Water Pollution Control

How to Make Temporary Structural Repairs

When inspecting a house for structural damage, remember to check that the electrical power is off. If you're in doubt, call a licensed electrician to come out and check it. Make sure the building or any part of the building is not in danger of collapse.


  • If there is any doubt about possible gas leaks, turn off any outside gas line and let the house air for several minutes. Call your gas company for assistance.

  • If you must enter a dark area or go in at night, use a battery-operated flashlight. Don't use a flame as a light source and do not smoke.

  • Once plastered walls have dried, brush off any loose dirt, wash with mild soap and rinse with clean water, starting at the bottom and work up. Ceilings are done last. Be sure to clean out and dry heating and plumbing systems. Remove loose plaster. Repair damaged plaster on walls and ceilings. Badly damaged plaster walls can be resurfaced with gypsum board or plywood.

  • Clean any metal with a kerosene-soaked cloth. Apply a light coat of oil to prevent iron from rusting.

  • Flooded basements should be drained and cleaned as soon as possible. However, more damage can occur by pumping out the water too quickly. Drain the basement in stages, about one third of the water volume per day.

  • If the building or walls have shifted or the floors have settled badly, it may be necessary to install temporary bracing until more extensive work can be done. If deemed necessary, call a licensed building contractor.

  • To prevent wooden floors from buckling and warping further, remove a board every few feet or drive nails where the floor tends to lift or bulge.

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