How to Check if a House has been in a Flood


Owning a home is one of the most significant achievements in life. However, before making the final decision on a house, comprehensive scrutiny on flood history and probable drawbacks is crucial. Be mindful that a home affected by floods has its shares of shortcomings.

Fortunately, you can find imperative past information about a home from a reliable realtor or qualified home inspector. Amid the excitement of becoming a homeowner, be vigilant to avoid burning your fingers in the process. Meanwhile, follow the informative guidelines below on how to spot a flood-affected house.

1. Water Stains

Flood water in its wake carries destructive chemicals, mud, and sewage collected on the way. As a matter of fact, an inch of dirty water in the house causes immense damage to the house’s interior and exterior.

First, check on the status of the house foundation and siding. Imperatively confirm if it appears weak and stained. Then, verify the condition of ceilings and walls. Mainly, dirty water leaves behind a yellow or brownish stain.

Keep in mind that in some cases, ceiling stains point out faulty plumbing and roof leak. Nevertheless, if staining concentrates more around the bottom part of the walls, there is a high likelihood that the house was previously submerged in water. 

For hardwood floors, check if the water left distinct marks all over. Either way, if the floor appears soaked or has puddles of water, that a significant tell-tale sign.  

2. Mold Presence

Mold and mildew flourish in damp places. It takes at least a minimum of 48 hours for the first appearance of mold formation. Depending on the flood extent, it may spread from the floors, walls to the ceilings.

Like water stains, the concentration of mildew on the upper part of the house signifies a roof or water leak. Nonetheless, if you find them in dark corners near the floor, almost certainly, the house stands in a floods prone area.

 In addition, take note of the condition of the baseboards and wallboards. Most importantly, do they appear dented or seem to deteriorate in shape? If the structures display these characteristics, that’s a direct hint of severe water infiltration.

3. Metal Corrosion

Although most metal used in constructions are resistant to rust, none withstands long episodes submerged in water. Remember that even the strongest galvanized metals would, in the long run, give in to humid environments. 

One major red flag is corrosion signs around door hinges, fasteners, and siding nails. Bear in mind that most fasteners are corrosion resistant. Therefore, rust presence signifies a long-term water crisis. Above all, a chronic rust problem causes structure brittleness. If rust transgresses to the metals holding the building together, there is an enhanced safety risk on the inhabitants.  

4. Uneven Exterior Ground

Undeniably, flood water wears away the topsoil causing erosions on its way. One primary concern is when the gradient becomes extensively irregular or drastically drops off around the house. As a result, it jeopardizes the foundation or stability of the house. 

Beyond anything else, assess if the damage is salvageable or beyond repair. Of course, it would not make sense to spend huge chunks of money on future repairs. Furthermore, confirm from experts if the house is habitable and worth the effort.

5. Supple Drywall

Although floods mostly discolor the walls, in such instances, they may weaken or make them crumble. Usually, you may not determine the extent of wall damage with naked eyes. Therefore, softly tap on the wall using a mallet.

If possible, use a rubber mallet and gently hit on the bottom part of the wall. If the wall sinks and does not bounce back, that’s a clear suggestion that it is soaked already.

6. Foundation Cracks

When soil absorbs excess water, it can lift or crack the foundation’s concrete slab. Due to the internal pressure, the impact can also affect embedded pipes, walls, and roofs. In such a scenario, walls may crack, pipes rupture, or lead to a sagging roof.

In worse situations, houses built on weak foundations may detach from the ground and somewhat float in floodwaters. Even if the structure appears stable, seek expert advice once you notice cracks in and out of the house.

7. Jammed Windows and Doors

Foundation disruption due to flooding causes a myriad of blunders. Due to the intensive shift on the structural foundation, doors and window frames may get distorted. In worse cases, window panes may break or doors fail to open. All in all, any distortion on doors and windows illustrates severe damage to the house.

Needless to say, a flooded house is not an instant write-off. In fact, a risk-taker may end up making good returns from such an investment. Altogether, restrain from making abrupt decisions without expert intervention. Without hesitation, use the tips above and make a clear decision on your home-owning journey.