Basement Flooded

knightsterJune 27, 2006

We live in the Metro DC area and with the torrential rains, our 12 x 20' finished basement flooded. We have paneled walls and carpeted floors. In addition, we have built-ins on one wall. The water has soaked much of the carpet. We received a quote from a water restoration company, and it was $2000. The quote included removal and disposal of the carpet, extraction of any remaining water, setting up dehumidifiers and fans, and spraying a mold and mildew control spray.

It seems like we could do the same work for not much money. We already have a dehumidifier and wet vacuums. So, we would only need to purchase fans and mold spray. I guess my question is, am I overlooking anything?

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I'm in the same situation!

I've gotten some friends to rip up my carpet and take it out. The insurance guy won't be here til Thursday. It was already starting to smell moist this am so I did that today (Tues). I bought one 40 pt humidifier at Bed Bath and have that running continously (paid $240 w/20% off coupon), but I don't know if it's working much. I also have fans running continuously and have the door down there open during the day so fresh air can get in.

I don't have flood insurance, just regular homeowners. I've heard conflicting stories about what homeowners ins. will pay (and I'm not holding out any hope that they'll pay anything BTW!). One is that they will pay if the water comes from beyond the structure like from doors windows etc. The other is that they will not pay if it comes from the drains. That is, it overflows from a drain hole. Maybe it was vice versa.

We certainly had both happen to us. How can we "spin" it so that they'll pay something, anything!?

Thanks in advance.

P.S. Knightster, I didn't mean to hijack your thread, but maybe the more replies people see the more they'll tend to reply to this thread. Good luck to us both.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 9:49PM
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Boy, I sure hope you mean that you bought a DE-humidifyer, onward-upward :)

Some years ago, my entire home town declared a state of emergency because of a freak 100-year storm. Two years later we're still paying for the damage, via increased taxes. Whenever it rains hard, everyone is down in their basements at 4 am, anxiously checking for rising water.

Anyway, since then I've carried flood insurance. It's a good piece of peace of mind. Homeowner insurance tends to NOT cover water damage caused by neglect or poor workmanship, such as bad drainange/grading around the house (causing water to come through basement windows). However, don't assume they won't cover your damage - they know there was a storm and how the water likely soaked your basements. There probably is no way to "spin" this.

Sewer backup is another issue. Some policies do not cover this, which caused most of the damage in the homes in the storm I described above. Although I was lucky, I now have sewer backup insurance, too :)
I think we can expect more extreme weather due to global warming and this sort of insurance might be a prudent investment.

All that aside, you can certainly do the cleanup work yourself. The number one concern is that you don't end up with mold. I'm not sure if spraying preventative mold controls is necessary if you can get dried out very quickly. I'd rather make sure of that than end up with perhaps unnecessary chemicals floating around the house. But it takes a vigilant eye and depends on whether you can visually monitor all areas that came into contact with water (i.e. what's going on behind the panelling?)
It looks like things'll stay damp for a few more days in the entire NE - the trick is now to get all the wet stuff out and the dry air in. This is something you pay that $2000 for but unless your case is exreme you could do this yourself, rather than hire professionals.

Also contact your city about emergency aid. Victims of our flood, because it was so extensive, were able to apply for help to purchase pumps, vacuums, dehumidifiers. The city also removed damaged goods like carpets and furniture (because of the mold issue) and helped pump out basements (keeping in mind that some basements here were flooded to street level). Keep your receipts :)

Here is a link that might be useful: our flood

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 9:28AM
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Thanks for your reply chris. I did buy a de-humidifier. Too much excitement I can't type straight ;)

Parts of the concrete slab are drying out so I'm feeling a little better. How long should I give it? Should I buy another de-humidifier?

Also, I don't notice dampness smell as much so maybe that's improving.

We have a drainage system that's fairly new (8 yr old house). We got 12 inches of rain in the 2 days(!) I think we're also at the 100 year record levels. I really believe that the water just overwhelmed the system.

A lot of people have it really bad close to the potomac, though. We were nowhere near having knee deep or waist deep water.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 9:52AM
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Hey Ya'll. My wife and I purchased a new home 4yrs ago now, and being first time home owners, we and our real estate agent overlooked a major must do for Any home new or old. We didn't hire a good established inspector to look at the house! Ya'll probably know that's a big no -no! We were So excited buying this home, that got over looked. After a year of being in the house we started noticing a blackish mold on our base boards in the LR! We have a bay window in the front with a flower bed right outside that window. Well here in Georgia, Red Clay is awfull as far as drainage goes. The water from rain would sit at the bay window and it started geting thru the slab. Anyway Long story short. The grade is to high on the landscaping, our so called builder has done cover up work fully knowing that his crew did a bad job grading. So him not wanting to fix his screw ups, has replaced our carpet, and put an extension on our front down spout. Of course the problem has occured again. So we are talking to a lawyer now, that says we might have case of builder neglect. Will let you know when we find out. Fact is although our warranty ran out 2 yrs ago. We signed a binding agreement that our B printed out with all the things we said needed to be done. They're were about 5 items to do. He did 1 of them ( replaced the carpet) No french drain, no checking the drywall and replacing if necessary, no re grading the front yard, no mold inspection company to inspect. So we're fed up, and are ready to go to court. Any comments or useful info you could give is much appreciated! Sorry this is so Long. It's a Very touchy subject after 3 yrs. Bottom line pay top dollar for a Great inspector before buying a home. Be cause the building regulations, atleast here in Ga, Are Horrible, I can't believe this house passed inspection. Oh yeah, and our HO insurance doesn't cover builder defects! Thanks for letting me rant!! JT

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 10:26PM
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