DIY post-hurricane Home Restoration

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DIY Home Restoration

For those affected by Harvey and Irma, and others dealing with flood damage, we have created easy and simple DIY home restoration steps to help you save your home and possessions as quickly as possible. These steps can help you save your home, your photos, important documents, and even electronics, until a professional can get there. Here’s your DIY home restoration for flooding.

A worker cleans up after removing the drywall in a home.

Drywall is removed in the first step of restoring a house after floodwater damage.


Equipment needed: 

*We bought everything needed at Home Depot for a total of $75.

Dry wall saw (a)

Chalk line (b)

Construction grade Trash bags (c)

Gloves (d)

Hammer (e)

Crowbar (f)

Measuring Tape (g)

Utility Knife (h)

*use the utility knife for cleaner cuts around electrical outlets.


What to do:

  1. Remove your personal belongings, get them out and in a dry area

2. Identify the waterline and remove drywall with drywall saw (a)

*use the crowbar (f) to pry away wet and sticky drywall

*create straight lines using the measuring tape (g) and chalk line (b) before cutting and removing drywall. This makes installation much easier and cleaner.

How to identify the waterline: Measure 18 inches above the most noticeable line of water damage.

IMPORTANT: Water can climb up to 18 inches above the waterline and damage the drywall. Removing drywall at the waterline can leave waterlogged drywall in your house and cause further damage by mold growth.

3. Throw the wet drywall away into trash bags (c)

4. Remove the nails from the framing (the 2x4s) with the hammer (e) and remove the insulation.

5. Remove the flooring

Restoration Tip: Remove as much water possible prior to removing flooring. This prevents water from spreading and further water damage occurring.

Carpet- Cut carpet into 5 foot strips (this makes it easier to roll up and remove.) Pull off the tacks

Vinyl- Peel-up the vinyl at one corner and work from there. Cut into strips like you did with the carpet.

Wood- Use a crowbar and hammer to pry-up the hardwood floor. Remove the nails as you go. Another useful equipment is a roof scraper.

Laminate Wood- With a crowbar, pry up one piece of the flooring, and the rest will come up in pieces. Laminate wood is sometimes referred to as a “floating floor” because it is not nailed or glued down.

Tile- Break the tile into pieces using a sledge hammer. This makes removal easier. Slide the crowbar under each tile and pop it up.


For more tips on removing different types of flooring, click on the link below

Restoration Tip: Removing the flooring after the drywall keeps the ground underneath the flooring free from damage and debris.



6. Dry out the environment.

* Get as much airflow in the house as possible; open doors and windows, turn on fans, etc…



Personal Belongings:

There’s hope for your personal belongings that you had to leave behind.

Tips for saving valuable pictures and documents:

Freeze all paper possessions. 

The best thing to do for any damaged paper items is to freeze them immediately. Freezing turns the water into a solid and freezes any damage in place. No further damage occurs once a picture is frozen until it can be unfrozen.

Here’s a link that gives more detailed information to salvage flood damaged paper items.

Note: We would recommend freezing everything right away since it will stop pictures, books or documents from blotting more and spreading the ink.

Tips for saving electronics

Immediately turn off the electronics

If possible, take them apart and leave them out to dry in a dry area.

Restoration Tip: Normally the garage is the has the least humidity in the house, unless affected by floodwaters as well.

*Use an air can if possible to dry out electronics.

Important:  Do not turn on electronics until completely dry.

For more information on drying out your electronic equipment, check out this PDF by Intel

Note:  While some people recommend using white rice to dry out your equipment, a study done by Gadget Hacks for Smartphones had white rice ranking last in their experiment. Products like cat litter and instant rice ranked above white rice. For more information on this study, click on the link below.



By using these simple steps, you can prevent further water damage and even end-up saving more of your home and possessions. While these steps allow you to start restoration work on your own, we always recommend having a professional continue and finish the work. Next week we’ll post another blog with more of the tips and tricks of restoration to make your home “Perfect Again.”


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