Contact the Kane County Building Department at 630-232-3485 to
request a damage assessment visit so that the County can assist the
property owner to determine the extent and requirements for the repairs
that will be needed. Emergency repairs can be done to stabilize or
secure the property, but the owner needs to apply for a Damage
Assessment Permit the next business day.
In a few situations, deep or fast moving waters will push a building off
its foundation, but this is rare and Kane County has few areas where the
depths and velocities are that high. More often, structural damage is
caused by the weight of standing water, known as “hydrostatic pressure.”
Basement walls and floors are particularly susceptible to damage by
hydrostatic pressure. Not only is the water acting on basement walls
deeper, a basement is subjected to the combined weight of water and
saturated earth. In addition, water in the ground underneath a flooded
building will seek its own level, resulting in uplift forces that can
break a concrete basement floor.
Due to the relatively low velocities and shallow flood depths in the
County, the most common type of damage inflicted by a flood is caused by
soaking. When soaked, many materials change their composition or shape.
Wet wood will swell and, if dried too quickly, will crack, split or
warp. Plywood can come apart. Gypsum wallboard will fall apart if it is
bumped before it dries out. The longer these materials are wet, the more
moisture, sediment and pollutants they will absorb.
Soaking can cause extensive damage to household goods. Wooden furniture
may become so badly warped that it cannot be used. Other furnishings
such as upholstery, carpeting, mattresses, and books usually are not
worth drying out and restoring. Electrical appliances and gasoline
engines will not work safely until they are professionally dried and
In short, while a building may look sound and unharmed after a flood,
the waters can cause a lot of damage. As shown in the above photo, to
properly clean a flooded building, the walls and floors should be
stripped, cleaned, and allowed to dry before being recovered. This can
take weeks and is expensive.