Flooding can have a devastating impact on your property, and if it affects several rooms and isn’t cleaned up immediately, it can cause irreparable damage to the contents of your home or business. In extreme cases, flash flooding can lead to a few feet of water, not only destroying your valuables, fixtures and fittings but also impacting the structural integrity of your building.

In this blog, we take a close look at the extent of damage floods can cause, who is responsible for fixing flood damage and what services are used to remove water from a property.

How floods damage buildings

Floods can damage buildings in many ways and a number of different factors will ultimately determine the full extent of the damage. These factors include, the length of time areas of a building remain underwater, the specific materials that fixtures, fittings, other contents and even the building itself is made from and even the temperature of the flood water. With this in mind, different areas of a building are likely to be impacted in different ways.

Potential flood damage to different areas of your property:

Flooring

When wood flooring becomes wet, it will begin to absorb the water, which will cause it to swell, crack and leave a warped, misshapen appearance. As for carpeted flooring, fabric materials may dry up without any sign of damage, but as the drying process will be harder with carpet trapping the water beneath, it’s likely that it will need to be removed.

Furniture

Most cabinets, cupboards, wardrobes and doors are made from wood or metal, so damage is likely to come from extended exposure to water. If any layers are on the wood, this is likely to become loose and fall off, and if the wood is laminated, the visual appearance will lose its quality. As for metal furniture and other items, continued contact with water may eventually lead to rust.

Appliances

Due to the electrical and mechanical elements in these items, contact with water could lead to appliances being completely broken beyond repair. All electrical appliances should be handled with care and the mains electricity should be turned off before attempting to move or operate them.

flooded basement
A downstairs basement severely damaged by flooding.

What damage can flash floods cause?

Flash floods can cause extreme damage to properties and the surrounding area. Although this means that the interior of a building may be in very poor condition, flash floods can lead to water several feet high, potentially causing damage to the building’s infrastructure. As such, you should be even more wary of entering a building that has been affected by flash floods, as it could pose a threat to your safety.

Who is responsible for flood damage?

In cases where severe flooding has taken place, gone unnoticed or not been dealt with quickly enough or in the most effective manner, the effects could be detrimental to your property’s condition. In this scenario, it’s likely that you’ll need to consider solutions for repairing or replacing items, fixtures or surfaces in your property, and with this comes additional costs that you won’t have accounted for.

As such, it’s important that you establish who is responsible for flood damage, with whether you rent or own your property playing an important role.

Floods in rented properties

Are landlords responsible for flood damage?

For people that are renting their property, the primary worry is that damage from flooding could mean having to pay a lot of money in repairs to the landlord. In fact, the responsibility doesn’t always come down to the person renting the property, but it applies in specific situations.

According to Citizens Advice, the landlord of a property is responsible for flooding if the cause is rain or an issue from a neighbouring property. Under this rule, the landlord must ensure that the structure of the property is fixed and that gas, water, electricity, heating and sanitation are working correctly. However, the landlord would not be responsible for flooding to a property if you caused it.

Floods in owned properties

Do insurance companies cover flood damage?

For homeowners, it can be a concern that flooding will lead to costly fees without any help from your insurance provider. However, not only is flooding often covered by insurance companies, but there’s actually a specific type of cover called flood insurance that is typically included within your home insurance policy. This type of cover generally applies to floods within your home caused by storms, a burst canal or river or a damaged water pipe.

If you experience a flood in your property, flood insurance will cover the cost of repair or replacement of furniture or belongings, the repair, restoration or drying out of your property along with fixtures and fittings, the removal of debris, fees for solicitors, surveyors and architects involved in the incident and alternative accommodation while your home is uninhabitable. However, the contents of your home will not be covered unless you have a home contents insurance policy.

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What is meant by extraction of water?

After a flooding has occurred, it’s important that all traces of water are removed as quickly and thoroughly as possible. By acting in this way, the chance of more serious structural damage happening or mould growing is significantly reduced and the process of the affected areas starting to dry can begin.

Water extraction is a method of removing water from a flooded area. There are a number of different tools for carrying out this process depending on the specific circumstances of the flood. For instance, industrial strength vacuums are frequently used to remove the water, but if there’s a significant amount of water, pumps may be needed to remove water at higher volumes. Other tools and devices that may be used for the extraction of water include infrared cameras for finding hidden water within walls and ceilings, and moisture detectors for gauging the extent of damage.

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