Ripping your house down to the foundation and starting over is a crazy thing to do. You don't do it without a lot of thought and input from many, many people. After Harvey we mucked out the house, we ripped everything out up to the ceiling. Eventually, it was just a shell, waiting for something to be done.
After Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, we did this for the first time. Twelve inches of water floated through the house back then. We tore stuff out and rebuilt it just like it was. We were back in the house in a few months, but Harvey was different.
Standing in that empty shell one day, I called a friend to get rebuilding ideas. We talked materials, costs, time... we talked about a lot of stuff. I was ready to rebuild just like we did before. Then, my friend asked me a question before we hung up. "Hey!" he said. "Why don't you just tear down the rest of it and rebuild it higher than before to avoid the next flood. You know it's gonna flood again, don't you?" Yes, it would cost a little more, but it kind of made sense.
Later that week, another colleague asked the same question. I was beginning to wonder if God was answering the "What should we do?" prayers I had been praying. The answer was becoming clear. I asked my wife about the idea and, slowly, we came around to the idea of starting over.
As a home builder, I turned to yet another colleague: a friend as wise as Solomon when it comes to residential construction and building science. He is unique in that he actually speaks with two different accents. He was originally born in Canada, moved to Boston, and is now a full-fledged American citizen. Dr. Joe Lstiburek is the main man at Building Science Corporation. After consulting with him, I knew what we had to do. Joe eventually wrote an article I wish all Texans would read. Here's a link. He addresses our dilemma. If I rebuild and can't raise it up, what do I do and what's the best way to do it?
The article is full of gems like the illustration above. Yes, the best way to rebuild along a creek, along a bayou, or even along a river is to build up, way up, above where the water could rise. But, if you can't do that, using materials that will make the rebuilding process easier and more economical is what Joe spells out in his article.
This was my starting point. I hope you will click on the link above and do it right. If your house flooded once, it will flood again. Be prepared. Make the right choice. Raise the house, but if you can't raise it, rebuild using details and materials that have been proven to minimize losses due to flooding.