Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Flooding and water damage update


As most readers will know, our home suffered water damage last Thursday night when our dishwasher decided to fill itself . . . and keep on filling itself, all night long.  Our insurance company was on the ball, and had ServiceMaster here within an hour of our filing a claim.  Yesterday they took out the last of their big drying-out machines and declared our home ready for repair and rectification.  Last night was wonderfully quiet, with no ventilation fans and dehumidifiers roaring!

Yesterday I visited three local flooring dealers, and arranged for each of them to come out here during the rest of this week, measure our home, and quote for replacing damaged flooring.  Our insurance policy will replace/repair to the same standards as before the damage, but not for any enhancements or improvements over that standard.  However, our laminate flooring (laid when we bought our house) was laid end-to-end down the length of the building, with no interruptions or joints.  That means, apparently, that to get that same quality of installation, we have to replace it in the same way, laid in one continuous pattern from one side of the house to the other, even though most of the laminate was not water-damaged.  The color or pattern of eight-year-old laminate can't be exactly matched, so it all has to be replaced.  That's likely to be very expensive!  Flooring's gone up a lot in price over the past eight years.  We'll see what the numbers look like.

The kitchen is another problem.  The water got underneath the ceramic tile floor, to the point where when one walked on it, water gushed up from the joints between the tiles, and washed out some of the grout.  Some of the tiles also cracked through people walking on them in their newly unsupported condition.  That means they'll have to be replaced, but again, they're an older pattern of tile that can't be matched out of modern stocks, so it'll have to be a full replacement.  That means taking up the old tile, scraping the grout and glue off the concrete slab, leveling the surface, then re-laying fresh tile.  Again, that's going to get expensive.  We'll see what the insurance company has to say.

When all that's been done, I still have to find a general contractor to patch the holes in the drywall made by ServiceMaster to remove wet insulation, replace baseboard and skirting-board removed to let the walls dry, and repaint the repaired walls.  I haven't even started to look for that yet.  I'll worry about the flooring first, and the rest later.  I can only do so much at once.

Today we have the first of the flooring companies coming in to measure for a quotation, and also an installer bringing our new dishwasher.  We went with a Bosch model, recommended by several readers in earlier comments and attracting more-than-usually-positive customer reviews on Web sites.  It has a lot more features than our old, relatively simple dishwasher, so I can see we have a learning curve ahead of us as we figure out how to do what, with which, to whatever.  It was expensive, but that sort of unexpected cost is precisely why we (and, I hope, you) have an emergency reserve fund.  It gives us peace of mind to know that in most situations like this, we can usually cope with the bills without panicking.  We'll rebuild the emergency fund over the next few months.

Blogging may be lighter than usual today as I juggle installers, measurers and other visitors.



Billy Bob said...

It may not be the answer you're looking for, but it might be worthwhile to consider the vinyl "imitation wood" flooring. A neighbor put it down in the "high abuse common areas" on his main floor when they re-did the kitchen and family room (they have 4 very active children) and so far - it's been 3 years - it's held up quite well under all that. No idea what the cost, or cost delta to laminate, is.

Anonymous said...

Have you priced concrete coating installation ? Like self leveling grout poured surfacing that is very durable. When our current tile floor in house gives up, this will likely be looked at more closer. USA Flooring in Corpus Christi would probably be our 1st query.

This link to Angi's List on flooring installation cost comparison may help.

Good luck sir - I hope you find a great solution.

Steve Sky said...

Hi Peter,
Something else to consider is an automatic shutoff valve which monitors the water flow in the pipe, and shuts it off it "it's the wrong time", and "goes on too long", depending on the model. There are many types, but I would avoid the "internet connected" ones.

Anonymous said...

Dump the dishwasher, wash ur own dishes in the sink

Dragon Lady said...

You have my sympathies. Before work today I got to order a new dryer, as ours decided that half-dry was dry enough. Fortunately I had the money available, and Christmas presents are almost all purchased (I finally did it early!).

Here's hoping repairs are a quick and painless event for you.

Andrew Smith said...

It's worth it to get the more expensive dish washers as the cheaper ones may get through a clean cycle but that doesn't mean they will manage to get all the food scraps off.

In the meantime, with all the disruptions to their environment and the stream of visitors, I'm sure your cats are having the disapproving time of their lives.

Greg said...

Just another tip: Do the drywall repair/finishing/painting BEFORE the flooring. It's much easier (and therefore faster) than having to mask and/or tarp new flooring to protect it from the wall work.

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend the BoschMy mother, wife, and daughter all have the same model, no problems.

Scott B.

glasslass said...

Having had SM twice due to tornado I found if they damage anything in the repair they fix. Talk to insurance agent as usually SM allows you to pick and choose based on replacement cost. You want upgrades you pay the difference. As to replacing the ceramic floor remember that they are very hard on feet and back. If possible go with wood or the new replacement wood or what's best for the $ they allow. One thing I learned is that hubby wanted a very expensive hardwood for our kitchen remodel. As it wasn't my favorite I choose something that was much cheaper but the difference in replacement cost for that flooring vs what I choose applied to my deductible. I got out of both deductibles for both disasters by shopping for every item. Good Luck. But stay in very, very close contact with agent. It's his job and your premiums pay his salary.

postmodern redneck said...

I am a retired remodeling contractor, and I agree with Greg that you should do the drywall before the flooring--less chance of damaging new flooring. Also, there are some messes made in drywall work, and they would be easier to clean up from concrete than new flooring.
I also suggest using something other than laminate. I learned the hard way 20 years ago that laminate is a poor choice in rooms with water. Vinyl plank would be a much better choice. Also, on ceramic tile, cement-based mortar is better for installing on concrete than mastic.
Over 40 years I have done a lot of kitchens, some bathrooms, and lots of drywall.

bobby said...

Buy some of these water alarms.

I have several. They're cheap. One gave me a loud warning one night when a pipe burst, saving me from your fate.

drjim said...

OUCH! Sounds like quite a mess, Peter. Hope everything works out for you.

Old NFO said...

Here's hoping everything comes together. And yes, drywall first.

Ray - SoCal said...

Vinyl plank looks nice and is water proof and very durable. Laminate when it gets wet may release done smelly chemicals.

Tile uses thinset, basically cement. Just pop off old tiles, scrape it - can even rent a floor grinder from Home Depot. It’s not a huge headache to remove old tile to put new in. Color matching gets into dye lots if dealing with ceramic. You can do a border or patterns to mix and match tiles. Since you have a concrete slab it’s easier.

If tile was done correctly water should not have been an issue. It should not have cracked when walked on. This indicates there was another issue.

Kevin said...

I have those as well. I forgot about them until I came home from a trip, turned the water to my house back on, and my under counter water filter sprang a leak. No disaster, unlike when the same thing happened at a relatives house without the alarm. Washing machines are also a known leak problem area.