While most people think of flooded basements, bathrooms, and attics as the main culprit for flood damage, flooded garages can cost just as much to remediate and repair. When severe storms hit, or plumbing fails, garage flooding can cause extensive water damage.
Flooding is one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in the United States and can cost a homeowner tens of thousands of dollars in damages and home repair. In fact, according to the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), just one inch of floodwater can cause $25,000 of damage to a home.
Do you know if your garage is at risk for flooding during a water emergency? Let’s take a look at the causes of garage flooding, how you can prevent a catastrophic garage flood loss, and what to do if your garage floods.
Common Causes of Garage Flooding
Flooding can be a nightmare for homeowners. It can take a homeowner by surprise and not only is it difficult to deal with, but the consequences can also be costly. Homeowners don’t usually think of their garage as a flood risk, but it does happen. The most common causes of garage flooding include:
- Severe Weather: Snowmelt during the late winter, heavy rainfall during spring and summer thunderstorms, and tropical storms and hurricanes can cause garage flooding quickly. When the ground surrounding your home can’t divert water fast enough, the water can enter the home through the garage and the foundation.
- Burst Pipes: Many plumbing systems run through the garage of a home. During cold weather, pipes can freeze and burst spilling gallons of water into the garage. Old pipes can also fail and lead to garage flooding.
- Sewage Flooding: Sewage leaks are difficult to deal with and can happen for many reasons. Most often, sewage flooding is caused during severe rainstorms. When too much rainwater permeates sewers, it can cause water to seep from underneath the garage.
If you experienced a garage flood that caused damages, it may make sense to have an emergency restoration services team help you with water mitigation and water damage restoration.
Tips to Prevent Garage Flooding
Garages are often a catch-all to store household goods, gardening supplies, tools, holiday decor, and other miscellaneous items. When water enters the garage, these belongings can quickly be damaged. Garage flooding may not be completely avoidable during a severe weather event or water emergency, however, there are steps you can take to help reduce your risk and prevent severe damage.
- Seal Leaks and Cracks: Garages, like basements, don’t get the same attention as other areas of a home. Take time to inspect your garage and look for leaks and cracks. Over time, concrete will start to crack, especially at the seams. These cracks can be entry points for water during a flood. If you find a crack or a leak, clean the area properly and use a concrete filler to fill in the gap.
- Weather Strip Garage Door: Garage door weather strips not only help keep water out of your garage, but they also increase the overall insulation of a home and keep pests from sneaking under the garage door. Weatherstripping kits are available at most hardware stores, or you can have a garage door company install them for you.
- Install Flood Barrier: During torrential rain or other severe weather events, it may be hard for weather stripping to keep all floodwater from entering your garage. In these cases of severe weather, having a flood barrier on hand can make all the difference. You can place sandbags outside of your garage or pick up a water-activated flood barrier that will absorb, control, and divert floodwater. Most big-box hardware stores carry flood barriers and sandbags.
- Clean Gutters: One of the easiest ways to prevent home flooding is to keep your gutters clean and free of debris. Gutters are designed to move water away from a house and when they begin to overflow and do not work properly, rainwater can seep into your garage or other parts of the home. It’s best practice to clean your gutters several times a year, more often if you have lots of foliage near your house.
- Improve Drainage: In addition to cleaning gutters, another easy way to prevent water from flooding your garage is to improve the drainage around your home. When it rains, take notice where the water pools quickly and doesn’t drain in a timely manner. You can grade that area away from the house, either on your own or by working with a landscaper.
- Store Items Off of the Floor: While this tip won’t prevent flooding, it will prevent damage to your belongings in case your garage does actually flood. Instead of placing items on the garage floor, strategically place them above the potential flooding line. There are a wide variety of garage storage solutions for all of your garage items including overhead shelving, stacked shelving, and wall accessories for items like yard tools, bikes, and toys.
What to Do If Your Garage Floods
Even with proper preventative measures in place, your garage and other areas of your home may fall victim to a flood in some situations. While it may be overwhelming the important thing to do is to take quick action to avoid extensive damage and mold growth.
If your garage floods, follow these steps to help start the water remediation and water mitigation process:
- Shut Off Power: Water and electricity are a dangerous combination. Shut off the power to your garage or area of the home that was affected before entering the space.
- Check for Damage: Water is destructive and can cause damage to the foundation, walls, and even ceilings in a garage. Look for water-soaked areas, buckling drywall, and existing cracks or leaks to see what kind of damage you are dealing with.
- Document Damages: Before completely removing the water or starting to dry out the area, document the damages caused by the flood. Your insurance company will want proof of the damage for your homeowners’ insurance claim.
- Begin Water Removal: For small amounts of water, you may be able to remove the water completely from your garage. Because mold growth is a concern after a water loss, start the drying process as soon as possible. Open the garage door to create air circulation. If needed, use a shop vacuum to remove excess water.
- Contact an Emergency Restoration Services Company: In cases where the water is overwhelming, you may need to call a professional. Experienced, trained emergency water mitigation and water damage restoration experts have the proper tools and resources to get your garage back to its pre-loss condition quickly.
Flood Remediation Experts in Harrisburg, Pa., Philadelphia, Pa., and Baltimore, Md.
Reynolds Restoration Services is the premier commercial and residential flood damage restoration company in the mid-Atlantic region. With offices in Harrisburg, PA., Philadelphia, PA., and Baltimore, MD., our team of water mitigation and water damage emergency response professionals can be on-site quickly to help you with emergency services.
We know how stressful water damage can be, even when it happens in a garage. We have trusted relationships with most insurance companies and know-how to restore properties to their pre-loss condition quickly. While we hope you’re never in a position to need our emergency restoration services, know that we are here to help 24/7. Let us take care of your flooded garage so you have peace of mind the project is done professionally to prevent further damage down the road.