Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rebuilding After the Flood

The floods that happened last month in Alberta, Canada were definitely unexpected, as the area was not used to, and hence not prepared for, flooding of that extreme nature. Many people are comparing what happened there to what happened in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina. It's going to take years to clean up the mess, and as people rebuild, it's important that they do so taking into account the surrounding environment. Mike recommends that people hire flood abatement companies to get the water and sewage out as opposed to trying to tackle it themselves, which could be a real safety and health hazard. Next, he recommends people choose the right products, such as mold resistant wood and drywall, to rebuild their homes. Mike is looking at the flood as a real wake up call for people to change the way they build.
For more information, please refer to previous Holmes Spot blog entry Mike Holmes Comments on the Flooding in Alberta.


From the Montreal Gazette:

Mike Holmes: Rebuilding after the flood

 It will take years to clean up properly

A Calgary firefighter checks on a home. There are lots of measures to take after flooding.

Photograph by: Nathan Denette, THE CANADIAN PRESS
I’ve been watching what’s happening in Alberta, like millions of Canadians. I don’t think anyone expected this level of devastation, especially not in Canada where we aren’t used to flooding.
It reminds me of New Orleans in August 2005, and it’s no surprise people are referring to the disaster as the Canadian Katrina.
Waters rose eight inches in 2.5 hours. There have been evacuations — about 120,000 people forced from their homes. People have been trapped on roofs and in attics, and there have been fatalities. But, it’s not over by a long shot.
All that extra water has to go somewhere. And, unfortunately, that means more people will be forced to leave their homes as the water moves downstream.
The flooding has caused a lot of problems and multiple levels of devastation. Alberta is facing an estimated $3 billion to $5 billion in damages — at least. It’s going to take years to clean up.
The first step is dealing with the flood itself and the damage it’s done to the area. But then there’s the mess people are going to face when they’re allowed to go back home.
There are a lot of measures homeowners need to take after a flood. The first is to have any water in the home pumped out, and this needs to be done quickly so mould spores have less time to grow. Patience plays a big role because any space where floodwaters have invaded must be 100 per cent dry before you try to rebuild. Bring in fans, exhaust units — anything you have to so that the flooded areas dry out completely.
I’ve seen people cleaning up without protective gear or equipment. Their hearts are in the right place, but this is a huge safety hazard.
Your best option is to hire a cleanup company, especially if there’s sewage. Professional companies know how to come in and clean up a home the right way.
Another step will be hiring someone to fix the damage. Take time to think about the right materials and products. For instance, this disaster shows the importance of building mould-resistant homes. Not installing mould-resistant products can cost you much more in the long run.
When you’re ready to find a contractor, wait for the right one because many of them are going to be busy. Talk only to contractors who have plenty of experience restoring water-damaged homes.
These pros will know, for example, that if your basement was flooded, at least one foot of drywall above the flood line needs to be removed, plus all the drywall below the flood line, all the insulation in this area and all the flooring. Even if there is ceramic tile on top of a wood substrate it all has to be pulled up because the wood will hold moisture.
The Alberta flood has to change the way we build. It’s our wake-up call.
There’s no denying that we’re facing all kinds of extreme weather — everything from tornadoes and floods to extreme heat and droughts. And that’s just in Canada.
If we want to build and rebuild right, we have to take into account the surrounding environment. And if the environment changes, the way we build must change, too.
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. Thank you for coming to take a look at our area. I am from High River and my main floor flooded as well as my basement. I think the biggest stumbling block we are all looking at is the timeline (I will be out until probably Oct/Nov) and the limitations of insurance agencies. When they gie us a limited amount of money to rebuild our homes we have to choose the materials and finishes very wisely. I really want to follow all the great advice I have seen on your shows, Brian B's and Scott's. BUT I am very limited with what resources I have to play with. My condo mates and I live on very limited budgets and we take care of what we have because we can't afford to have huge bills coming in. I understand the need to upgrade now that the flooding has demo'd most of our homes etc. Can you put on face book some of the better products that are still cost conscience for us to take a look as so we can make the smart decisions when they get to rebuilding our little condos. I do know that I want to use dry core on my basement floor (Thanks Brian B for that heads up) now I just have to research it and go from there. Please and Thanks. Dawn Turner

    1. Hi Dawn! I encourage you to forward this message to Mike via his contact page on his website, or through Facebook! This is an unoffical fan run site, so Mike probably doesn't read many comments posted here! You have a lot of good things to say, thank you for sharing them :) God bless!

  2. Flood damage is such a big thing for me. The house full of mud and water and also the things and the furniture. It's really a frustrating event.