Home Improvement

How to Tell If A House Has Been Flooded Before

author-img By Arina Smith 5 Mins Read 11 September 2023


When looking to buy a new property, it is essential to buy a house that has never been flooded before. This is because a past of foundation or groundwork base flooding weakens the structural integrity of the house in addition to providing a suitable environment for the growth of molds and bacteria, which could be dangerous to the health of the occupants of the house. Additionally, a house with a history of flooding in most cases is located in flood-prone areas with a high possibility of recurrent floods that could damage your new home. Nevertheless, most home sellers would be reluctant to provide a history of any past flooding since it significantly lowers the value of the property in addition to turning away potential buyers. It is therefore crucial that you establish whether a house has been flooded before by looking at some elements of previous flooding or water damage discussed below.

1. Landscaping:

The first indicator of past flooding is usually landscaping where most property owners would conceal past flooding through grading areas around the foundation of the house. Try to take note of downward grading aimed at directing water away from the foundation. How does the backyard garden appear? Sunken garden beds are a key indicator of past flooding as excessive water seeps into the garden making it appear sunken.

2. Flood Region Ratings:

The best way you can establish past flooding is to stop by at municipal or town offices or visit their official website to access the property’s flood zone rating. These ratings usually provide a history of past flooding as well as the risk of recurrent flooding. Flood Region Ratings or Flood Zone Rating consists of three zones: Zone A with the highest probability of flooding, Zone B and Zone C with minimal risk of getting flooded. If the house you are willing to buy is in Zone A, then it most likely has a history of past flooding, or it’s at high risk of flooding, and you shouldn’t buy it. In addition to enabling you to establish the history of past flooding; flood zone ratings are required when buying flood insurance protection policies from insurance companies providing flood cover. Buying flood insurance will require you to obtain a flood elevation certificate, which in this case requires hiring an elevation certificate surveyor, such as Scalice Land Surveying.

3. Water Stains on Foundation or Siding:

Stagnant flood water in most cases leaves telltale discolored stains on the exterior foundation and siding. To establish or seek out a history of past flooding, it is advisable to observe the foundation on the outside and siding to establish if any slightly discolored stains are visible. Please look out for both old ones and new ones. The intensity and ground level of the stain on the sidings usually indicate the severity of the flood.

4. Soft Drywall:

Soft drywall on the house interior is a clear indication of flooding. Find out whether the bottom of the walls is damaged, the baseboards are discolored or the drywall is crumbling. If the rubber mallet on the bottom of the wall sinks into the drywall when tapped softly, then the house must have been flooded at some point.

5. Floor Joists:

House owner usually repairs most damages caused by flooding before selling off the house. However, the floor joists are left out of the renovation work, as many owners do not see its significance. You can use this to your advantage and find out if the house has been flooded before. Take a walk around the basement, and look carefully for any black discoloration or dark marks on the above joists that may point to a case of past flooding.

A house with a history of flooding is indeed a subtle problem just waiting to happen. Flooding weakens the house structures and provides an ideal environment for the growth of molds, bacteria and other pests such as termites which are dangerous to your health and significantly affects the house durability. Home sellers usually try to hide the previous flooding and therefore you should try to establish past flooding by looking at certain aspects of water damage such as landscaping, soft drywalls and water stains on foundation or sidings. Sometimes, you may not know what to look at exactly, and that’s why a real estate agent is needed.

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Arina Smith

I enjoy writing and I write quality guest posts on topics of my interest and passion. I have been doing this since my college days. My special interests are in health, fitness, food and following the latest trends in these areas. I am an editor at OnlineNewsBuzz.

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