Water damage restoration....worth it?

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Ollie123
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Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by Ollie123 »

Relatively new homeowner here and we just had a pipe burst for the first time. We believe it was the line for one of the hose bibs, but was leaking into the house. We are fortunate we caught it quickly (can't say for sure but probably within 30 minutes or so), but that was still enough time for a huge puddle to emerge in the master bed/bath that ran out in the adjacent garage (presumably along the slab). We have the water shut off while we wait for a plumber and got it mopped up. I "think" we caught it quick enough that there isn't any meaningful damage to the interior. Floor (laminate) seems none the worse for wear, but we'll see if anything bubbles up later today or tomorrow. Soaked a couple things we had on the floor in the closet. However, it obviously was also in the walls and underneath the floorboards given it didn't come from anywhere visible and ran out into the garage.

Would you call water damage restoration for something like this? My only real concern is mold developing in spaces we can't readily see/access. I don't know if this is something you'd almost always want to do for pipes burst in walls as there "could" be water pooled somewhere we can't see. I don't have any reason to believe there is and have heard from others these companies are....less than forthcoming. I'm a bit hesitant to have someone out and potentially sink thousands of dollars for a relatively minor leak in the grand scheme of things that was caught fairly quickly. I doubt the costs rise to a level we'd hit our deductible so insurance is likely not an option, but I guess you never know...
HomeStretch
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by HomeStretch »

It would be good to get fans going ASAP to dry out the wet areas before mold has a chance to start in 1-2 days. Restoration companies offer these and perhaps you can rent them from a home improvement store.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by ResearchMed »

HomeStretch wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 3:08 pm It would be good to get fans going ASAP to dry out the wet areas before mold has a chance to start in 1-2 days. Restoration companies offer these and perhaps you can rent them from a home improvement store.
And dehumidifiers.

Companies like ServiceMaster have industrial strength versions of these that they can leave at a house for a few days.
They can also check for moisture in walls, etc.

RM
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123
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by 123 »

The effects of water damage on things like laminate flooring are often not immediately apparent. It could take a few days or weeks for things like swelling and creaks between joints to become apparent. Drywall issues, like shrinkage, loose tape/seams, and expansion around nail holes don't show up immediately.
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LittleMaggieMae
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

You don't say if you live someplace with humidity or not... which may impact the advice you get. And may impact what you should do.

If you are someplace where it's not humid for weeks on end - I would do anything and everything you can to get the area dried out ASAP. You want fans (and open windows if possible) and a dehumidifier or two (ask around maybe friends/relatives have one you can borrow.) Don't be surprised if you have to keep emptying out a 1 or 2 quart tank every couple of hours. I've borrowed out my dehumidifier to friends/relatives when they had water issues.

Be aware that the rooms on the other sides of the wall(s) effected by the water may also have been effected (even if you can't see it). Get fans/dehumidifier going in those areas as well.

The goal is to get everything (even the stuff you can't see) to dry out ASAP. The longer anything stays wet or damp the more likely mold/mildew will take root - and then you really will need to do remediation/replacement.
an_asker
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by an_asker »

Ollie123 wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:21 pm Relatively new homeowner here and we just had a pipe burst for the first time. We believe it was the line for one of the hose bibs, but was leaking into the house. We are fortunate we caught it quickly (can't say for sure but probably within 30 minutes or so), but that was still enough time for a huge puddle to emerge in the master bed/bath that ran out in the adjacent garage (presumably along the slab). We have the water shut off while we wait for a plumber and got it mopped up. I "think" we caught it quick enough that there isn't any meaningful damage to the interior. Floor (laminate) seems none the worse for wear, but we'll see if anything bubbles up later today or tomorrow. Soaked a couple things we had on the floor in the closet. However, it obviously was also in the walls and underneath the floorboards given it didn't come from anywhere visible and ran out into the garage.

Would you call water damage restoration for something like this? My only real concern is mold developing in spaces we can't readily see/access. I don't know if this is something you'd almost always want to do for pipes burst in walls as there "could" be water pooled somewhere we can't see. I don't have any reason to believe there is and have heard from others these companies are....less than forthcoming. I'm a bit hesitant to have someone out and potentially sink thousands of dollars for a relatively minor leak in the grand scheme of things that was caught fairly quickly. I doubt the costs rise to a level we'd hit our deductible so insurance is likely not an option, but I guess you never know...
If you end up calling water damage restoration folks out, it will be pretty expensive, and you might need to get insurance involved. We just went through this whole thing times two. We had one leak and one clogged sewer line. Today is literally our first day back home from a two week staycation. :oops:

One thing I learned is that drywall wicks up water pretty fast as a few other folks responded. So one thing is for sure, if you do call those restoration/remediation folks, they'll find water everywhere!!
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Ollie123
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by Ollie123 »

Thanks all. The area is relatively dry this time of year (currently 27% humidity), sorry - should have mentioned that. We've got a ceiling fan going right now but that's all we have. Fortunately, the rooms I stated should be the only ones impacted (outside wall > Bedroom > garage).

I'm just going to go ahead and call a water restoration company. I'm "hoping" we can get by with some dehumidifiers/fans and they won't want to rip our floor/walls up or anything crazy, but I guess we'll find out...

