Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mike Holmes on Flooded Basements

Mike Holmes has been seeing a lot of flooded basements lately. With the catastrophic floods in Alberta and Toronto last month, Mike has been busy touring areas affected by torrential rains and giving advice to struggling homeowners on how to rebuild. In this article, Mike advises people on what to do when their basement becomes less like a basement and more like a swimming pool. Regardless of the reason why your basement floods, be in mother nature or a burst pipe, it's important to get the water out and let the space completely dry before rebuilding. It takes patience and the right pros to get the job done right. Skipping important steps may result in future hazards, such as mold, which can be even more expensive to fix.
From the Montreal Gazette:

Mike Holmes: Get the pros to clean after basement floods

Forget DIY, save money and problems in the future by doing it right the first time

After a decade, Mike Holmes still cares because he knows the work he, his crew and others do makes a real difference to the people they help.
Photograph by: Alex Schuldt/The Holmes Group, Postmedia News
With all the extreme weather lately, flooding is on a lot of peoples’ minds. I’ve been visiting flood zones in Calgary and High River to help with the recovery there. But flooding isn’t always Mother Nature’s fault.
A drain can back up, the sump pump could stop working or a pipe can burst. Or, just leaving a tap on and forgetting about it could cause a flood. And where does that water end up? In your basement.
In the past, when basements were left unfinished, a flood wouldn’t be so devastating. You drain the water, replace anything that was damaged — which wasn’t much since there weren’t any finished floors and walls to worry about — decontaminate the area and then let the space dry out. But today, things are different.
If you have a basement, it’s most likely finished or you want it finished. But if you ever have a flood, or even a leak, a finished basement can turn a bad situation into a nightmare.
Being quick to rip everything out and replace it sets you up for bigger problems — and expenses — down the road.
Before you start rebuilding your basement, make sure you do two things: resolve the source of the flooding, and ensure your basement is completely dry.
If the systems in your home caused the flood, like a backed-up drain or a malfunctioning sump pump, there are accessible solutions. But if you live on a flood plain, the solutions become more complex and expensive. So what should you do? Leave the basement unfinished. I know that might seem harsh, but that’s the reality.
We’re getting more extreme weather which, in some cases, means more precipitation. If you live on flood plains, in a flood way or near a river or stream, the risk of repeated flooding in your home is high. Ask yourself: How many basements do you want to pay for?
If water is getting into your home, you need to deal with it immediately because there’s the potential for mould growth — especially if your basement is finished.
All it takes is 24 hours for mould to grow. Most people would just use bleach to clean mould, but that’s wrong. Any surface with over 10 square feet of mould should be cleaned only by licensed professionals.
Mould is a huge safety hazard. If you don’t clean it properly mould spores can become airborne, contaminate other areas and end up in your lungs. That’s why you hire only qualified professionals for the cleanup and rebuild.
For example, a professional company can remove all the water and saturated contents from your basement, and decontaminate the space. Flood water often contains backed-up sewage. Make sure everything is free of bacteria before rebuilding.
If your electrical panel was under water it needs to be replaced — every receptacle and switch. Any corrosion in your home’s electrical can lead to fire safety issues. A licensed electrical contractor must examine your home and sign off on it before the electricity can be turned back on.
Also, get rid of all the flooring in your basement, including the subfloor, along with damaged drywall and insulation.
Most contractors will remove only one foot of drywall above the flood line. But moisture can creep up behind the surface. I’d rather have it all removed and replaced. Then let the wall cavity completely dry before you install new insulation and drywall. A moisture meter can tell you when it’s dry enough to start rebuilding.
Before you do, call your insurance adjuster and explain the situation and what you need. You might want a structural review depending on the severity of the flooding. Hire mould remediation contractors and make sure your indoor air is safe. An IAQ (indoor air quality) meter, measures spore counts in your home — something every flood victim should know.
Patience is key when it comes to rebuilding, especially after a flood. Take your time and do it right, or you’ll be paying for it again and again.
Catch Mike Holmes in his new series, Holmes Makes It Right Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit For more information on home renovations, visit


  1. The other day I saw a home reno that showed a sumpump system that I am interested in. would anyone know which segment was it ?