equipped to handle these hazards and will safely assess the situation, provide proper guidance, and take the necessary steps to remove the water.
  2. Stop the Water Source: once determined, it’s safe to enter, identify and address the flooding source; if the flood is caused by a burst pipe, shut off the water supply to your home immediately. Locate the main water supply line and turn it off: typically, you can find it in the foundation wall near the front side of your property.
  3. Remove Valuables and Electronics: Safely remove any valuable items, furniture, and electronics from the flooded area. Place them in a dry and secure location to minimize damage. Take extra caution when handling electrical devices in contact with water.
  4. Begin Water Removal: Depending on the severity of the flooding, you can start removing water using a wet/dry vacuum, a submersible pump, or even buckets. Be cautious when using electrical equipment near standing water and follow safety guidelines. If the flooding is extensive, it may be necessary to contact a professional water damage restoration company.
  5. Dry and Dehumidify: After removing as much water as possible, focus on drying out the basement. Open windows for ventilation until the setup of fans, and industrial dehumidifiers to help circulate air and reduce moisture levels; it’s important to note that windows and doors should be closed throughout the dehumidification process. If rendered by an IICRC-certified professional, the basement drying equipment would help to thoroughly dry all water-affected personal belongings, flooring, wall and ceiling infrastructures to prevent mold growth and further damage.

Basement Flood Cleanup, Repair and Restoration Tips

Fundamental Steps for Cleaning Up Basement Flood

Step 1: The flooded basement cleanup process is crucial after a flood for several reasons. Water damage can lead to structural issues and compromise the foundation, walls, flooring, and electrical systems. It is essential to initiate timely cleanup to prevent further deterioration and ensure overall safety.

Step 2: Moreover, stagnant water promotes the growth of mold and mildew, posing health risks to occupants.

Step 3: Safeguarding valuable belongings and important documents stored in the basement is also a priority.

Step 4: A proper cleanup involves removing the water and thoroughly sanitizing surfaces. Although demanding, an effective cleanup is vital for maintaining health, preserving the structural integrity of the basement, and safeguarding personal possessions.

Step 5: Basement cleaning and disinfection play a significant role in eliminating bacteria, fungi, and contaminants that may have been brought in by the floodwaters. This step is crucial to restore a safe and healthy environment after a flood

Step 6: Additionally, if the flood has caused any structural contamination, professionals may collaborate with contractors or handle the cleaning and sanitization process themselves. This step is pivotal in restoring the basement’s integrity and preventing future issues.

Step 7: It’s important to note that the specific steps involved in the cleanup process may vary depending on factors such as the severity of the flooding, the extent of the damage, and the expertise of the professionals involved. Adaptations and adjustments to the process might be necessary to address the unique circumstances of each flood.

Cleaning a Basement Flood DIY Tips

If hiring a professional company for basement flood cleanup is not immediately feasible, such as during a community-wide flood situation with prolonged wait times, you can attempt the initial cleanup process yourself. However, it is important to note that this should be considered a last resort, as improper cleaning can lead to more significant issues in the future. It is strongly recommended to have a specialist inspect the work you have done as soon as possible.

Tools and Supplies Needed for DIY Emergency:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and first aid kits
  • Disinfectant and cleaning products
  • Flathead shovel
  • Portable sump pump
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Mop and water squeegee
  • Industrial fans/blower
  • Dehumidifier
  • Pencil/chalk and utility knife
  • Heavy-grade garbage bags
flooded basement cleanup Toronto
Flooded Basement Cleanup job in basement crawl space

Undertaking a Flooded Basement Repair

If you undertaking a Basement Repair after a flood, There are certain crucial steps you should follow to ensure effective water leak emergency repair. First, prioritize safety by turning off any electricity in the flooded area. Then, you should identify the source of the water. If the flood is due to a plumbing leak or a pipe burst, you should shut off your home’s main water valve immediately and call a professional plumber. They can effectively repair the damage and prevent future issues.

In case you’re dealing with a window water leak, ensure you seal the window area with waterproofing compounds, caulk, or weather-stripping materials to halt the water flow. However, if the damage is extensive, consider reaching out to a window repair professional.

In the event of a sump pump failure, a swift replacement is crucial. Consult an expert who can not only carry out the emergency sump pump replacement repair but also provide advice on preventing similar problems.

Finally, if the flooding is due to a foundation wall crack, a Basement Waterproofing contractor should be contacted immediately. They will seal the crack, typically with a polyurethane foam or epoxy resin, to ensure water can no longer penetrate through the foundation.

Remember, water damage can lead to severe structural damage and mold growth if not addressed promptly. Therefore, it is paramount to act swiftly, effectively, and professionally in such emergency situations.


The Final steps to the Flooded Basement Restoration process

The Restoration process of rebuilding the basement to its pre-loss condition can be daunting. However, with careful planning and execution, homeowners can effectively restore their basement spaces. In this article, we will discuss the essential steps involved in the rebuilding and restoration process, ensuring a successful transformation of your basement.

