Major water leak, getting new kitchen

mountaineergirlSeptember 13, 2012

Well I hadn't been on this forum for a couple years, since I had new granite installed. This is such a great forum, even if its sooooo outdated. anyway here's my situation -

Took a short 4-day trip last week and came home to my kitchen ceiling laying in the floor and it was literally raining in my kitchen. A part in an upstairs commode broke and water running for - days?? who knows. but bottom line is - my house will be practically new when we're done! which is definitely an upside. Downside is - dealing with insurance company. We have Erie ins and we've been told we have the best plan Erie has, but I'm still nervous.

My father in law's house is next door and he's in a nursing home, so we have a place to stay which is good.

So kitchen - I'm getting new wood floors (actually the entire house is getting new floors, upstairs and downtstairs 3600 sq ft) new cabinets and if they can't get the granite off without breaking it - new granite. I have emerald pearl and really like it and I'm ok with the same layout, so if it can be re-used that is fine. BUT if it can't, I may change my layout a little.

So cabinets, they are the biggest variable and that's what has me nervous. As you all know, they could be $5000 or $100000. They listed them as "excellent" but I don't know how many levels there are (how many levels about excellent? premium?? elite??) so I have no idea how much they are paying me for cabinets. We have replacement insurance, but obviously it has to be with the same level of quality. I will know more once a receive a check, but even then the adjuster said not to panic, that would not be all I'm getting. He said there is a 20% supplemental also, beside the fact that if they get in and see they need more $$ for something, they will supplement.

A company named First Response has been here for 6 days now, with monster dehumidifiers and fans etc and say they are pleased with how things are drying out. But I will still need ceiling replaced etc. I have been very pleased with these guys and trust them. they also specialize in mold removal as well as emergency services and they promised me there will be absolutely no mold when they are done. All I can do is trust them.

Back to cabinets - I have just started looking. I am thinking about Waypoint, a division of American Woodmark. I can't find a lot online, as i think they are relatively new.They are made in Va. I have also considered a local cabinet maker, but don't know him personally, haven't seen any of his work yet. I would rather deal with the guy who put my cab in 14 years ago, who I went thru to get my granite and therefore have a relationship with. BUT, it would be awesome to get more bang for my buck too, so...?

As sick as I was that first day - I'm totally ok with it now. Lots of upsides to this - all my wallpaper coming down woohoo! and all new flooring, besides new cabinets. :)

I will post some "before" pics as soon as I can get them uploaded on my computer.

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Congrats? :) Glad you've moved on to the happy planning stage.

But first, PLEASE explain in detail how you feel this forum is outdated. I confess I haven't been doing much browsing of new kitchen developments for a while, expecting to see them here, I guess, and genuinely want to know.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 11:45AM
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rosie... I think she means that the format of the forum itself and it's (ie) surfing/posting/searching capacities are outdated. Not the content of the messages.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 11:52AM
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I had Erie when I had a house fire.
I canNOT tell you how great they were.
Called at 5:00 am, we were in a hotel with 2 of our uninjured cats by 7:00 am, Red Cross was there at 9:00 to help us with some clothing and food, and so on.

Our Restoration company left much to be desired when it was all said and done. Pictures reframed, where someone had obviously been eating french fries when they put the glass in, boxes of other people's shoes, etc., A few lost items they paid us for, damaged artwork repaired by the appraiser (a legal no-no) which was worse than when it started, blah blah.

But Erie was right behind us all the way. I had replacement value. Keep your receipts for anything you have to buy to get by. Food, utility bills over your normal average, any clothing that was ruined (leather?), make certain they look down into the basement for water and mold, drywall dissolving from the bottom up at the baseboards, etc. Take pictures.

