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· Registered
10 Posts
Hello, pwa:

I am going to share 17 years of diversified "hands-on" insurance restoration and adjusting experience throughout the country with you based on your posts....I no longer work for the insurance carriers and consult for property owners and contractors throughout the country...this is a long get a cup of coffee and get comfortable.

Anytime that a property owner believes that they have some type of property damage loss, it is their responsibility to determine the source of loss, if possible and take steps to mitigate the loss to prevent further damage; usually by calling a mitigation vendor. This responsibility can be found in the Conditions section of all homeowner policies. Let me comment first on sections of your prior posts.

Typical Scenario for Water Loss

First, determine the source of loss and see if you can stop it by yourself...take far away photos (mandatory) of the room/area damaged and then close ups of specific damage) a qualified mitigation vendor (explain in detail later); I already have an idea, without photos, what you costs would be for an outside vendor to mitigate....a qualified water/fire mitigation vendor can discuss whether you may want to file a claim or can always file a claim and later cancel, but your policy will still be flagged....

...if you call a mitigation vendor, they will require you to sign a work authorization to authorize them to mitigate the loss, prepare Emergency Service and or Repair Estimate for the adjuster, and, possibly, even deal with the repairs. The majority of mitigation vendors want to collect the deductible up front, and, once the work authorization is signed, work can begin. Some vendors will work with you on the deductible.

The vendor should identify and inspect the source of loss, stop the source of loss if you haven't or if it is still ongoing, a plumber may be required. A good restorer should be able to give you some feedback as to the cost for Emergency Services and repairs and whether a claim should be filed or not. In this economy and with carriers getting harder to deal with, you may want to weigh the plus/minuses of filing a claim. But, don't wait too long. Depending on how bad the damage is, a decision to file a claim should be made with 48 hours or less. Depending on the degree of loss, temperature and relative humidity, the time the water damage has sat unattended and the types of materials damaged, mold can start to generate within 24-72 hours.

The initial water loss is called primary damage. If mold growth begins, this is called secondary damage and is more costly to deal with. To properly address a water loss, you need to know whether you are dealing with a Category I (clean water), Category II (gray water) or Category III (black water; outside water) water loss. This determination will determine how to mitigate so as not to contaminate the rest of the home and how to properly clean the structure of microbials and fungus.

While your efforts are gallant, homeowners, while trying to mitigate the loss themselves, may destroy evidence needed by the restorer and insurance adjuster. In addition, time is critical when mitigating a water loss. So, if today is Saturday evening, three days have passed since you recognized the interior damage. Sunday will make 4 days without this loss being properly handled. I usually recommend that property owners not try and extract water because they may be using faulty equipment and electrocute themselves.

Properly drying a structure is more than plugging in a machine. If there is any presence of mold, you do not want to use air blowers at all! This can be discussed later. Do you know why you put fans (how many fans, how many rooms, how many SF) on the floor? Do you know why the carpet was still wet?

Before fans are set up, water extraction and removal of water damaged structural items (items that cannot be dried or are damaged beyond saving or repair) must be complete. The carpet was still wet after several days because proper procedures were not followed. Without seeing any photos, I probably would have removed the carpet and scraped the floor clean. This would expedite the drying process and remove an item with still a substantial amount of moisture content. Yet, before anything is removed and disposed of, proper photos and proof of excessive moisture content must be documented. In addition, I would have documented the moisture content of the baseboards before removing. As for the drywall, I would be careful in there is any evidence of mold growth. Again, the walls and damage need to be documented and moisture tested before removing.

Removing structural items with mold without proper containment will spread millions of mold spores throughout the area and create more damage. This can be a very expensive mistake.

Being able to properly moisture test and dry a structural building involves scientific methods and documentation of moisture content and vapor pressure of the atmosphere. Performing insurance restoration for a water damage loss, fire or any other loss is a specialized field and requires specialized training and equipment. To know how to properly dry the room, there are 4 key steps that are required: 1) extraction of as much water as possible with vacuums, 2) demolition (large topic) as needed for structural items that cannot be saved (requires experience), 3) evaporation (air blowers) and 4) dehumidifiers. Yet, to know how to properly dry a structure, you, first, need to know what the existing conditions are first: moisture mapping of the entire structure must first be done of the structural items and temperature/relative humidity of the atmosphere.

Without photos, my first impression is that this may not be a covered loss. Did you take any photos of the over loaded downspout at the top and bottom? On all insurance policies, any water out of the sky that hits the ground first or flows from the ground into the home IS NOT a covered loss. To be covered, water usually has to enter the home through the air without hitting the exterior ground....enter through the roof or a broken window......or be the result of a broken pipe inside or an overflow of some sort. Of course, your policy may have endorsements that I am not familiar with.

Insurance companies pay claims that are "sudden and accidental".....immediate or short-term incidents........not long term damage. This sounds like a long-term issue.

