Knowing What To Salvage After A Flood

Items to Salvage After a Hurricane

Clean up from Irma continues. Some items will be salvageable & some aren’t worth bothering with. Chip Wade shows you what to look for.

Posted by AMHQ on Thursday, September 14, 2017

Anyone who’s ever survived a flood knows the feeling of being truly thankful.

Then comes the hard reality of deciding what can be salvaged – and what has to be let go…no easy task. Emotions tend to run high, and while we would love to keep everything, sometimes we have to know when to let go…

Here are some really helpful guidelines to follow, but it is most important to remember that the critical window to act on building materials is within 24 to 48 hours of being in the water.

Things you can salvage:

  • Concrete, concrete block, and plaster walls.
  • Linoleum floors.
  • Hardwood floors, but you have to dry them quickly.  Get high powered fans to cycle air through entire area.  If the floors start to cup or warp, they are not salvagable.
  • Subfloor – most modern subfloors are rated for prolonged water exposure.  However, like the hardwood floors, if the subfloor has warped, then you must remove and replace.
  • Solid wood furniture and cabinets.
  • Appliances, but must they be cleaned before operating.
  • Clothes, drapes, linens after thoroughly washing or drycleaning.

Things you can MAYBE salvage:

  • Fabrics: Mold can damage cotton, linen, rayon but it won’t damage acrylic fibers and silks.  Wool is pretty resilient if you can clean it quickly.
  • Upholstered furniture, although professional restoration may be required.
  • Mattresses – just replace if you can afford. If no, air dry in the sun and cover with disinfectant.

Things you should NOT salvage:

  • Drywall, batt insulation, insulated ducts (hold water – grow mold) – remove up to flood level.
  • Delaminated furniture or veneer furniture that is damaged.
  • All food or medicine.
  • Toys and play equipment as they are hard to fully clean and disinfect.
  • Rugs and carpet pads.  And potentially the carpet too.  If sewage water could have touched carpet, discard it.
  • Particle board furniture and cabinets
  • Just tear these items out and throw them away.


Want the inside scoop?

psst, hey you!
Do you want the inside scoop on all things home, design, and creative? well, you know what to do.