DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a sump pump failure on 10/31 in a house that I rent out that caused 3-4" of water to pool up across the entire finished basement. I immediately figured the bottom foot or two of drywall was a lost cause and never thought twice about the prospects of saving it. However, ServiceMaster made the call not to tear it out believing that it will dry ok because:

1) The water issue was addressed quickly, within 8-10 hours or so.
2) There is no insulation behind the drywall and air seems to flow well.
3) All studs in the basement are metal.
4) They felt the rain water was "pretty clean" (was crystal clear and didn't smell if it matters)
5) Based on their inspection 11/1 they believe it will be ok, but they plan to reinspect and test the moisture on Monday and Tuesday to confirm.

They put in 10 or so industrial blowers and several dehumidifiers to dry everything out; these will stay on for 3 days at least. They said if the drywall is ok to keep, it will need need to be repainted at least on the bottom part to cover the water stain. I asked them about mold and they did not seem concerned. They sprayed whatever they normally spray to prevent mold growth on all exposed areas, but they obviously aren't able to spray behind the walls.

My question - is this reasonable or should I be pushing strongly for them to tear out the bottom portion of drywall? Regardless of how quickly the issue was addressed, the bottom of the drywall was sitting in a pool of water for at least 10-12 hours (took a couple hours to pump all the water out). I already paid them for the tear out of drywall based on our original plan; it was their decision not to remove it. But, if they do tear it out, then I have ~140' perimeter where new drywall will need to be installed (bottom 2' all the way around). Unfortunately, this is all uninsured as I could not find any insurance companies that offer sewer backup on a Landlord's policy in IL.

I would appreciate any feedback on the matter!

Thanks,
Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,988 Posts
I would stretch a line and cut out the affected area so that it and only it needs replaced. Metal stud track on bottom may be holding water and putting the humidity in the cavities off the meter. You will end up with much worse problems if this is the case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
422 Posts
You may or may not have a metal track bottom plate. Some areas require a pressure treated plate. Depends on where and when this was built. Though I agree it should most definitely be investigated. I would cut the bottom four inches or so off the drywall. This will show you if you have a track that is holding water. It will also allow air into the wall cavity to dry it out. When its time to put this all back together, replace that section of drywall with mold resistant stuff or cement board, and cover the gap with a taller baseboard.
 

·
Registered User
Joined
·
11,730 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had someone finish the basement while I lived there in 2006. There is a stud track on bottom, but I do not think it is water tight. I brought this up to ServiceMaster and he seemed confident that the current plan will get any/all water out even if there was some water pooled in one of the bottom tracks. However, to make sure he is going to drill several holes that baseboard will cover up to let some air in and let water out if there is any. They will also spray the anti-fungal through those holes to get behind the wall.

Finally, he said if there are any issues based on their decision not to remove drywall, they will come back out to address as necessary free of charge. To that point he said they would not choose this course of action if he wasn't extremely confident that it will work. Finally, they do plan to check the drywall very closely Monday/Tuesday. If there is any indication that it will not be sturdy for the long term or there are any concerns with mold, then it will be torn out.

Thanks again for the input!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37,427 Posts
Get that in writing.
I've had to deal with them a few times and it was a disaster every time.
Whole 3 story house got flooded because the copper pipes in the attic burst and no one was there for a week.
They left laminate flooring and particle board subflooring in place, only removed bottom 6" of sheetrock even though all the insulation was soaked. Removed the kitchen cabinets and walked away telling the home owner putting them back is your problem.
Charged the insurance company for work that was not done to the tune of at least $7,000.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
683 Posts
i work in the insurance business repairing after floods,fires,etc. i would have them cut the bottom 3" of drywall to expose the bottom plates on atleast the exterior walls and one side of the interior walls. and after replace the bottom 3" with plywood. with the bottom 3" cut they can be 100% sure there will be no issues and they can spray their sanimaster and mold control to disinfect it properly. also drywall dries harder and can get wet multiple times and still be fine. i would also have them check inside and outside corners, and also areas where the studs may have been on there flat or multiple studs butted up together( drywall door openings for example) because they can hold the moisture and not dry out as quickly. its also strange that you can't find a company to insure you for sump pump failure, its normally the standard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,679 Posts
It's possible for the drywall to be OK. But in water damage situations, it's a very bad idea to leave drywall. Their blowers and dehumidifiers do very little to dry out behind the drywall. I'm quite surprised any professional restoration company would suggest such a thing.

