How to Tell if a House Has Been in a Flood

What You'll Need
What You'll Need

When buying a new home you will need to have a house inspection to look for any potential problems, including if it has been in a  flood. Homes that are located in a flood area will show signs that they have been affected. Here are a few steps to take when looking at any home you are are buying to make sure it is sound and free of any damage.

Step 1- Give Broad Inspection

Before you get into any of the specific inspection of the home, look over the entire house completely. You will be able to see if there are any glaring problems with a quick look over. Make sure to make notes about any problems you might see for further inspection.

Step 2- Look at Outside Grade

One big clue that a flood has damaged the home is that the grade of the ground will be uneven around it. Check for drastic drop offs around the house. There will be places that are level with the foundation but drop several inches quickly.

Step 3- Water Stains on Foundation or Siding

While still looking at the outside of the home you can look closely at the siding and foundation. Look for the telltale stains that indicate water was present. Depending on the severity of the flood this can be a few inches above the ground level to a few feet up on the siding.

Step 4- Soft Drywall

Once you have looked over the outside you can travel to the inside. The first thing to look for is any damage to the walls. It will be clear that there has been water damage just by looking at the bottom of the walls. Are the baseboards discolored? Is the drywall crumbling? Go over to the bottom of the wall and give it some soft taps with a rubber mallet. If it doesn't bounce back and sinks into the drywall, it was soaked in water.

Step 5- Stains on Hardwood Floors

Water will leave a distinct mark on hardwood floors when it sits for any length of time. Look for signs where water has puddled or even soaked into the floor.

Step 6- Look at Floor Joists

Go into the basement and run your flashlight over the floor joists. Many people will fix a lot of different parts of their home, but forget the floor joists. They will show dark water stains if they had any amount of water leaking onto them. They could even be bowed if the water stayed on the floor for several days before being evacuated.

When buying a new home it is important to do a quick home inspection yourself and know what to look for. Use these easy steps to determine if the home you are buying has been in a flood.