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Protect Your Home from Springtime Flood Damage

So you want to avoid water damage this spring. The most important thing you can do is be prepared.

Here in Michigan, meteorologists expect to see more precipitation as the seasons change. So let’s talk about some of the steps you can take to protect your property from springtime flooding.

What Causes Spring Flood Damage?

It happens to everyone, right? When the snow melts—or the rain picks up—water can pool inside your home.

While you can’t control the weather, you can take certain measures to protect your property. We’ll get to those shortly. For now, we’ll review some common causes of spring flood damage.

  • Clogged gutters

In the fall and winter, debris builds in gutters. This keeps water from flowing in the spring—especially when heavy rain accumulates near your property’s foundation. Similar to gutters, clogged downspouts can also lead to water backups.

  • Foundation cracks

Not all foundation cracks are created equal. Vertical cracks, for example, are usually less harmful than horizontal ones. They’re often the result of settling, while horizontal cracks can occur due to shifts in soil pressure. As that soil pressure intensifies, water can infiltrate your property.

  • Damaged shingles

When you think of spring flooding, you may focus on your basement. Your roof is critical too, though. Missing or damaged shingles can cause leaks, while gaps around your chimney or ventilation system can intensify existing water damage.

  • Drainage problems

Does the ground around your property slope awayfrom the foundation? If not, you’ll want to make sure it does. Otherwise, you risk inviting rainwater and melted snow into your basement. This can lead to a stressful, expensive mess inside your home.  

  • Sump pump issues

Sump pumps are a nonnegotiable in Michigan. In the spring, when water levels are high, you need to confirm your device is in working order. Poor sump pump installation and general wear and tear can all exacerbate spring flooding.

Know that you don’t have to go through your home maintenance checklist alone. Consider working with a team of professionals to protect your property from water damage.

Indoor Tips to Prevent Spring Flood Damage in Michigan

From March through June, property owners face a higher risk of flood damage. Chances are you won’t be affected, but it’s still good to take precautions. After all, even an inch of moisture intrusion can lead to thousands of dollars in restoration costs.

Consider the following indoor flood prevention tips before the spring storm season kicks off. These strategies will help reduce your risk of flood damage.

  • Install a water alarm

A water alarm will let you know when excess water pools in your basement. Similar to a leak detection system, the goal is to get ahead of a potential issue beforeit becomes a real problem.

  • Clean your gutters every spring

Clogged gutters are one of the most preventable sources of water damage. Plan to clean your gutters and downspouts twice per year to lower your risk of drainage issues.

  • Inspect your basement windows

Not all windows come out of a long winter unscathed. To prevent water damage, check your basement windows for leaks (and replace them as needed). Look for signs like rotten wood or missing caulk.

  • Make sure your sump pump works

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to check on your sump pump. Also, please make sure your device’s discharge hose drains away from your foundation.

Like any appliance, you’ll need to replace your sump pump on occasion (usually every seven years). Prioritize annual maintenance to learn more about your device’s performance. You may also choose to invest in a battery-operated backup sump pump. This will protect your property from flood damage if the power goes out during a storm. 

Outdoor Tips to Prevent Spring Flood Damage in Michigan

We typically see the effects of water damage inside the home. To decrease your risk of flooding, you’ll want to pay close attention to your property’s exterior too.

  • Address foundation cracks

Foundation cracks are fairly common. Again, not all of them are serious. If the cracks are small, you may be able to replace the soil around your foundation with a more porous option like gravel.

You can also install a drainage system at the base of your foundation. Some homeowners will even insulate their foundation to prevent heat loss to the nearby ground.

Just don’t ignore foundation cracks that are large, extensive, or horizontal. If you have any concerns at all, hire a foundation or basement expert for a thorough inspection.

  • Apply caulk or weather stripping to windows and doors

All houses settle over time. Changing moisture levels may cause the soil beneath the property to shift even further. You can check for signs of settling by searching door and window frames for gaps.

If you notice gaps, consider applying exterior caulk to prevent moisture from seeping in. (This will also help with insulation.) Also, window-glazing putty will seal glass into your window frame.

Applying weather stripping around doors is yet another measure you can take to prevent flood-related water damage.

  • Improve your grading

Not all property owners give their grading the attention it deserves. Here again, you need to make sure your lawn slopes away from your home. This is known as a positive grade, and it means that excess water will naturally flow in the right direction.

If your grading is flat (level) or angled toward your foundation (negative), you could be allowing extra moisture into your property. This is a serious cause of springtime water damage.

While small grading solutions can be easy fixes, bigger ones may require a new drainage system entirely. Talk to a professional before trying to fix a major issue on your own.

Am I at Risk of Flood-Related Damage in Michigan?

Flooding can happen anywhere—to virtually anyone. While some places have a higher risk of spring flooding, there’s only so much you can do to avoid the domino effects of heavy rain and melted snow.

