Demo and Flood Cleanup
This is where the heavy lifting starts and where flood cleanup begins. This is also where insurance coverage starts for those with NFIP policies. FEMA doesn’t specifically pay for contents manipulation; however a good professional company should be able to help and trained on flood cleanup /include the removal of damaged items in their costs.
Flood Clean-up – Deciding What Must Go
All furniture and floor coverings must go. If it was touched by flood waters it is trash. There are special circumstance in which something MIGHT be salvageable, but from a FEMA and safety standpoint ALL items are and should be considered trash. Even if flood water only touched the legs of something, the legs still absorb bacteria laden moisture. This next point is where a lot of ambiguity and misinformation comes from – water level…As far as FEMA is concerned it does not matter if your home got 1” or 2’ of water, EVERYTHING is removed to a 4’ level. The actual policy states 2’ above the water line, but that is technically for all water depths above 2’. Anything below a 2’ water depth should still be removed to the 4’ level as part of the FEMA protocol. Anything above a 2’ water level would be removed to the water level +2’. Confusing, I know. For 90% of the people affected, you just need to know/remember the 4’ level. NFIP flood insurance DOES NOT cover the replacement cost of countertops or glass shower surrounds.
The countertops must be salvaged and saved. If they were to break, a supplemental claim can be filed, but from the outset, they will not be covered. Tile flooring is also not covered for removal/replacement unless the flood water has created a delamination issue. They will pay to clean and/or remove/replace the grout and heavy cleaning of the surface of the tile. All base (lower) cabinets HAVE to be removed. If it is a full height cabinet it must be removed. Upper cabinets need to remain, unless the water line was exceedingly high in the home (above 30”). All tile shower and tub surrounds have to be removed as well as the shower pan and bathtubs themselves. Keep the tubs on site as they will want them cleaned and reinstalled. Keep your plumbing fixtures, they are salvageable. All doors, door jambs, door casings, baseboards, lower shelves in closets/pantries must be removed. SAVE door hardware and cabinet hardware – it will be reused. All sheetrock and insulation should be removed to 4’. All wood paneling will need to be removed to 8’. Veneer stone/brick will need to be removed at fireplaces (if it is solid brick, it should remain until evaluated by professional and/or the adjuster).
The trash should be moved to the FRONT of your home by the curb for the city/FEMA to collect. The trash should be separated into TWO SEPARATE piles. One pile of personal contents that will be going on your contents claim will need to be inspected by your adjuster and one pile of all of the construction debris. Once all building materials and personal contents have been removed from the home, the silt/residue, remaining debris and dust need to be removed from the structure. Use a shop vac and/or water hose or pressure washer (all depends on how much debris/sludge is left behind) to clean and wash out the house. Now you or you contractor have performed flood cleanup and you can move on to other possible issues.