  1. Restoration Assessment and Planning:
    The first step is to assess the extent of the damage caused by the flooding. Thoroughly inspect the walls, floors, and ceilings to identify areas that require repair or replacement. Create a detailed plan that outlines the specific tasks involved in the rebuilding and restoration process. Consider consulting with a professional contractor who specializes in basement restoration to obtain expert advice and guidance.
  2. Structural Restoration:
    Begin the restoration process by addressing any structural issues in the basement. Repair or replace damaged walls, floors, and ceilings. This may involve removing water-damaged materials and installing new ones. Ensure that all repairs comply with local building codes and safety standards.
  3. Electrical and Plumbing Systems:
    Examine the electrical and plumbing systems in the basement for any damage caused by the flooding. Hire a licensed electrician and plumber to inspect these systems and make necessary repairs or replacements. This step is crucial to ensure the safety and proper functioning of your basement’s utilities.
  4. Wall, Ceiling, and Floor Restoration:
    Restore the aesthetic appeal of your basement by repairing or replacing damaged walls, ceilings, flooring, Carpet and pad. Remove water-damaged materials and replace them with new ones. Depending on the severity of the damage, this may involve patching, painting, or installing new finishes. Choose materials that are resistant to moisture and mold to prevent future issues.
  5. Lighting and Fixtures:
    Install new lighting fixtures to brighten up your restored basement space. Consider energy-efficient options that provide ample lighting while reducing electricity consumption. Replace any damaged fixtures or fittings to enhance the overall appearance and functionality of the basement.
  6. Finishing Touches:
    Add the final touches to complete the restoration process. Apply a fresh coat of paint to the walls and ceilings, choosing colours that complement the overall design scheme. Install appropriate window treatments and decorative elements to create a welcoming atmosphere. Consider incorporating storage solutions to optimize space utilization in the basement.

What causes water to enter the basement?

waterproofing diagram floodtech

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:

  • burst pipes
  • sewage backups
  • water build-up due to faulty plumbing
  • weeping tile blockage
  • hot water tank failure
  • appliance water lines
  • sump pump failure

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:

  1. downslope factors – Water flowing downhill.
  2. upslope factors – The amount, location and timeframe it takes water to reach a drainage channel due to precipitation.
  3. 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.

Hiring an Expert for Flooded Basement Services?

When hiring a flooded basement service expert, homeowners should understand the basics of different built basements and basement foundation wall types. This knowledge helps them communicate their needs, ask relevant questions, and make informed decisions. Understanding the structure and vulnerabilities of basements and foundation walls allows homeowners to discuss proposed solutions effectively and ensure the hired professionals are equipped to address their specific basement flooding concerns.

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 basement 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: “Blackwater” – 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 water 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.

How to Prevent Basement Flooding

Key preventative measures you can take to prevent your 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.

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.


How to ensure your grading is suitable around the perimeter

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?

What is a Flooded Basement?

A flooded basement refers to a basement that is prone to or has been affected by flooding.

  • A basement is an underground space typically found in residential or commercial buildings. It is often used for storage, utility systems, or additional living space.
  • Flood basements are characterized by their susceptibility to water damage, usually resulting from heavy rain, melting snow, rising groundwater levels, or plumbing failures. When water enters a flood basement, it can cause significant damage to the structure, as well as any items stored within it. Common problems associated with basements include water damage to walls, floors, furniture, appliances, and electrical systems.
  • To mitigate the risks associated with a leaky basement, various preventive measures can be taken. These may include installing sump pumps to remove water, applying waterproofing coatings on walls and floors, using moisture-resistant building materials, ensuring proper drainage systems around the foundation, and elevating valuable items above ground level.
  • If a basement frequently experiences flooding or is located in a high-risk flood zone, it may be necessary to take more extensive measures such as installing flood barriers, improving the grading of the surrounding landscape, or even considering basement waterproofing techniques that involve excavation and the installation of drain tiles.

Overall, the goal of addressing a wet basement or a basement flood is to minimize water damage and create a safer, more habitable space within the building.

Flooded Basement FAQ

Safety first! Before entering, make sure there’s no risk of electrocution. Turn off the electricity from the main circuit breaker if you can safely access it. If not, call a professional.

Yes, report the flooding to your homeowner’s insurance company as soon as possible. They can guide you on the next steps and clarify what’s covered under your policy.

 There could be many causes: heavy rainfall, sewer backup, sump pump failure, leaky basement walls, or burst pipes. Identifying the source is crucial to prevent future occurrences.

For small amounts, wet-dry vacuums or mops might work. For deeper flooding, you might need a sump pump or professional water extraction services.

Clean and disinfect all affected areas. Depending on the water source, it could be contaminated. Mold prevention is key, so consider using mold-inhibiting solutions.

