Condo Blues: 9 Things to Do When Your Bathroom Floods

Thursday, September 25, 2014

9 Things to Do When Your Bathroom Floods

This was supposed to be a post about how I fixed the leaking faucet I found during my grout the bathroom tile project.

Instead it turned into a how to dry out a flooded bathroom and kitchen post.

nine things to do when your bathroom floods
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Before you chastise me in the comments. I turned the water off while I worked on the faucet. Instead of taking the whole faucet valve assembly to the store like I should have done (in hindsight) I took only the part I thought I needed to replace because the valve popped off the wall in two pieces instead of one.

The problem is that the valve isn't supposed to be in two pieces but I didn’t know that.

The guy sold me the wrong part. I installed the part in the wrong order the first time and it leaked. I realized what I did wrong, shut the water off again, corrected the order, and asked Husband to turn the water back on at the main while I checked everything upstairs.

In the amount of time it takes to yell “Turn the Water on!” and immediately screaming “Turn it off! Turn it off!” our excellent water pressure soaked the interior bathroom wall, dripped though the floor to the kitchen ceiling, and soaked the floors in the master bath, master bedroom, guest bathroom, and adjoining hallway.

When I mess up I mess up BIG.

What Do I Need to Do if My Bathroom Floods?

Professional dehumidifiers and heater fans drying out the first floor ceiling

1. Turn the water off at the (sink, toilet, shower, etc.) shutoff or if you don’t have a dedicated shutoff like my shower, shut the water off at the main to the house.

2. If the water is near electrical outlets or appliances, you may need to shut the electricity off to those areas too.  Thankfully I did not have to deal with that.

3. Clean up any standing water. You may use some or all of these methods, depending on how much water you are dealing with:
  • Mop up the water with an army of towels
  • Use a wet/dry vacuum (try to get one on wheels like this stainless steel Shop-Vac like this one Your back will thank you) to remove the water from carpeting and the carpet pad underneath. (I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience)
  • Use a carpet shampooer without water or cleaner to remove as much water as I could from the carpeting and hard surfaces (I have a this Bissell Carpet Shampooer that I can't recommend enough!) I used the carpet cleaner on the areas after my husband cleaned them up with the shop vac.
4. Call a plumber to repair the problem if needed. Husband insisted after my second attempt failed at fixing the faucet. That’s how I learned Kohler shower faucets like this one are tricky because they have similar yet not interchangeable valves. I still feel like an idiot for not taking the entire thing I removed from the faucet with me to the Kohler store. Lesson learned.

5. Call your insurance company or landlord. As my insurance agent said, “this is why you buy homeowner’s insurance.” Husband did this while I was working on Numbers 3 – 9 of this list.

6. If you have carpeting and a lot of flood water you may want to pull up a corner of the carpeting to check if the water has seeped into the carpet pad and/or damaged the floor under your carpeting.


  • When I checked under our carpeting, the carpet pad was still like a wet sponge after removing the water with many, many, many passes with the carpet cleaner.
  • I was afraid if I let the soggy mess sit until the water damage guys could come to the house it could start to mold. I knew the water mitigation people the insurance company sent over would have to remove the sopping wet pad so I went ahead and did it myself. 
  • I used a pry bare to remove the carpet tack strips too. They were soaked through too. If I left them they would have acted like a vapor barrier and could promote mold growth.
  • I removed the baseboards with a pry bar so I can feel if the sheetrock was behind it near the floor was wet. It was.
7. The faucet plumbing gushed water behind a solid wall without an access panel through the floor to the kitchen ceiling below. I cut a small hole on the other side of the wall (the drywall side in the master bedroom) and checked if the sheetrock inside was wet/damp with my hand. It was.


  • We pointed a fan in the hole in the wall to start drying out the inside of the drywall. Sheet rock and water aren’t good friends and can mildew quickly. This big job needed the water damage pros to help us safely dry out the house but it didn’t hurt to do what we could in the meantime.
  • When I removed the baseboards the sheet rock was wet and wicking  water from the floor upward into the drywall.
  • I figured better safe than sorry and  used a drywall saw to cut and remove several inches of damp drywall touching the carpeting and floor
  • Removing the drywall might have been overkill, it is hard to say. I wasn’t too concerned since I know how to replace it. I was more concerned about mildew forming. At this point I was hoping the repairs would be a new section of carpet pad, some drywall, and a new baseboard. I was so wrong.

8. Many sources say if a water leaks from the second floor and through to the ceiling on the first floor like mine  did you should make a small hole in the ceiling to check for wetness using the same technique as with the wall in Number 7.   I left this to the water mitigation pros.


Fortunately, the pros could assess the water damage with a moisture meter. The water stain on the ceiling where the seams in the ceiling meet is just a water stain. It will not need replacing. Whew.

9. If you a lot of water, contact a water mitigation company to assess, clean, and dry any water damage. Our homeowners insurance company called a water mitigation company to access the water damage and dry us out. The water damage was worse than I hoped.

  • The master bathroom underlayment and vinyl flooring were removed. Otherwise it would act like a vapor barrier and promote mold.
  • Part of the guest bathroom underlayment and vinyl flooring was removed.
  • They removed more of the master bedroom and hallway carpet pads.
  • They sprayed a disinfectant on the exposed subfloor to keep mold from growing.
  • Set up a dehumidifier and heater fans to dry out the kitchen ceiling.
  • Set up a dehumidifier and heater fans upstairs to dry out the carpeting, floors, and walls in the master bathroom, guest bedroom, and hallway.

It took three days of nonstop and very hot heater fans and dehumidifiers to dry out the house. We are lucky because the equipment turned the house into an oven!


The water damage company also confirmed my sneaking suspicion we will need to remove or replace everything in these rooms.

Looks like we have not one, but three, unplanned renovations in our immediate future. Ugh.

Today I am singing the Condo Blues.

If you need to clean up from a water flood, check out the helpful tools below!
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