Few disasters have the potential to be costlier than floods. Regrettably, even property owners who have never had a flood before may have to contend with water damage eventually. After all, sudden rainfall, poor drainage systems, tidal surges and other unexpected events may cause water to collect in or around a structure.
If your home or another building you own floods, you may expect to replace flooring, drywall, furniture and fixtures. You may not realize floods often damage building foundations, however.
Water is heavy. While your home’s foundation may have little trouble supporting the weight of the structure, water weight may cause the foundation to sink, sag or collapse. If a significant volume of water accumulates in or around your building’s foundation, you may need to consult with a structural engineer to determine if the foundation remains strong.
Many building foundations rely on surrounding terrain for support. If a flood washes away the ground around your foundation, the foundation may collapse. On the other hand, saturated terrain may place unbearable forces on your building’s foundation, causing it to push inward.
While concrete and other foundation building materials resist water damage, too much water may cause them to deteriorate. If standing water infiltrates cracks, imperfections in your foundation may widen dangerously. Likewise, moving water may act as a blade, effectively cutting through your building’s foundation.
Even though you can take steps to protect your home’s foundation from flooding, you probably cannot eliminate your flood risk. Ultimately, choosing the right insurance coverage and pursuing a prompt settlement may help you return your building’s foundation to its pre-flood condition.