I’ve learned more about home flooding over the past four weeks than I ever wanted to know.
I remain amazed at the amount of damage a few minutes’ overflowing water can cause.
It all began when our 10-year old Maytag Atlantis washer failed to shut off while filling with water.
First, there was the call to my insurance agent who called in his disaster cleanup specialists.
They arrived within two hours, pulled up flooring, removed baseboards, and set up numerous high-powered fans to begin the drying process.
It took about a week to dry things out and, wow ~ those fans are loud!
Next, I got bids from two contractors and learned much about the repair process with its myriad considerations and decisions for materials, labor, and scheduling.
Along the way, I learned that everything gets marked up at multiple levels.
After getting bids, I decided that I needed to become my own general contractor to take control of the process and the costs.
During this time, I also worked with the insurance adjustor to arrive at a settlement.
One sticking point was damaged 15-year old Red Birch hardwood.
My insurance company wanted to replace only the damaged wood and try to refinish it to match.
The contractors disagreed with that approach and thought it would be impossible to match new wood with 15-year old wood.
Ultimately, we were able to reach agreement on replacing additional hardwood and settle the claim.
When I got my settlement check, it was made payable to both myself and my lender, requiring the lender’s endorsement on the check before I could cash it.
Then, I learned that the settlement payment would include two separate checks, requiring my lender’s endorsements on both checks.
I’m still waiting to get the second check back from my lender.
To make life more interesting, the flooding occurred a few days prior to closing my refi loan.
Thankfully, the appraiser was here three days before the house flooded and my refi closed without any problems.
Now, four weeks after the flooding, most of the new flooring has been installed after enormous disruption and inconvenience.
Over the past four weeks, we’ve walked on subfloors coated with original construction dust (that’s impossible to vacuum), ground that dust into the carpets, collected a thick coating of dust throughout the house, dealt with disconnected toilets (one at a time!), and endured considerable noise while working from home.
We also had to remove the dishwasher, gas range, and refrigerator to facilitate replacing the kitchen hardwood, which meant moving those appliances into the Great Room with no way to cook at home.
The rest of the flooring will go in this week, then the final task will be replacing the baseboards that were destroyed while replacing damaged flooring.
Baseboard replacement will include buying the baseboard, having it painted, and having a finish carpenter install it.
Fortunately, we were able to apply the insurance settlement toward some upgrades that we had wanted to do anyway.
After more than a month of disruption, the house should be back to normal in the next week or two.
- Keep a close eye on any appliance that is connected to water.
- Never leave your home when an appliance connected to water is running.
- Install water warning sensors near appliances connected to water (they cost around $30 and are similar to a smoke detector).
I hope you never experience what I’ve experienced in the past month!
Over the past few days, I’ve learned more about what happens when a home floods than I ever wanted to know.
Monday morning, while eating breakfast, we started a load of laundry, then briefly went out to the garage.
When I came back into the house, I stepped into an inch of water in the laundry room, caused by an overflowing washing machine.
Then, I almost did something really stupid as I considered unplugging the washing machine.
Fortunately, I shut off the water flow valve instead and avoided getting electrocuted.
I could have gone into the garage and shut off the main breaker, but that didn’t occur to me at the moment.
My first call was to my State Farm agent, who then called CleanPro, his recommended emergency services contractor.
We quickly moved everything off the floors in the adjoining rooms and placed towels in a futile attempt to stop the water from flowing into adjoining areas.
CleanPro showed up within two hours, pumped the water out, removed the washer and dryer, removed water-soaked flooring, pulled back carpets, and installed high-capacity fans to begin the drying process.
After five days, but the house is now dry and the carpets were reinstalled this morning.
The insurance adjustor was here for three hours yesterday and we’re now awaiting State Farm’s settlement offer.
It’s possible that we will differ on the approach to the needed repairs, which has created considerable anxiety.
The damages are likely to exceed $10,000 despite reacting to the problem within a matter of minutes.
Next comes selecting the contractor(s) to do the repair work, selecting new flooring materials, and enduring more disruption in our lives as those repairs are completed.
This will be very challenging with my busy real estate practice that’s mostly conducted from my home office.
The damaged hardwood floors will have to be replaced because I can’t move out of the house for several days during refinishing; not to mention the dust and inability to mix new replacement hardwood with existing aged hardwood.
We’ve already cancelled a planned first outing with our RV next week so we can focus on getting our home put back together.
While it wasn’t a factor in our flooding incident, we will never again start our washer or dishwasher and leave either of them unattended as we’ve done in the past.