The below is from the NAHB - National Association of Home Builders

Thousands of homes were damaged from devastating flood waters when Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area in August 2017. After the flood waters receded, residents returned to their homes to assess the damage and determine their next steps.

2017 NAHB Remodelers Chair Dan Bawden, president of Legal Eagle Contractors in Houston, has some answers to homeowners’ frequently asked questions.

How can I find out if I have flood insurance, and who to call?

Call your homeowner’s insurance company or your mortgage company. They can tell you how to contact your flood insurance company – and you should contact them as soon as you can.

Should I wait to hire a general contractor/remodeler?

No. Interview remodelers now, pick one and ask to get on his or her list. An accurate estimate for repairs cannot be given until the tearout/dryout stages are complete.

What things are important to document with pictures for insurance purposes?

Document all damaged surfaces and contents before you do any remediation.

You cannot take too many photos. Specifically, take pictures of the water level at is highest (or the high-water line), both inside in all rooms, and outside your home. Take photos of damaged furniture, where the water line got to on all appliances, including the washer, dryer and water heater. Document what floor material you have in each room. Take photos of all lower cabinets and document the type of countertop each has. Take pictures of your vehicles and any flooded outdoor structures.

Who should remove the wet stuff from inside my home?

If you can cut the carpet into small pieces and lug it out to the curb yourself, do so. Do the same with soggy furniture pieces, clothing and items you can manage. It may be there for a few weeks and kill your grass, but this gets it out of your house and you don’t need to rent a commercial dumpster. Do not remove the sheetrock and insulation yourself: You may remove more than is necessary, and this adds cost when it’s time to rebuild.

Handling these materials also puts your skin in too much contact with the toxic floodwater. This water wicks up into the insulation in your outside walls. If the mold has started to appear inside or outside the walls, use of a respirator mask (a real one, not the paper ones) and gloves are a must.

If you cannot manage to do this removal work on your own and have no church or other volunteer group to help you, keep the air conditioning running as cold as possible and wait for the remediation company.

Your home’s central air conditioning system can reduce the humidity level to about 45%. This is not enough to dry out wet surfaces such as the slab and lower walls. It just helps. The dehumidification machines the pros use reduce humidity levels to 15% to 17%.

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