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Old 11-01-2012, 07:28 PM   #1
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NJ Beach House and Sandy


I was one of those impacted by Sandy, and have some remediation questions. Was allowed on island last night. Water rose to the doors, but it doesn't appear inside. Took water in the crawl space under house all the way up to beams, floor joists, sill plates. HVAC ducting running under there as well as natural gas and water lines. Still 2 - 3 feet of water in there, I will start pumping it out tomorrow. What should I look for when I get back under? Do I need to do anything to wood (beams, joists, etc) as I'm sure it is wet? Should I rip out vent work and ducts and redo? Do I have to assume under house is contaminated with lovelies like fecal coliform and have it professionally de-conned? Anthing else I should be thinking about? Input appreciated!

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Old 11-01-2012, 08:17 PM   #2
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A good start would be to contact your insurance agent to get an appointment scheduled for damage assessment before you do any repairs. The company will probably start by sending out their agent to photograph the damage, and make an initial assessment of damages. If necessary, the insurance company will contract with an engineer to do a followup to assess how much damage was caused by wind versus water, as the insurance can be very different for each. Of course, if you do not have insurance, my sympathies, and of course the above is irrelevant.

As to repair, you generally need to start by pumping out the water, which I assume is salt water. It is generally useful to hose down the impacted area with fresh water, as salt can cause long term residual damage if not removed, and the easiest way to remove salt is to spray with clean water, which of course you then have to pump out.

I have inspected over two hundred houses damaged by salt water, many on the Gulf Coast, and perhaps a dozen more in Connecticut. My experience suggests that the drywall is in general beyond salvage, OSB and particle board are normally beyond salvage, and paint finishes are generally severely damaged by salt water. Framing can often be salvaged by cleaning and drying. Many types of floor finishes are very resistant to water damage, including porcelain tile, stone, and vinyl.

Hardwood floors often cup severely, and generally require professional repair. Insulation in walls is usually beyond salvage, and must be removed and replaced after the walls are completely dried. Exterior finishes often can be completely salvaged, in particular brick, stone, and vinyl siding do well. Wooden siding usually requires professional repair, and may be beyond salvage.

Electrical systems may be damaged beyond repair from salt water, especially if the power was on when the house flooded. Copper plumbing pipes are generally OK, as are PEX and other plastic pipes, and cast iron does pretty well. Galvanized piping may be severely damaged, and should be professionally inspected.

The house may well have been infected with bacteria from coliform, and a professional cleaning and drying is certainly in order, but note my suggestions about opening up the walls first to remove wet insulation before drying the framing.

You certainly need to request a professional investigation if there is any indication of structural damage such as cracking, house out of level or out of plumb. Unbalanced water levels can cause severe foundation damage, as can flowing water, and must be carefully investigated before you reoccupy. Good luck, and sorry for your trouble.

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Old 11-01-2012, 08:19 PM   #3
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What I would do in that situation is first get the water out, put fans under the house to help dry it. You will probably have to replace and insulation that is soaked, replace the duct work. Be very careful because there will be some very nasty contaminates under there, if there is a way to disinfect under the house I would suggest that but I don't know of any personally.

As for water and gas pipes I wouldn't be concerned about them. Try not to get scratched or nicked as it could be bad. Be aware of anything wet electrical, oh and if your dryer vents through the floor you may need to check that as well to be sure there isn't water in the pipe.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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Wish I could cheer you up and not compound your worries but remember you did not just get hit and flooded by water. As already mentioned, you got hit by salt water. You must, if you can, remind your insurance adjuster of this fact.

Trust this aging sailor?

It will work out but be firm in all this. If they know they are somewhat liable to policy holders, insurance adjustors will be racing to settle which may not be in your best interests even though I know you need the money.

Dry the place out as best you can and give it and yourself time to see what you are really up against. Do not race to settlement unless you really must in this!
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:19 AM   #5
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I remember Hurricane Katrina hitting the gulf. I think it was State Farm insurance who bailed out of here, didn't help anyone.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:32 AM   #6
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sorry about your loss.

how close was your house to the beach? if within a block or two, i would think sewage issue be minimal.

being that it is a crawl space, i would personally not hire a decontamination company. i used one of them once and found them to be rather incompetent, preying on people with dire needs. once the water has been pumped out, i would scrub the area with soap and maybe diluted bleach.

as others said, the key thing is to eliminate water, remove any wet insulation and drywell, then rent a commercial blower dryer.