Yes, mold can grow quickly in damp environments. It’s essential to dry out and clean the area promptly.

Document damage for insurance purposes, then remove and discard porous items that can’t be properly cleaned or dried. This may include carpeting, padding, and some personal items.

Some preventive measures include:

  • Installing a sump pump with a backup power source.
  • Checking and maintaining foundation cracks.
  • Ensuring good drainage around your home’s foundation.
  • Installing backflow preventers for sewer lines.
  • Regularly cleaning gutters and downspouts.

If you’re unsure about the safety of entering the basement, the extent of the damage, the source of the flooding, or if mold is present, it’s best to consult professionals in flood restoration, plumbing, or electrical services.

Always remember, safety is paramount. Do not risk your health or safety during the cleanup process.

Top Basement Flood Damage Repair Experts offering water damage restoration in Greater Toronto Area


Emergency Flood Services Inc.:

Emergency Flood Services specializes in prompt basement flood cleanup and flood restoration. With their expertise and 24/7 availability, they swiftly mitigate damage caused by floods, burst pipes, or natural disasters. Trust their dedicated professionals for efficient and thorough solutions.


Sewage Cleanup Pros:

Sewage Cleaning Pros is your go-to team for expert basement cleanup, sewer drain repair, and comprehensive sewage cleaning services. With their extensive knowledge and experience in handling sewage-related issues, they provide efficient and reliable solutions to restore your property to a safe and healthy condition. Whether you’re dealing with a sewage backup, a damaged sewer drain, or the aftermath of a basement flooding, their team of experts is equipped to tackle any challenge. Count on Sewage Cleaning Pros to handle all your sewage cleaning, basement cleanup, and sewer drain repair needs with professionalism and expertise.


Water Damage Restoration 911:

Water Damage Restoration 911, offers reliable and efficient water damage restoration services. Their experienced team swiftly mitigates damage and restores properties, providing prompt solutions for various water-related disasters. Trust them for reliable assistance.


Mold Remediation Toronto:

If you find yourself in the midst of a flooding catastrophe in the Greater Toronto Area, Mold Remediation Toronto Inc. can help. As a leading Mold Removal and restoration company, they are quick to respond and provide efficient 24-hour emergency Mold services after a basement flood.


Flood Tech – Water Damage Restoration:

Flood Tech – Water Damage Restoration specializes in basement flooding solutions in Toronto. They offer prompt 24-hour emergency water damage services, ensuring a swift response when you need emergency water damage restoration services most.


Assistance for Residents in Other Canadian and US Cities

For residents in Canada or the United States who require immediate basement flooding services, locating local flood restoration companies is made easy. Simply conduct a search on popular search engines like Google or Bing using relevant phrases such as “Water Damage Services” or “Emergency Flood Services.” Additionally, you can utilize the blue call button below to connect with a knowledgeable Basement Flooding Consultant who can provide expert advice on flooding mitigation and remediation, completely free of charge.


Basement Flood Insurance Coverage

While your insurance company may offer water damage coverage, it’s important to be aware of the limitations associated with the claims process. To gain a deeper understanding of these limitations, we encourage you to visit the Flood Tech water damage services home page and read the section titled “Insurance Claims Handling.” This section provides valuable information on how to navigate insurance claims effectively, ensuring you avoid wrongful denial and increase the likelihood of successful claim approval.

Who to Contact for Those Without Flood Insurance

If you do not have flood insurance coverage, various government programs exist to provide financial assistance during times of catastrophe. Additionally, nonprofit organizations offer grants and loans specifically designed to aid in disaster recovery. Each country has a dedicated organization responsible for managing emergency disaster financial assistance, and reaching out to them can provide the support you need.


Government Subsidy Programs for Basement Flooding


Canada’s provinces and territories operate a disaster relief program named (DFAA) Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements. This program aims to assist eligible small businesses and residents affected by disasters.


Basement Flooding Toronto

Homeowners in Toronto who face basement flooding can take advantage of available subsidy programs. These programs offer financial assistance for implementing flood protection measures, including backwater valves, sump pumps, and waterproofing systems. By participating in these programs, homeowners receive guidance and support from the city in protecting their basements from water damage and reducing the risk of future flooding. The Toronto Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program provides a subsidy of up to $3,400 per property installation for flood protection devices.


United States 

Residents of the United States can turn to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and their Emergency Food and Shelter Program. FEMA provides disaster grants and resources to assist individuals and communities affected by emergencies, including floods.


Additional Resources

During emergency disasters, it is essential to know the best steps to take. We have prepared a comprehensive guide titled “What to Do When You Have a Flooded Basement” to assist you. By clicking the red tab below, you can access a further valuable resource which outlines the necessary actions to ensure your safety during various emergency scenarios such as floods, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other catastrophic events. We recommend reading through the guide and keeping a copy saved on your phone for quick reference during times of need.