To evaluate your risk of flood-related damage, you may want to consult a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Map. These tools will let you know whether your home is likely to flood. Factoring in data like rainfall, drainage, and nearby construction projects, you can determine whether your property is at risk.

Keep in mind that there’s no such thing as a zero-risk zone—not even in Michigan. You can reach out to a land surveyor or home inspector if you want a more personalized take. Land surveyors will give you an Elevation Certificate (EC), which can help you lock in a better flood insurance rate.

Home inspectors, meanwhile, can conduct a thorough preventive evaluation. They’ll search for signs of moisture intrusion (or existing water damage) and assess your property’s ability to manage water seepage. They can even recommend repairs before any springtime flooding occurs.

In 2024, the average cost of a home inspection is $342. That’s a fraction of the cost of water damage restoration in Michigan. Talk about a solid return on your investment.

Will My Home Insurance Cover Flood Damage This Spring?

Here’s a common misconception: most insurance policies cover flood-related damage.

But when water damage occurs from a source outside the home, few policies will protect you. And while parts of Michigan are more flood-prone than others, springtime flooding can affect anyone.

So check your insurance coverage for more information on your exact plan. If you’re concerned about water damage this spring, you can always buy a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Anyone who’s even remotely anxious about flood-related water damage can benefit. And the peace of mind this type of policy brings is real. After all, FEMA shows that just 60% of NFIP claims come from homeowners in high-risk areas. This means that lots of people are caught off-guard.

Sometimes, instead of going through the NFIP, you can pay your insurance carrier a higher premium for additional coverage. Think about shopping around for a policy that covers damage from spring flooding, sump pump backups, and other water-related issues.

Please act quickly if you want to upgrade your policy. In most cases, you’ll need to wait 30 days for your new flood insurance plan to take effect.

And remember that while insurance is great, maintenance is even more important. Prevention offers the best protection against springtime flood damage—so be vigilant, and save yourself the stress of full-on remediation.

Can Spring Flooding Cause Mold Growth?

There’s nothing fun or exciting about spring flooding. Yet ignoring the problem can make it even worse. If you don’t remediate water damage within a day or two, you may have another issue on your plate: mold growth.

Most people know that mold thrives in damp environments. In the spring, mild temperatures lead to higher-than-average indoor humidity levels. This, unfortunately, creates the perfect breeding ground for harmful mold spores.

Here again, you can take quick action by:

  • Removing standing water from your basement
  • Thoroughly drying your property after a flood
  • Using a dehumidifier and monitoring indoor humidity levels
  • Cleaning and disinfecting affected surfaces

Try not to address springtime water damage or mold growth on your own. Without proper remediation, mold can colonize in 24 to 48 hours of water exposure. Delaying or DIYing restoration will lead to even bigger problems—and potentially cause mold to spread throughout your property. 

How Can I Find a Water Damage Restoration Company in Michigan?

A friend or neighbor may offer to help restore your flooded basement. That’s the kind of generosity we like to see, but it isn’t enough to mitigate real damage. To keep your property in good shape, you’ll want to work with a reputable water damage restoration company.  

During your search, keep an eye out for factors like:

  • Customer satisfaction

From online reviews to word-of-mouth recommendations, customer feedback is invaluable. A little research will help you find a water damage restoration partner you can trust.

  • Trained specialists

Water damage restoration involves so much more than drying a flooded basement. Look for a licensed team that understands the nuances of contamination, mold removal, and spring flooding in general.

  • Financing information

Remember that spring flood damage isn’t usually covered by insurance. However, many restoration companies offer financing options that help homeowners remediate problems without breaking the bank.

  • Local expertise

National franchises can be very effective, but they only know so much about the communities they serve. A provider that understands the local environment can target regional water damage issues.

A good partner will work with you to bring your home back to prime condition. At Ram Restoration, we serve commercial and residential property owners in Grand Rapids, MI and the surrounding area. We personally understand the strain of springtime flood-related damage and will do everything we can to remediate the problem.

Choose Ram Restoration for Expert Water Damage Remediation

Springtime flooding can be remarkably anxiety-inducing—especially when the damage seeps into your home. If your property takes on excess water, you’ll need to act immediately. Wait too long, and water damage can lead to serious issues like black mold. Our Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certified remediation professionals at Ram Restoration will help you navigate this.

Available 24/7, our licensed and insured team will completely restore your water-damaged property in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, MI. We offer emergency services and work with all insurance carriers to bring your property back to the standard you expect. Our dispatchers are quick too. We recognize that every second counts, so our techs will be sent to your home within 15 minutes—no exceptions.  

Whether you’re looking to discuss springtime flooding or mitigate existing water infiltration, Ram Restoration will gladly answer any questions you may have. Our team is always willing to provide a custom quote, so please contact us for details on our water damage restoration services.

Oh, and did we mention our emergency water damage phone line is open around the clock? Call (616) 818-1700 for an immediate response this spring.