Cleaning up after a flood
Cleaning up your property can have many stages. Not all will apply to every property that has been affected by flooding, and the type of property and its construction may influence what is done. This page will give specific advice about he steps you should take when cleaning out a property following a flood.
Please select a link below:
Remove remaining floodwater
- Pump out any remaining flood water
To select the right type of pump, you will need to know how much water you are trying to pump out and how quickly you want to remove it. Guidance from CIRIA (Construction Industry Research and Information Association) suggests that no more than 1m of flood water should be removed each day, to avoid any adverse impact on the structural integrity of the building. Before removing any water from the property, please take a look at government guidance for where to pump this floodwater, this can be found by clicking here.
- Unblock air bricks and other ventilation holes in the walls/floor
This will allow excess water to escape the building and into nearby drains as soon as possible.
Dry out the building
- Get the appropriate equipment
If you do not already have the appropriate equipment you may wish to hire the appropriate tools to dry out your building. This would usually require a dehumidifier to complete this task. Speak to your insurer to see if they will cover the cost of this.
- Dry out the internal structure
Using your equipment, try to dry out the structure as best you can. However this may take several weeks or even months.
- If you are unsure, seek professional advice
If you are not sure about any aspect of drying out or repairing your property, seek professional advice from a chartered surveyor.
Replace damaged items
- Do not dispose of items that will be included on an insurance claim – Ensure you make a sufficient record of flood damage – click here for more guidance on recording flood damage.
- Remove damaged plasterboard that has been affected by the water – This should be replaced with a resilient plasterboard if possible.
- Remove any debris and silt deposits in the property
- Remove damaged carpets, floor coverings and other items
Recording flood damage
To make it easier to claim on your insurance for the flood damage there are several things you can do when recording damaged items in your home or business:
- Take pictures of damaged items in situ (before starting clearance)
- Make an inventory of the damaged items (make, model, colour, age)
- Do not dispose of damaged items until you have cleared this with your insurer as the loss adjuster may need to see them first.
- Take pictures of the damage to the property itself (for example debris, contamination, water tide marks on walls, cracks in walls or floor screeds)
- Locate and copy any purchase receipts for flood damaged items.
If you will not be claiming on your insurance policy (either because you do not have one or the costs of rectifying the flood damage fall below the excess level on the policy) then there is no need to do any of these things.
Further information and tips
- Contact your local council about additional rubbish collections or skips. You can find the contact details of your local council here.
- Seek professional cleaning advice on what is suitable. CIRIA (Construction Industry Research and Information Association) can provide advice on restoring your property following a flood.
- The Construction Centre’s website can assist in providing access to suppliers and manufacturers.
- Public Health England has published this guidance on how to clean your home safely following a flood.
- You may also wish to read about how to prepare you property for flooding in future whether this is a home or a business.
- For further guidance about insurance claims and the parties involved please click here.
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