I'm sorry you're going through this, but as with every horror, there will be bright spots -- such as your new kitchen! :)

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 1:03PM
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My friend is in the middle of working with a restoration company, today they told her she would need to meet with their cabinet guy because they are replacing her kitchen cabinets now. Are you able to work with any cabinet maker or do you have to use the restoration company?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 3:22PM
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I hope all goes speedy for your new kitchen ! Woohoo!!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 3:25PM
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The restoration companies often function as GCs. They have "people". By law (here) you can use anyone you want and get bids, too, to support it.

I would definitely want to check out their work. When they're handed jobs like these by people whose eyeballs are knocking together from the whole situation, I feel things can be done, how to say, not as well as they should be. OTOH, they could be great people doing a fantastic job.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 3:26PM
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I don't trust insurance companies. I certainly don't trust restoration companies that work hand in hand with insurance companies. We also had a fire. A liability issue that was caused by tile layers and had three different insurance companies involved. They were all jerks.

The only thing that saved our arses was our excellent public adjuster and our even more excellent attorney.

Mountaineer girl--your damage just happened last week. It sounds like things are going well for you so far. I hope this continues. But don't be too trusting....

And not to burst your bubble but with water damage your home is now in the insurance data base for high risk homes, no matter who owns the home.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 3:46PM
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Ok I want to explain that the restoration company is not doing the repairs. Yes they can but I chose to use someone I already had a relationship with. Altho the restoration guys have been awesome, they were in total agreement that it would make more sense to use someone closer to me (they are located an hour and a half away) I am using my own hardwood floor guy and my own cabinet guy. The only thing the GC is doing is finish the demo, drywall, electric and HVAC.

The restoration company (First Response) also specialize in mold removal and they seem to know their stuff and are going above and beyond to make sure there are no problems.

CE - I'm so glad to hear about Erie! this is obviously my first rodeo when it comes to homeowners ins claims and I am having trouble getting a handle on how it works. I was told that this initial amount they were sending was not all, that there would be a "20% supplemental" payment also. As well as supplement if estimates come in higher than Erie anticipated. I'm not sure how this "supplemental" money is awarded, and if they know in advance there is 20% more coming - why not send it all together?? oh well I figure it out as I go I guess :/

The restoration people are not taking anything from the house to store. Its night like a fire - there's nothing that has to be cleaned. Its either ok or its history. They are however, going to have a storage pod parked by the house to move stuff into until finished. Everything still needs to be boxed up as if I'm moving, but it will be on the property. If a picture needs new framing, I will list it on the personal stuff, and get it done myself. Probably have to save all reciepts like that. There was very little if any, damage to sentimental stuff. Well my wedding dress from my first marriage haha! It was stored in a closet under the staircase but I had forgotten all about it :) good riddance

and I wanted to mention that yes, I did mean the format of this forum is outdated uugh!

and yes I am moving into the happy planning stage somewhat. It's still overwhelming when I step into the house, but I just keep thinking about all the changes I can make that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do- at least for a while

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:38PM
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I would also recommend that before you do anything as far as reframing, whatever, check with them. If they have a person, use them. Then you're not out of pocket. Even then, you reserve the right to agree that it's been done correctly or not.

Drag, really. But OTOH, the bright light is that you can choose new.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 8:33PM
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Condolences and congratulations. We went through a major remodel/rebuild after a slab leak in 2010. Bad news: no planning time, no time to stage the put back togehter and dealing with insurance. My company was outstanding, but there were still compromises and inconvenience. I recommend doing a project management plan--lead time on cabinets, appliances, storage for salvage (my sink and cooktop were only 3 years old and saved). Takes some of the "fun" out of the planning, but at the end of the day (OK months), new kitchen! Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 8:35PM
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Bummer but a sunny outlook!
Glad you have a place to hang out til all if fixed!
Good luck