good luck
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:41 AM   #7
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Thanks all for the feedback. My house sits 3 blocks from the beach, our dunes were not breached (thank my local officials for agressive dune management policies). The water inundated from the bay side, reaching within 4 inches of the floor joists, the main 2 X 10 beam showed water, but not much as there was only 1 high tide, so a couple hours exposure not multiple days and tides. The electric, gas and water lines are fine. The main vent is galvanized with elephant trunk coming off. Trunks took a hit and came down. By Saturday morning the water was down, we pumped out a few inches in one section, opened all the access panels, placed large fans and heaters under and in the first floor and heated it as much as possible to start drying. I will be spraying it all down with bleach as well. Nothing in house - drywall, insulation, carpets fine. We went through that mess in 2010 after a multi-day power outage froze and burst baseboard hot water heating systems. (The maintenance guy inadventently left the valve to the fill tank open, so when power came back water just kept pumping into the system, flooding 2 floors). Faired far better than neighboring towns and cities for which I am very grateful.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:31 AM   #8
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Hope you have insurance,and if so turn it over to a public adjuster,as i'm sure they'll get a better deal for you than you would on your own.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:01 AM   #9
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Canarywood - I went through a much more extensive fresh water situation back in 2010 and did hire an adjuster, the BEST move I ever made. My insurer is Lloyds of London and they were extremely slow to respond (15 months to final settle). My adjuster had to employ legal tactics I knew nothing about to ellicit their response. He earned his pay and then some!
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:06 PM   #10
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And i'd be willing to bet he got you more money,than you would have got from them, too many people just settle for whatever the insurance company says is fair,glad to hear your previous problem with them worked in your favor,and hope this one doe's too.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:05 PM   #11
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What the adjuster got for me was a fair settlement which allowed me to restore my property, no more. I was not looking to make a profit or commit insurance fraud, I just wanted my house restored. People don't realize the cost incurred in remediation and rebuilding and that may be why they are often quick to take the money. I was fortunate that I could afford to keep rebuilding while awaiting resolution (lots of beans and rice dinners!)

I have had a couple people insinuate that one 'makes out great getting FEMA and Insurance money'. REALLY? FEMA and Insur Co just don't go around handing out checks. FEMA is a stop gap measure for immediacy and low interest loans to rebuild, but you have to pay loans back.

To anyone facing a large, complex loss hire an adjuster. My insurance agent was emphatic that it wasn't necessary, but I know whose interests she represents. I would also suggest you read policies CAREFULLY and know the clauses, provisions, exceptions and understand what they mean. (Policies often carry provisions for named storms or other clauses that may come into play.) For example, I carry loss of rental income clause on rental properties.

My damage from Sandy is minimal, manageable and I won't be hiring an adjuster. Sadly, there may be a shortage of them in the coming weeks.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AvalonGirl
What the adjuster got for me was a fair settlement which allowed me to restore my property, no more. I was not looking to make a profit or commit insurance fraud, I just wanted my house restored. People don't realize the cost incurred in remediation and rebuilding and that may be why they are often quick to take the money. I was fortunate that I could afford to keep rebuilding while awaiting resolution (lots of beans and rice dinners!)

I have had a couple people insinuate that one 'makes out great getting FEMA and Insurance money'. REALLY? FEMA and Insur Co just don't go around handing out checks. FEMA is a stop gap measure for immediacy and low interest loans to rebuild, but you have to pay loans back.

To anyone facing a large, complex loss hire an adjuster. My insurance agent was emphatic that it wasn't necessary, but I know whose interests she represents. I would also suggest you read policies CAREFULLY and know the clauses, provisions, exceptions and understand what they mean. (Policies often carry provisions for named storms or other clauses that may come into play.) For example, I carry loss of rental income clause on rental properties.

My damage from Sandy is minimal, manageable and I won't be hiring an adjuster. Sadly, there may be a shortage of them in the coming weeks.
Hi Avalon,

I too was impacted by Sandy and await the adjuster.

I'd love to get an independent inspection and wonder if you can give me the contact info on who you used in 2010?

My house in Tuckerton, NJ is a single story lagoon house that took just over 3' through out the entire house. Every system effected. The duct work is actually in or under the slab (yes a slab on grade) so they are all full of salt water. The furnace is in the hall closet and destroyed.

The good news is we have another house to live in, we were fixing this one up to move into upon retirement in a couple of years.

It's going to be a long winter of repairs.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:46 PM   #13
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Showtime - happy to share my contacts, trying to figure out if there is a private message option on this site...when I can find it, you shall have it.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:51 PM   #14
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Thanks!
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:00 PM   #15
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ST - Didn't go through. It tells me you have either elected to not receive private messages or you are not allowed to receive private messages....check your setting.

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