Tag Archives: Boulder

Mountains of Mud in Boulder, Colorado

SAND VS. MUD: With 16,000 homes impacted by the historic flooding that occurred in Boulder, Colorado last week, many people are facing a mountain of clean up. Unlike Hurricane Sandy that decimated the eastern coastline last fall, dumping tons of sand in the streets, the flooding in Colorado brought mud – and lots of it.


Hurricane Sandy 2012 – Hauling sand from the streets in NYC

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS (AND STRANGERS): Coming to the help of those buried in Boulder are numerous volunteers willing to help sling some mud. With an assist from social media, those in need are quickly able to connect with volunteers willing and ready to help them shovel mounds of muddy sludge from their flood ravaged homes. What started as a grassroots effort has sprung into a website, one that  depicts a map showing where volunteers are needed.  Though the clean up efforts will take months, those whose homes and lives have been touched by the flood will hopefully feel empowered by the outreach from the community.  “I get by with a little help from my friends,”  John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Photo credit: AP Mud encrusted homes in the aftermath of the Boulder flood - 2013

Photo credit: AP
Mud encrusted homes in the aftermath of the Boulder flood – 2013

To help with the clean up efforts visit: www.donateboulder.com 

18 Inches of Rain Brings Pain to Boulder, Colorado

At long last the rain has let up and the storm has passed, yet many will feel the ramifications of the recent flooding in Boulder, Colorado for months to come. Numerous homes endured total destruction while others suffered comparatively minor damage with flooding restricted to their basement. Unfortunately for those without flood insurance, they will have to rebuild on their own. Flooding is about as appealing as a kick to the head.

Should those who were impacted by this freak of nature storm run out to purchase flood insurance? No. It takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to take effect. But what about moving forward, should those homes impacted by floodwater purchase flood insurance? YES. Depending on the flood risk for your home, the rates can be very inexpensive.


1. It takes 30 days to take effect

2. Building Coverage (house and mechanicals) and Content Coverage (your stuff) MUST be purchased separately

3. Flood Insurance offers limited coverage for basements

1500 HOMES DESTROYED IN BOULDER FLOOD: “Some 1,500 homes have been destroyed and about 17,500 have been damaged, according to an initial estimate released by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management.” HUGE numbers of homes have been impacted.

120,000 HOMES DAMAGED: “According to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, 4,550 Boulder County homeowners are covered by flood insurance. That figure is well above the national per-capita average, but U.S. Census data suggests it still leaves many of the roughly 120,000 county households soaked and damaged, with dim prospects for total financial recovery.” www.dailycamera.com/news/boulder-flood/ci_24083820/flood-damage-leaves-boulder-area-residents-scrambling


Hang in there, Boulder!

Top 7 Tips to Handle Basement Flooding

On the heels of extensive flash flooding occurring in parts of Boulder, Colorado today, I wanted to offer some useful tips to those facing basement flooding. As someone who has dealt with this issue on numerous occasions, and much worse (hey, that’s why we’re elevating our house), I’ve learned a few things.  *if your house has endured flooding higher than your basement, you’ve come to the right place.

Dumpster needed to dispose of flood damaged walls, floors, insulation, etc.

Dumpster needed to dispose of flood damaged walls, floors, insulation, etc.


1. TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY: The longer water sits, the more damage it is going to cause to everything that it touches.

2.  FLOOD WATER VS. GROUND WATER:  Whenever there is excessive water with no where else to go, it will find its way in – it’s sneaky that way. Determine if the water in your basement is floodwater or ground water. The former is a much bigger problem. Floodwater is composed of pesticides, chemical run off, animal waste, etc. It’s nasty. Ground water that seeps into your basement through the foundation is usually clean, hence a much easier clean up process.

3. SAFETY FIRST: Water is a phenomenal conductor of electricity – ever wonder why they insist on emptying the swimming pool at the first clap of thunder? Use caution when entering an area where the floor is covered with water. If the water is covering any electrical outlets, don’t go in  – unless you are confident that you know how to shut of the electricity  to this area first.

4. CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY: This is an area they should be well versed in as flooding happens everywhere. They can advise you on how to file a claim, let you know what is covered and what is not, and possibly provide some names of service providers to assist you with the clean-up. Your homeowners insurance may or may not cover this. If you have flood insurance, the link below will help you determine what is covered in a basement and what is not:


5. TAKE PICTURES OF EVERYTHING: If you plan to submit a claim to your insurance company, document everything before you start your clean up efforts. The more pictures you have, the better odds of getting reimbursed. Everything from your carpets, to shoes, to toppled over furniture, etc. If you have them, gather receipts for everything that you want to claim, it will expedite the insurance process.

6. WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT: Only after you have taken many pictures should you begin to clean up the area. If you are dealing with floodwater, it’s easy – almost everything should be thrown into a pile to be thrown out. If you have content insurance as part of your flood insurance policy, an insurance adjuster may want to see all of the damaged items – so don’t throw them away just yet. Keep the items in a heap pile outside, if you are able.

If it’s ground water that has flooded your basement, you can safely keep almost everything that was not destroyed by the water. Water is surprisingly destructive. Area rugs should be rolled up and sent out to be professionally cleaned. Wall-to-wall carpeting may or may not be able to be salvaged, depending upon how badly it was saturated. The main problem you are going to need to mitigate against is mold.

7. CONTACT SERVICE PROFESSIONALS: There are many service providers who are experts at dealing with basement flooding. Let them help you. They cover everything from pumping out the water to sanitizing the space to throughly drying it out. The methods they may employ to dry out the space generally comes in the form of heat and/or industrial fans.

Flood Savvy

Basement flooded in 2004

Drying equipment to dry out basement that had been flooded.

Drying equipment to dry out basement that had been flooded.

The photo above shows several drying equipment pieces that were used to provide 24 hours of a high-heat blast to the basement in an effort to dry it out.  This was after a flood event in 2011.  We’ve used this technique as well as industrial fans to accomplish the same outcome. In my opinion, the fans do a better job.

If you have repeated basement flooding there are techniques you can use to mitigate against suffering through this problem again – provided the flooding is minimal. Any number of “Dry Basement” type companies should be able to help you moving forward.

Ultimately for us, we moved all of the mechanicals out of the basement and relocated them to an attic space above our garage.  A few years later, we began this current project of elevating the entire house to mitigate against any kind of the flooding.

Flash Floods in Boulder, Colorado

FREAK STORM: Boulder, Colorado awoke to extensive flash flooding this morning, brought on my overnight heavy rainfall amounts. Everyone understands and appreciates the damage that a wild coastal storm can bring to an area, but even landlocked states endure flooding concerns. The combination of too much water + too short a period of time = flooding. Every time.

FLOOD WATER VS. GROUND WATER: There is a big distinction between flood water entering your home versus ground water seeping in through the foundation (as a  result of the water tables beneath your house rising). Flood water is riddled with pesticides, chemical run off, and possibly even sewage. As a result, if flood water enters your home, I’d advise you to throw out anything that can not be properly sanitized. If the water is seeping up through the ground, it’s a matter of drying everything out to avoid the risk of mold developing.

The link below has the latest news and photos from the flash floods in Boulder, Colorado: kdvr.com/2013/09/12/live-blog-flash-flood-emergency/