My Home Just Flooded. What the Hell Do I Do?

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If this guide doesn’t answer all of your questions, ask a Meyerland resident. Unfortunately, they’re pros at this now.

Turn off all electricity to your home. (Self-explanatory.)

Call a contractor and get the sheetrock removed as soon as humanly possible. Once water touches the baseboards and gets into the sheetrock, mold happens. If water sits too long, the mold will spiral up inside the walls, making the job more difficult and expensive. The suggested sheetrock removal is 18 inches above the watermark, which will be visible on the walls once floodwater recedes.

Same thing with the carpet and furniture. Get it gone. Mold can post up in wet materials within 48 hours. Additionally, mildewed carpet from nasty floodwaters is one of the grossest things ever. Anything that you insist on keeping (like wood furniture) can be stored in a backyard space.

Take as many photos as possible of the damage. This includes the interior and exterior of the home as well as any possessions (electronics, furniture) that were touched/destroyed by water. When applicable, make sure serial numbers are visible in the images.

Contact your flood, homeowners and car insurance companies. Tell them the floods have affected you.

Make sure the contractor brings in industrial-size heaters and fans. This will help remove the excess moisture that will never dry naturally in muggy Houston. Since the electricity is off, the fire risks are much lower.

If it’s a one-story house, find somewhere else to stay. We talked to families last year who tried to live in flood-destroyed interiors, but they couldn’t handle the invisible agents in the air. Many folks were able to live on the second floor of their two-story home, no problem, while others developed respiratory problems and had to rent an apartment or find a friend to crash with. Be smart about it — if you're nonstop coughing or getting sick, it's probably time to bail. 
If you have enough money in the bank and want to start repairs asap, you must get a permit. In most cases, this requires dealing with the city's Floodplain Management Office. (Good luck.) If you aren’t able to leave work during the day, your contractor should be able to pull a permit. If you start repair work and get caught by a city inspector, your home will get red-tagged. 

Stay patient. Sorry to sound like your mother, but dealing with a flooded home sucks ass and it’s going to continue to be incredibly lame. Hang in there, pal. There should be sunnier days ahead. 

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