Salt Water Flooding: Why Salt Water Flooding Does More Damage
Floods can happen anywhere at any time. However, coastal flooding can cause significantly more damage due to the salt water involved. Our saltwater flood damage guide looks at why salt water flooding does more damage. Plus, we outline the basics of restoring your home after salt water damage.
Why Salt Water Flooding Does More Damage
Water is already a powerful solvent, but the higher levels of salt increase the conductivity of water. This speeds up its ability to corrode metals and break down organic materials. While freshwater contains a small amount of salt, the levels are significantly higher in salt water.
Common Types of Damage Caused by Salt Water Flooding
Salt Water Causes Metals to Rust and Corrode
Any source of water will cause metals to rust, but salt water can speed that process up significantly. Even just a few days of exposure is enough to allow rust to form. The effects are even worse if the metal was already rusted or in a weakened state.
Salt Water Dissolves Building Materials
The combination of water and higher levels of salt can weaken or even dissolve many building materials. This is especially true of wood, plaster, drywall, and gypsum board. The damage will worsen the longer the salt water remains in contact with those materials.
Salt Water Erodes the Soil Around Your Foundation
The salt levels in ocean water can impact the natural chemical balance of the soil around your property. This can cause the soil to weaken and shift, resulting in structural issues with your foundation. While this won’t necessarily cause severe damage immediately, it can erode your foundation over time.
Salt Water Increases Potential of Electrocution
Water is already a good conductor, but the added salt increases its conductivity. If salt water is in contact with an electrical source, the changes of electrocution are very high. Always take precautions when entering your property after saltwater flooding to prevent electrical shock.
Salt Water Increases the Chance of Mold Growth
Any source of water can cause mold, but the chances of mold are much higher after salt water flooding. The salt water flooding associated with hurricanes and tropical storms has a greater likelihood of containing sewage. Additionally, the time between the water damage and cleanup is usually longer after severe storms.
How to Restore Your Home After Salt Water Flooding
These are the general steps to take after a saltwater flood, however, they are not definitive by any means. Still, they provide a reasonably accurate overview of how to restore your home after a saltwater flood.
Depending on the extent of the damage, you may be able to skip some steps or other steps may be necessary. If you have questions about the restoration process, contact your local authorities or a restoration company near you for more details.
1. Wait for the All Clear to Return to Your Property
If you evacuated from your home, wait until authorities sound the all clear to return. Even if you think it’s safe, you can’t predict the dangers you may encounter in your area. It’s best to wait until allowed to return home.
2. Take Safety Precautions Before Entering Your Property
While you may be eager to inspect the damage, always take safety precautions before entering your home. Have your utilities, especially the electricity, turned off by the utility companies. Then survey the area to ensure there are no structural dangers.
3. Take Photos and Video of the Damage for Your Insurance Claim
Although some areas require additional flood or hurricane coverage, saltwater flooding is not typically covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. Regardless, you should always document the damage just in case. Depending on the extent of the damage, your area may qualify for Federal aid or other assistance.
4. Contact a Restoration Company to Extract the Salt Water
While it’s safe to do your own water damage restoration in most cases, we strongly advise against doing so when salt water is involved. Due to its corrosive nature, the damage after saltwater flooding is often severe. This includes the likelihood of structural damage, soil erosion, and mold.
5. Have the Property Surveyed to Ensure Its Structural Sound
Due to the potential for soil erosion, you should have your home surveyed to ensure the foundation is structurally sound. Your local government may offer assistance or provide surveyors. Contact local authorities for details.
6. Once Your Property is Safe, You Can Begin Restoration
After your property is dry, the damaged materials are removed, and it’s been declared safe by an inspector or surveyor, you can finally begin restoration. At this point, you can do the rebuild yourself or hire a contractor to do it for you.
Get Salt Water Flood Restoration Now
If you have salt water damage, we will connect you to a qualified water damage restoration contractor in your area. As the nation’s largest network or restoration contractors, Restoration Local makes it easy to get an estimate on water damage repairs.
Locate a local water damage contractor near you now. For emergency response, call 1-888-443-3110 to speak with our on-call water damage company in your area. They will offer immediate response, 24-hour service, and a free estimate on water extraction and restoration services.