Thursday, 23 June 2011

My Windsor Basement Flooded! What do I do next?

The first thing you should do is call your insurance company! They will immediately assign an adjuster to your case, who will guide you through the steps required by your insurer.

A word here about coverage and how it’s determined. If you have a broken water line or water heater and it floods your basement, your insurer will usually cover the damage but not what caused it. In other words, They will pay for anything in the basement which is damaged by the water but not for repairing the broken pipe or water heater.

Contact a restoration contractor, your adjuster will likely supply you with a list of possible options with whom they normally have dealings. Remember, when you are selecting a contractor, it’s your home and you are in charge of who comes in to do work there. NOBODY has the right to tell you which contractor to use, you’re in charge. Use whichever qualified contractor you’re comfortable with.

Eventually everything damaged must be removed, but not until it’s been documented! That means a detailed inventory must be written (by your contractor) and supported with photographic evidence of damage. The thing to remember here is that if damage can’t be proven, the insurer doesn’t have to replace it. So don’t think you’re helping by throwing everything outside!

The insurance company will break your claim down into two sections:

The Emergency Response:
Your selected contractor will arrive at your home with the intent of assessing the damage which has been caused. They will determine their personnel and equipment requirements and then dispatch a crew with the required equipment.

Their intent during the emergency response is to mitigate the damage. Anything wet will be documented and removed, including carpet, flooring, doors, drywall, furniture, personal belongings etc. If possible, some items may be cleaned, dried and returned later.

During this time your contractor should spray a mouldicide / fungicide on the areas which are not being removed. This is for your protection. Since mould spores are everywhere, you just need to add water and time and you have mould growing. This could constitute a health hazard for anyone living in the home. Remember, water + time = mould.

A word to the avid do-it-yourselfers in the crowd – Bleach does NOT kill most mould, it makes it white! Don’t try to clean up by yourself with bleach, the chlorine gas released from the bleach could be more harmful than the mould, especially if inadvertently mixed with something else!

Once everything damaged has been removed, your contractor will set up drying equipment. This will usually consist of air movers (fans) and large de-humidifiers. Simply put, the objective here is to evaporate all the residual moisture into the air and then suck it out of the air with the de-humidifiers, then drain it into the sewer system of your home.

This process takes 2 – 3 days, it may look dry the next day but there is still enough moisture to nurture mould growth. Your contractor will have special meters to check for moisture content. If sufficient moisture is not removed, there will be mould later.

The Repair:
After your basement has been sufficiently dried it will be time for your contractor to put it all back together.

This will normally be the contractor from the emergency response, but not necessarily so. Since the insurance claim is split into two distinct contracts, you may have the option to switch contractors for the repair segment, your adjuster will be able to inform you if this is an option in your case.

In this phase of the operation, your contractor will make sure there is no mould beginning to grow in spite of their best efforts. Then they will begin replacing the drywall that was removed.

The new drywall will be installed, taped and coated with drywall compound (plaster). Next, it’s time for paint, the insurer will usually cover painting the entire wall area because of the difficulty matching the colour. This is the time, if you were considering changing the colour before the flood, to do so. As long as it’s not a drastic colour change requiring additional coats of paint, your contractor won’t mind changing if for you.

Once all this is completed, it will be time for your new flooring to be installed. The insurer will cover the cost of replacing it with the exact flooring that you had originally. The rule they go by is to make it exactly the way it was 1 minute before the flood.

This being said however, if you would like to pay for the difference in cost, there is not usually any problem if you would like to have your contractor upgrade your choice of flooring at this time. The insurer will pay what it would have cost to restore the floor to it’s original condition & your contractor will charge you directly for the balance.

The next step is for all the baseboards, doors and trim to be replaced and painted.

Once all this has been completed, it will be time for your contractor to bring back all your belongings that were salvageable and restore them in the room(s) as they were.

I hope that this post helps anyone who has had the misfortune of being on the receiving end of Mother Nature’s sense of humour lately. It’s been a wet year so far and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight but I’m sure the sun will come out someday!

I should add at least one shameless plug here, Lakeside Interiors has IICRC trained and certified technicians on staff to handle your flood emergency.
We are fully equipped and can be reached by any of the following methods:

This article was published by:
Keith McGorlick,
Author, Blogger,
Home Improvement Expert &
President of, Lakeside Interiors
Windsor, Kitchener & Barrie Ontario
In Windsor, call 226-787-5835 or,

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