Tear Out

Tear Out the Damage

Other than entering your home after a flood, tearing out the flood damaged building items can be the most dangerous step of the restoration process.  You’ll be exposed to dust, mold and mildew, broken glass, sharp items, nails and debris associated with a construction site.  Take precautions.  Use dust masks, gloves, eye protection, sturdy shoes, etc. to protect yourself from injuries.  You might even want to get a Tetanus shot as a precaution.  Your situation may require additional tear out items.

Below are some basic steps involved with the tear out process.  Remove all items that hold water prior to drying out your home.  If water-soaked items are not removed (other than wood framing, exterior sheathing, etc.), the dry out process will take longer and the extra dry out time will not be paid for by your policy.

Chances are, after your home was flooded, the power company came by and disconnected your utilities as a safety precaution. After the home is dried out, have the utilities restored so you can begin work on your house.

I found some videos on YouTube that show you how to remove different items from your home. Click on the videos to watch them.


Unless your flooring is tile, you will want to remove the areas damaged by the flood. Flood waters usually do not damage tiles installed on a concrete slab. The policy will not pay for replacing the tile flooring just because it got wet. It will pay to regrout and seal. View videos below of how to Remove Wet Carpet and how to Remove Wet Pad.


After the flooring is removed, remove the baseboards. Depending on how high the water was in your home will determine if the policy will pay to remove and replace your baseboards or detach and reset them. The following video shows how to remove baseboards without damaging your walls.

Door & Window Trim

Once the baseboards are removed, if the flood waters damaged any door or door trim, you will want to remove the doors and trim.  However, if the drywall was not damaged by flood waters, there is no need to remove the door trim (casing).  This also applies to the window trim.  I will discuss this with you at the time of the inspection.  See the video (Baseboards above) for Removing Trim.



If floodwaters soaked the drywall, remove the drywall from the floor up to one foot above the water line.  See the video below on removing wet drywall. Once the drywall is removed, the wet insulation will be exposed. Remove the insulation from the floor up to one foot above the water line.


If your cabinets were damaged by the flood waters or if the drywall and insulation behind the cabinets needs to be replaced, the cabinets will either need to be detached and reset if they are not damaged by flood or removed and replaced if they were damaged by the flood.  The policy does not pay for matching.  If the base cabinets were damaged but the upper cabinets were not damaged by the flood, only the base cabinets will be paid for.  If the cabinet face frame and doors were not damaged, they can be removed from the damaged cabinet boxes and installed on the new cabinet boxes.  This will give the look of matching upper and lower cabinets since the policy does not pay for matching. 


If you have granite, stone or solid surface countertops, most contractors will tell you they cannot be detached and reset without damaging them.  The fact is, they can be removed with little or no damage.  Here is NFIP’s position on these types of countertops.  Feel free to print it out and give it to your contractor.  If you or your contractor have any questions about this process, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Laminate countertops can be detached and reset since they are usually attached to the base cabinets with screws from the underside of the countertop.  Tile countertops will need to be replaced since they cannot be removed in one piece.

The following video I found on YouTube shows how one contractor removes granite countertops. Granite, stone and solid surface countertops can be detached and reset. Most contractors will say they can’t be removed without damage. I believe this is because most contractors only do the install. Very few have experience detaching and resetting these types of countertops. If you or your contractor have any questions about this process, please don’t hesitate to contact me.