Also, I agree this should be an insurance issue. No insurance company would ever deny taking out the drywall, and they pinch pennies wherever they can, if that gives you any idea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
683 Posts
companies that work for the insurance company typically would love to be like mike holmes and gut the place and completely redo it. the insurance companies pinch the pennies and scratch out things on the scope of work and not want to pay companies like service master. although not being an insurance claim kinda boggles my mind. has the house had many floods or in a flood zone and cant get coverage? they are putting trying to "help" you out and keep your bill low by doing less. although you'd be surprised what those dehu's and fans can dry out. maybe even get them to run an injector blower to blow air into the wall for the few days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,679 Posts
I wouldn't expect a Mike Holmes gut job, but certainly I'd expect a 2' strip of drywall to be cut out, at least for drying purposes. You just can't leave that wet back in there. There's no way they can say mold won't be growing if those stud bays remained sealed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
683 Posts
2' cut out is not standard for a clean water flood. 3" on exteriors walls and one side on the interior walls. now if the water was standing there for days or other reason to bump it up to a grey water flood then sections would be cut at 2'. only a sewer back up gets cut 2' and everything the water touched gets tossed. a sewer back up with all kinds of floaters and what not the bottom plates would also be removed to properly disinfect the basement
 

·
Mold!! Let's kill it!
Joined
·
2,849 Posts
It takes about 72 hours for mold spores to become mold colonies. If you can get it dried before the threshold, then it will be OK. The trick is getting it thoroughly dry. That means remove the baseboard and poke some holes through the drywall (that can later be covered back up with the baseboard). Force air into the holes. Usually done with some special equipment. The fact that it's rain water is irrelevant. Even distilled water becomes gray water after three days and black water after 7. After 3 days, check it with a moisture meter to see if it is drying. They should have tested it for moisture content before they started and rechecking it should show progress. If it is progressing noticably towards drying, then I would not be afraid to go another couple of days. If not, then tear it out. Use a moisture meter to find the point where the moisture returns to a normal level. In other words, start metering at the ceiling. At some point as you progress towards the floor, the meter will start to climb. Go one foot above the point where the meter starts to climb. Mark the wall and cut out from there down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,311 Posts
It takes about 72 hours for mold spores to become mold colonies. If you can get it dried before the threshold, then it will be OK. The trick is getting it thoroughly dry. That means remove the baseboard and poke some holes through the drywall (that can later be covered back up with the baseboard). Force air into the holes. Usually done with some special equipment. The fact that it's rain water is irrelevant. Even distilled water becomes gray water after three days and black water after 7. After 3 days, check it with a moisture meter to see if it is drying. They should have tested it for moisture content before they started and rechecking it should show progress. If it is progressing noticably towards drying, then I would not be afraid to go another couple of days. If not, then tear it out. Use a moisture meter to find the point where the moisture returns to a normal level. In other words, start metering at the ceiling. At some point as you progress towards the floor, the meter will start to climb. Go one foot above the point where the meter starts to climb. Mark the wall and cut out from there down.
well said.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
I had a flood in an apartment building 3 years ago. It came from the floor above me and filled up a bulkhead with lights over my kitchen counter. A few weeks later I cut out small samples and sent them away for testing (one of those mould test kits). They found only the mould that's always present but nothing unusual. The bulkhead was never even aired out properly.
 

·
Mold!! Let's kill it!
Joined
·
2,849 Posts
I had a flood in an apartment building 3 years ago. It came from the floor above me and filled up a bulkhead with lights over my kitchen counter. A few weeks later I cut out small samples and sent them away for testing (one of those mould test kits). They found only the mould that's always present but nothing unusual. The bulkhead was never even aired out properly.
Consider yourself lucky. I've torn out lots of drywall that grew mold just from high humidity............. Have to wonder what "only the mould that's always present" means. Since mail away test kits can't sample for volume. then that is a really amazing comment. Kind of like saying, you have mold, but our crystal ball says it's normal. :whistling2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,606 Posts
Here's the thing now you are dealing with insurance, so you do as service master suggests and basically do nothing. Now 6 months down the road you start getting this funky smell. Of course now everything is done, sealed up, and painted. You call someone in to check and they find out you have a big mold problem behind the wall. This may call for a complete gut down to the studs and remediation people and can run into thousands of dollars. Since you already signed off with the insurance co. guess who the total cost falls on. You can bet it won't be Service Master. Not worth the chance to me.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top