As Hurricane Harvey moves off the coastline of Texas, it’s leaving massive flooding in its wake that has destroyed homes and businesses.
More Harvey Coverage
Until the floodwaters recede, cleanup efforts are mostly on hold. But remediation companies say they’re ready to jump into action as soon as they’re able. In preparation for the undertaking, here are a few important items to share about repairing a flooded home, compiled by realtor.com®.
Time is of the essence.
A home that has been flooded does not need to be torn down, but the water does need to be removed quickly. Truck-mounted vacuums with 2,000 horsepower and dehumidifiers can extract moisture from furniture, hardwood, tile, and Sheetrock. But Robyn Kent, a claims administrator at Dalworth Restoration in Euless, Texas, says the most important element is getting it cleaned up quickly: “Closer to the three- to five-day mark is when it becomes questionable, since by then, all the materials have become fragile.”
Mold is the real issue.
“One of the biggest problems—especially in Houston in the summer—is going to be mold,” Tyler Drew, a Los Angeles real estate professional and investor, told realtor.com®. “The longer a house sits with water, the worse the mold infestation. Affected areas have to be removed, the wood and concrete treated with anti-mold agents, and all of this has to be done after the house is sealed, in order to prevent the infestation from spreading and sickening people.”
Repair costs can escalate.
“Drying off a 2,000-square-foot house in normal conditions may cost more than $2,500, while in situations like Harvey is producing, the job scope expands quickly—and so will costs,” says Peter Duncanson, director of operations and safety with ServiceMaster Restore. Flood insurance may cover the cost of repairs, but it depends on what type of insurance the owner has. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t typically cover flooding inside a home, and many in Houston don’t have flood insurance.