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 8:59PM
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Sorry about your disaster! About Waypoint: I ordered and installed some of their cabinets for my current kitchen. 2 years previous, I had done the same in another house with Kraftmaid cabinets. Comparing the Waypoint to Kraftmaid, I was kind of disappointed with the quality of wood selection and differences in finish between each cabinet. Also, the hardware (drawer slides, hinges, and soft-close mechanisms) is crap. If you're looking for budget cabinets, they're just fine - better than the grab and go cabinets at the big box stores. If you're wanting something a bit nicer, I'd look elsewhere. Good luck with your new kitchen!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 9:51PM
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We also have Erie, and I would agree that they are the best. They hard pretty strict, so if you have them, you should do just fine. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 10:59PM
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well I'm glad to hear all the good things about Erie. not so happy to hear the statement about Waypoint cabinets :( I looked at their brochure and I don't guess they use Blum hardware. It's called "Cushion Close" :/

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:45AM
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Ok I finally got some pics uploaded to photobucket. It would be so nice to be able to copy and paste in your posts but oh well

this is the view I had when walking into my kitchen

my boys tearing out some drywall that was dripping

then First Reponse showed up and got to work

they started sucking up water and using huge (maybe 6?) dehumidifiers and probably 20 fans throughout the house. They have been there every day since last friday. I think things are drying out great, at least they seem real pleased. They are pulling out on Monday. All the wood floors are up, ceramic tile from bathroom is up, and all wet carpet was cut out that same night. Next I guess is that granite fabricators will come in and remove counter tops for storage and reinstall later. Then they can get cabinets up so the rest of wood floors can be removed. Lots of drywall was cut out of ceilings but I don't have pics uploaded yet.

I'm not feeling very warm and fuzzy about my insurance adjuster. I realize that its not his job to hold my hand through this, but a little communication would be nice.

I have had a GC come and his drywall guy. The hardwood floor and the cabinet guy has been here as well, so I'm just waiting on quotes. I think the GC needs to have HVAC people come, I'm not sure. BUT the insurance has already determined what to pay without any estimates!! they did say however, that they will supplement if estimates are higher without being out of the ball park. There are so many things the adjuster missed tho. He didn't take into account that when they remove wood floors, the staircase posts have to be removed and then possibly replaced with new. They had to removed duct work from under the house and a thermastat doesn't work, so there's why HVAC people need to come - no allowance for them as far as I know. He has told me what the check will be for, but I have not received it yet and have not seen a breakdown of repairs.

I've been packing stuff up every day. I'm exhausted and its been one week. It's like we are moving. Since flooring throughout the house is being replaced, anything sitting around on stuff needs packed. All cabinets, china cab, buffet etc needs emptied. all pics down off walls because of the dust that will be in there, and also because the wallpaper is coming down. 2 vanities need emptied. closets need stuff up off floor etc. and absolutely NO HELP from adjuster. (I complained to my agent, who then called adjuster's supervisor who then called me and said that I would be reembursed for totes/boxes and for my time. Thank you thank you.

Enough venting for now, I will try to post more pics and show progress periodically. This might help someone out there in case (God forbid) they are faced with a similar situation. I know its going to be a learning experience for me!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 11:16PM
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Yucko- we had a roof leak a few years ago - never thought to have insurance fix things. I actually spotted it the night before leaving for the Boston marathon. At first, I thought I spilled some water on the floor as I was trying to stay hydrated. Then I looked up and yelled to my DH - Houston, we have a problem (From Apollo 13 movie) and said bring an awl and a bucket.
We minimized damage by poking holes in it and are just getting around to fixing it now - It all dried and most never even notice it. -- But if I had already left and the monsoon continued - deja vu!
Take care and hang in there

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 8:10AM
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First--has your adjuster mentioned that your entitled to a place to live while you are out of your home, comparable to your own home.

Second--why are you doing all of this work??? All of this packing and removing is the job of the restoration company.

What if you had a full-time job and couldn't take time to do all of this work? This is why you have insurance. It's not just to replace cabinets, and drywall.

Have they mentioned that they would like try to save your carpet by removing it and drying it out and relaying it.

The lack of warm and fuzzy feelings you are getting from your adjuster. Listen to your gut. He is not your friend.

