After The Waters Subside: Steps to Take to Rebuild After a Flood


Nature can be a powerful force to be reckoned with as we saw recently with the devastating flooding in Baton Rouge. A flood can cause a minimal amount of damage or cause you to have to restore so much you feel as if you’re gutting your house completely; as if you’re starting from scratch with the building of your home. Unfortunately, no one can control the weather and the work has to be done, but the outcome will be well worth it once you and your family can move back home. You can also save in the process and – in the end – reward yourself for your hard work and sacrifice.

The first step in rebuilding after a flood like the one in Baton Rouge, is to guard repairable and undamaged items. There’s a chance that these items may become damaged after the flood has subsided. If mold and mildew have started accumulating in your home, they will grow until the house dries completely, and the proper steps are taken to remove these molds. Mildew will be the first to appear in the home; however, mildew is mold in the early stage. It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold growths (or colonies) to start accumulating in a moist area. Once it has started to grow you shouldn’t use fans to dry a room. This will only cause the mold to spread. Remove all wet items in your home including carpeting as soon as possible.

The next step in rebuilding after a flood is to eliminate mold from clothing, bedding, and toys by cleaning and disinfecting the items. With clothes and bedding – add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to a load of laundry. Continue to wash in this manner until all traces of mold are gone, and clothes don’t have a moldy smell anymore. Complete this process by washing your clothes one more time with regular laundry detergent.

Any foods that had even a remote chance of getting damp should be discarded immediately. The only foods that should be saved are sealed, packaged foods that are still completely dry and canned goods that haven’t been dented or damaged. Remove labels on all cans. Wash sealed packages with a warm water/dishwashing liquid mix. For canned goods – scrub with a bristle brush in a strong detergent solution – then put them in a mix of 1 quart of warm water and two teaspoons of bleach for 15 minutes. Another solution is to boil for 10 minutes. It’s crucial to remove the labels since the paper can hold dangerous bacteria.

The sooner you can start cleaning the inside of your home the easier it will be to get rid of the mold and mildew growing in your walls, flooring, appliances, and ceilings. Make sure to wear gloves, a mask, and eye protection. You should have the area you’re working in at the time well ventilated. Disinfect all surfaces with a 10% bleach solution allowing the solution to sit for at least 10 minutes, then rinse with clean water. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to get rid of mold or mildew on wallboard, plaster, or paneling. The best way to handle this situation is to remove all that has been soaked by flood waters at least to the flood level. If your home has the blown-in cellulose type of insulation, it’s best to get rid of this as well since it holds water for such a long time. Styrofoam and fiberglass batts can be reused if hosed off and dried thoroughly.

For insurance purposes, it’s best to take plenty of before and after pictures. Keep a daily activity log including any and all calls made to your insurance company and conversations that took place. Make sure to keep all of the receipts used to purchase everything – right on down to the cleaning supplies. And don’t throw any damaged materials away until your insurance company gives you the go-ahead.

Rogers Builders specializes in new construction, remodeling, residential and commercial building projects, and more. We guarantee satisfaction and back our work with our years of experience in the business. We have small-town values with big-town quality. Give us a call and we’ll help you with your next project.