I hope you read this entire post before opening attempting to open the drywall and baseboards...don't scrape the floor yet, either. Also, do not file a claim yet, either (Saturday, June 11th).

While agents can sometimes be helpful, keep this thought in mind........Agents sell insurance; they do not adjust losses nor determine what is an approved loss or not.......field adjusters only prepare estimates of damage and repair based ONLY on visible damage seen; they do not prepare Emergency Service estimates; field adjusters are the eyes and ears for the in-house staff adjuster; the majority of field adjusters DO NOT make policy decisions on approval or not; they only make recommendations to the in-house staff adjusters (carrier) staff adjusters and management for the carrier make the final approval on insurance claims.

If you start demo before reading this, I hope you don't throw away any of the removed structural items. If a claim is filed, the adjuster will rely on photos, moisture reading charts, and actual debris for his reports. If you dispose of the evidence of damaged items, without any documentation, you're claim could be denied. Again, I don't believe that you have a covered loss.

The carpet was not drying for several reasons. Air blowers can do more harm than good without dehumidifiers, and, I mean commercial equipment; not the type of blowers and dehumidifiers that you get at HD or buy for your home. After extraction/demo, and, if there is not any mold present, the purpose of air blowers is to circulate the moisture content in the atmosphere, so that dehumidifiers can pull this moisture from the air. As this is done, vapor pressure is released from the flooring, baseboards, drywall, etc. and, with proper drying methods, the structure becomes dry. Even the drying process is monitored on a daily basis and documented. If you circulate excessive moisture content in the atmosphere without dehumidification, you are only pushing the excessive moisture content somewhere else in the structure, and, eventually, the moisture has to land somewhere. It will land on your contents, walls, or other flooring areas. Depending on the temperature and relative humidity in the structure, this can create mold growth.

By not using proper procedures in the drying process, you will make the loss worse than it should be.

Properly testing and drying the moisture content of the slab once exposed will also be a concern, as with the walls.

This loss would surely exceed your deductible for Emergency Services, possible mold mitigation and repairs. I do not want to post actual dollar amounts, but I can discuss and generate an estimate for you to show you exact costs.

Okay, this should be plenty of information to absorb for starters.

· Registered
10 Posts
yeah the foams not to bad,I got a couple good chisels that hold thier edge pretty.I'm not gonna win any races but its easy.I got a good look at the water damage after pulling off the partical board(instead of drywall)that was used.There is a 2x4 frame in front of the cement basement wall and it looks pretty good to me.No mold but the wood is discolored kinda blackish,its kinda soft but its still wet.yeah the partical board held up great in the water:whistling2: seems pretty stupid to me.
Sounds strange that you would have particle board on the walls, instead of drywall; is the particle board acting as your walls and is it painted???; so, the particle board (3/4" thick ???) is acting as drywall..........behind the particle board, there should be vertical 2 x 2 fur strips to support the particle board.....there should also be 1-2" blanket insulation between the fur strips....along the lower edge of the wall, there might be a 2 x 4 to support the nailing of the baseboards. Water and excessive moisture content will be trapped between the lumber and the concrete wall. The wood can be discolored "kinda blackish" because it is totally saturated and, most likely, mold growth has started. Keep in mind, all mold looks black when it is wet.

Without commerical dehumidifiers and proper containment, you will never get this material dry.

Please contact me to get further detail. I need to ask some specific questions and get some photos.

· Registered
10 Posts
Holly $%^%, How come everything has to be so complicated? I dont think I could have gotten a more comprehensive reply.I decided on sat not to deal with the insurance issue.I am glad the property loss was minimum.There was not standing water it just followed the wall down hill.The point of entry was where the partical board was located.It was bulit as you said and was only used to hide the basement wall,no insulation.I have removed that and the base boards along with all the carpet and scraped up half of the foam padding.Concentrating on the damp area and working out.As for the fans:eek: they have been on since I found the water.I will call my plumber tomorrow and see if he has the equipment to dry it properly.I will try to get a friend help me post a picture,I am not the computer literate yet.Thank you for the response

Good morning, pwa (9:18 AM):

I will admit for the average homeowner and contractor, also, properly drying a structure can be complicated. I call water a "funny animal." Just because you can't see the water, don't think that it hasn't traveled somewhere else. Water travels the path of least resistance. Structural items absorb water, and there are many times that moisture content is not visible to the naked eye....the whole point of using proper equipment and knowing how to use it.

Sorry for the long post, but the length of my post is just a small example of how technical the steps are to properly drying a structure. What are the dimensions (LxWxH) of the damaged room? How many rooms are damaged?

During my years of traveling, the #1 complaint that I hear from property owners is "I didn't know what to do or expect because no one ever explained anything to me!" For the last several years, I have been working on a program for property owners and contractors to better understand how to deal with property damage claims.

