Assessing flood damage after Hurricane Irma: What stays and what should go?

How to assess flood damage after Hurricane Irma
Posted at 2:34 AM, Sep 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 06:37:57-04

The aftermath of hurricane-caused flooding is something many homeowners are dealing with right now. Some are still waiting for the water to recede. 

Michelle Solomon has lived in her home, along the Alafia River in Valrico since 1988.

"It seems to be getting worse when it floods. It seems to get faster and higher," Soloman said, pointing towards the end of her street. 

Solomon says the river left Hill Drive mostly underwater, but many of the homes fared okay. Just down the street on Williams Boulevard most familes were not as fortunate with water entering their homes. A giant pile of debris lines Pine Street. 

Soloman says even though the water didn't make it into her house, the flooring is starting to show signs of damage.

"See how soft it is, and that starting to get this ripple along it. And right here too," Soloman says pointing to the molding along her floor in the kitchen.

Insulation and duct work underneath her home is sopping wet. Some of it is on her front yard, waiting to be picked up with the trash.

"Water will seep into just about every nook and cranny of the house," said Gerald DeFabrizio, owner of Tampa Tile, who says that can cause mold and mildew to grow, making you sick.

He says getting a contractor in right away will help you figure out what stays and what goes. 

"It’s amazing what two days can do. Because there’s just filth and trash everywhere," said Solomon.

The longer it sits the more likely it cannot be salvaged, according to DeFabrizio.

Before letting a contractor do any work, you need to check to see if they are licensed by the state at You also need to make sure any contractor is insured and if they specialize in moisture abatement and remodel work.

Ask for references and check those, too. DeFabrizio says stick with one contractor and let them buy all the materials. That way you only have to write one check and if work goes wrong and it only takes one call to make it right. 

DeFabrizio says a general rule of thumb when it comes to budgeting your flooring repairs is the cost of the total job should equal about three times the cost of the tile. Double check your numbers with what your contractor comes up with to make sure it is right.