Read your policy. Closely. Find out what you are entitled to. Think about hiring a Public Adjuster. You won't regret it.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:08AM
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PS I guarantee you they will not reimburse you for your time.

Your agent has NO power.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:25AM
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I agree with red lover. The restoration company may get paid for the work you are doing. No doubt they will certainly submit those fees to insurance co for payment.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 2:17PM
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Oh, I feel for you. We had a similar situation., but lucky for us only downstairs. A couple of things we discovered:
Although we had full replacement coverage, our insurance company (not the same as yours) held back a certain percent based on depreciation until we had completed the work and proved that we had replaced everything with same quality construction. The initial check came pretty quickly, made out to us AND our mortgage company! We had to mail it to the mortgage company, who sat on it for two weeks of "processing", then mailed back to us to deposit. If we hadn't had enough money in the bank to start the reconstruction we would have had a rough few weeks.
Ins. Company didn't include new base cabinets in their settlement. We wanted to remodel anyway so we did a complete gut job.
When we had to submit the receipts to get that final small percentage that had been with-held, my husband wrote a note and explained that the bill for the flooring was part of the invoice for the whole kitchen. Ins. Co. replied that the adjuster had noted that the base cabinets might have to be replaced, and if so the countertops would have to be replaced as well. So they paid for them! I was speechless. Husband called to confirm.

One idea someone on this forum gave me was to cover the slab (or in your case, the subfloor) with that wide brown painter's paper to isolate you from the dust. We lived on paper floors for a couple of months while we planned the kitchen.
I hope it turns out just like you want!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Yes the insurance is paying us to live elsewhere. They would have paid for a hotel and eating out, but we settled on $50/day - that way we both come out ahead, since we are living for free in my father-in-law's house.

the adjuster's supervisor, not the agent, is who told me we would be reimbursed for our time etc. From what I understand, the First Response people were just there to dry out, emergency services. I don't know if they were paid to pack stuff or not. Again,there is a lack of communication from adjuster so I don't know what's going on. I sent him a fairly long email, 3 paragraphs, asking hiim to send something to me that would exlain how the "20% supplement" works, asking him where I could rent a pod and who makes the call - just questions like that. I asked him to be patient with me as I muddle through this - I got a ONE SENTENCE reply! I am sending my agent a copy of the email, since she said she wants to know how I'm being treated. She said its her bread and butter and she needs to know that the adjuster is treating clients well. She said she's had a couple adjusters fired because of the way they treated clients.

Anyway, this is just the first week and I know there are going to be many stressful days ahead so I'm trying relax and be patient. Wine helps :)

thanks for all your comments! they are greatly appreciated!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 7:50PM
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I also wanted to mention that i do work 3 days/week. So no, I really don't have the time, nor the energy to pack all this up myself.But so far I have just packed the things I really want to do myself, such as the china and personal stuff from our desk.

and Yes I do know that when the check arrives, we endorse it and send to our mortgage company. then they will release money in stages and send an inspector to make sure repairs are being done.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 8:54PM
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Oh, mountaineergirl you bring back bad memories that had faded after my new kitchen was done. As cindaintx said, "The initial check came pretty quickly, made out to us AND our mortgage company!"

I had forgotton that part of the episode. When Insurance issued a check to $30K, it was made out to me and Bank of America (who had taken over my mortgage). I called. I got the name of the local branch manager who was "authorized" to endorse it over to me. Well long story short, she would not. Insisted I give her the insurance check and she would mail it to Texas. I said, "NO!" I will hop a flight to Dallas and get the signature, but this check is not leaving my hands because I cannot trust BoA to handle it without error. What if they apply it to the principle of the loan? It could years to straighten out." I insisted on not leaving the branch without a signature or name of a person in Texas I could meet and have the endorsement the same day. Finally, 4 hours later, the branch manager got authorization to endorse it over to me. I shudder to think about what might have happened if I had signed it over to Bank of America--an institution I do not love.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 12:21AM
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