As I said before, insurance restoration (dealing with insurance property damage claims) is a specialized field....Your plumber will not be able to help you with a proper dehumidifier or give proper advice......commercial dehumidifiers are used by restoration vendors.....they are expensive pieces of equipment.......most restoration vendors will charge $70-150 per day per dehumidifier....again, as with the air blowers, you don't just plug in a dehumidifier and let it run. Moisture readings, temperature and relative humidity readings need to be established, so there is a starting point of present conditions and to establish where you want to be for a proper dry standard of the structure. If you bring someone out, they should have a penetrating (meter reads at the tip of the pins) and non-penetrating (pads that can read from 1/2" to 1 1/2" through material) moisture meter and a hygrometer (temperature/relative humidity). While a lot of vendors won't have this type of meter, a Tramex concrete moisture meter would also be helpful for the slab. You may have to find a flooring vendor that might have one of these meters. All legitimate flooring vendors should have a concrete moisture meter. All slabs should be checked for moisture content before installing any type of flooring. This is a topic in itself.

There is not any short cuts or cheap way to mitigate a water loss; there is only the right way to dry a structure....otherwise, as I earlier stated, you will find yourself with bigger problems weeks down the road.

paradiseenviro made a good recommendation. At this point, you may want to look in the Yellow pages under the SIC categories of "Fire and Water Damage" or "Water Damage". Ask someone to come out and assess the damage....they may or may not charge you for their will want a full service restoration vendor (someone who does mitigation and repairs). You may want to even call 2 vendors.

I only say this because I am not there myself, and you are now on Day 5. If you want to post their feedback, I will comment.

As for the drywall, if it was highly saturated 4 days ago, I would have removed it; as long as mold wasn't present. If mold was present, I would tape the drywall in place where it is and then we get into an entirely different strategy to deal with mold. Again, a visual inspection and the use of moisture meters helps determine whether to attempt to dry or not.

As you can see, there are a lot of variables involved when attempting to dry a structure.......thus, a specialized field that requires a lot of education and experience.

If you could post 3-4 photos (outside where the gutter drains near the of the entire room/rooms effected (take pics from opposite ends of room to show entire room), and 2 photos of the damaged areas while standing about 5-6 feet away from the damage....please show the walls and flooring).

The key to solving your problem and preventing future problems is with the use of proper meters: to determine what is wet, determine proper drying procedures, monitor the drying process with meters and the use of meters to determine when it is dry.

Yes, I am giving you a lot of information because this is a highly technical field. I use the word "educate" a lot when I talk to people. I give people "the good news and the bad news." Yet, when I get finished, you will have a better understanding of why and how to proceed.

· Registered
10 Posts
Hi to all, rented a dehumifier and it is helping for sure.I have removed evrything that felt damp and used a straight edge to cut the drywall about an 1 1/2 of the floor where it was touching or damp.In most places the baseboard touched the carpet.Theres no mold and it seems to be dryong out pretty well.The biggest problem I see right know is the frame work supporting the drywall. I am not sure how he did it yet but the bootom board that would be on the cement is suspened in most places except for blocks that hold it up.I know only treated wood should contact cement,There doesnt seem to be thought of moisture control in the construction.

Hello, pwa (9:452 PM):

I never like to discourage anyone that is making an effort to learn to better themselves to learn or, in this case, possibly save some money, by handling this loss yourself. The good news is that you got a dehumidifier. Yet, I hope you read my post from earlier today where I spoke about using moisture meters to moisture map the water damaged areas, so they could be monitored to document the drying process. Moisture content, temperature, and relative humidity of the atmosphere all factor into the drying concern is when you say that you have removed everything that felt wet.......all structural items absorb moisture content and you can't feel these items and tell if they are properly dried or not. This can only be done with moisture meters.

Since 5 days have passed before utilizing a dehumidifier, I would remove the water damaged baseboard and the section of horizontal wood strip that was water damaged. At this point, it is more cost effective to replace the water damaged structural items than to spend time and money trying to dry and save these items.

What about the water that may be trapped in the block. If the point of entry started near the upper wall, it is possible that the drywall may also be damp on the upper sections of the cannot tell by feeling or with the naked eye. Again, the purpose of using moisture meters.

If you had filed a claim and hired a restoration vendor, they would have billed the carrier about $1,500 to $3,500 for Emergency Services only. The process would have only taken 3 days to complete. Yet, I understand what you are trying to do.

I still suggest that you call a restoration vendor and let him moisture map and give you some advice......make sure he has the moisture meters that I discussed earlier. Be up front, and explain the loss, what you are trying to do by yourself and possibly even what I have recommended.

If he charges you less than $250 for his time, it is well worth it.

Please keep in mind that I am trying to help, as best as possible, without photos or proper moisture mapping.
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