Is it possible to save a flooded house?

It may be possible to save a flooded house based on how minimal the damage is, but there are many reasons the house might not be salvageable.

A flood can cause lasting damage to your home, even if it's not hit by an impact load like a wave. Once the water outside your house has subsided, the house itself can remain waterlogged for some time. Hydrodynamic loads, caused by floodwater flowing around and against your house, can weaken the foundation while inundating the house with soil and silt. And if you pump water out of your basement while the surrounding soil remains saturated, the walls and floors can crack or collapse from hydrostatic loads pressing against the sides of your house.


If your foundation or basement walls crack, you'll probably need to replace them. This is expensive and difficult, and in most cases it would make more sense to tear down the home than to try to repair it. And if the damage is more than half your home's market value, you may not have a choice; you may be legally required to tear the house down. Some regulations may require you to fill in the basement and raise your home higher off the ground. This expense makes trying to salvage your home even less worthwhile.

Demolition is expensive. You'll need to get permits and remove all dangerous materials, such as asbestos, before proceeding. (Find out how to do this legally.) The actual demolition might not cost too much, but disposing of the debris afterwards can be very expensive, especially because floodwater picks up chemicals and contaminates your home and its contents. You may have to pay to get the debris moved to a designated site and pay a dumping fee for leaving it there.

Don't make a final decision until you check with your insurance company, because some or all the costs of elevating or flood-proofing your home (or demolishing it) may be covered.