I'll update once I find out just for anyone following.
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Ollie123
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by Ollie123 »

Update: Water restoration company came out and wanted to basically gut the rooms where all this happened. Despite the phrase "restoration" they also seemed surprised I wanted someone to ya know....put the floor back down and reattach the cabinets to the wall and said they can potentially help with this but couldn't guarantee timelines. So we'd likely pay them $2500 to gut it and then have it torn up for an indeterminate length of time.

Plumber came out and yup - hose bib. Quick fix for $250. Did have to cut a small hole in the wall we'll have to fix, but that's about it. Basically implied these companies will more-or-less recommend tearing down and rebuilding your home if you spill a glass of water on the floor. So I'm off to Home Depot to buy a couple floor fans, and pick up a big dehumidifier to run over the weekend. Might drill a couple holes in the wall myself to help with dehumidifying process. I'm hoping this is not a terrible idea I will come to regret, but with a newborn I really do not have it in me to deal with gutting our house right now. So keep your fingers crossed I'm not posting in 6 months about what to do when you have black mold everywhere!
Weathering
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by Weathering »

Consider renting additional industrial fans and dehumifiers from Home Depot tool rental counter. Those fans are several hundred dollars to purchase so in your case getting them as a rental is more appropriate.
twh
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by twh »

You can rent the industrial strength dryer fans at most Home Depots that have a rental section. I'd do that at least.
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Ollie123
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by Ollie123 »

Sorry - had misspoken in my prior post but definitely planning to rent the serious stuff rather than buy something flimsy.
runningshoes
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by runningshoes »

I might have missed this in your OP, but were you able to "map" the water flow more or less? If yes, I would pull out the floorboard where you think the water ran and place one of the fans in that location. You can always hire a handy-man to replace it if it's outside your comfort zone or skill sets or it breaks on removal.
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OuterBanks
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by OuterBanks »

We went through this ourselves with a broken toilet seal on the second floor that leaked through below into garage. You need to get your insurance company involved. The plumber cost is not reimbursable by insurance. However, the cost to remove all the drywall, dehumidify, and rip up the flooring is, along with reinstalling everything back with new materials. Expect your insurance to take a hit and go up 10% for filing a water claim, ours did.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by Sandtrap »

Try your best to dry everything out and air out the house.
Cut open the wall behind the hose bib repair so there's a large space for the air to dry things out. It might just be in one stud bay.
A 12" high x 16" o'c' nice rectangle cut (or taller) is easy to repair and gives enough space to look inside and let it air out. Cut down to an inch to 3 inches above the baseboard so the later repair will blend in nicely. Use a framing square to make a nice cut. Vertically, run the cut down the center of the stud where the screws are. Back out the screws.

If it looks like it went a bay on either side as well, cut holes there too. Let it air out.
Result, no soaked wet insulation, no mold, no stink.
Why?
Soaked insulation stays wet for a very long time and keeps the back of the drywall damp as well. You will never know, but over time, it will start to smell.
Or.
If the water was let out immediately when the leak started, punch a big hole to let the water flow out of the leak, then the damage is minimal.
But
If the water leaked and leaked beneath the baseboards and sill plate then over and under the laminate and so forth for a long time, then . . . . . not so good.

*If you remove the baseboard, it won't dry out the wall. The wall needs air flow so cut out as above at the bottom, pull out all the wet insulation (important) , then aim a fan at the hole. Later, buy a small bag of insulation, restuff it, then fix the hole. (youtube).

The solutions are simple and don't cost much and no need to call a company to air things out for you if you can do the above as well as the other great suggestions in this thread.

A good well rounded carpenter can fix the drywall and tape and mud and paint it so it is back to new.

j :D
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Topic Author
Ollie123
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by Ollie123 »

Thanks all and especially sandtrap for the detailed analysis.

Some further details on both the water situation and our general lives. Was trying not to get into this as I wanted unbiased perspectives on water damage first, but y'all are an insanely helpful and creative bunch and I think some fuller context might help.
- Paying a $2,500 deductible and having increased insurance rates is obviously something I'd prefer to avoid, but won't have a meaningful impact on our finances. That's like 3% of our savings goal for the year and we have a healthy emergency fund. Realistically, we'll still make the savings and just absorb it elsewhere.
- While I'm trying to avoid political discussion here, we are in an area getting slammed pretty hard by omicron right now and also one where a larger segment of the population is....against getting vaccinated...against wearing masks...really against taking precautions of any kind.
- We have 2 elderly parents (vaccinated) and a 3-month old (obviously not vaccinated) in the house, as well as a wife with significant post-partum anxiety (on top of the actual reasonable concerns given the current state of the world). My concerns are less about cost and more about the health risks of having a dozen people traipsing through the house all the time, as well as the general disruption to our lives during an already-stressful time.
- I'm in crunch time at work and between that and the baby, was honestly on the edge of cracking even before my father-in-law burst into my work meeting to let me know the house was flooding.
- I am capable of operating a drill and possibly capable of patching the holes after. Once we get into "just pull up a couple floorboards" we're at a point where I literally don't even know where to begin and am likely to do irreparable damage. You may come back with "its easy" but you have not borne witness to my attempts at home improvement. Not to mention that with work and the baby I just....can't.

Some other notes on the water damage:
- Was likely < 30 minutes from when it started to when the water was shut off. We had all visible water mopped up within an hour. While I obviously can't say with 100% certainty, I don't think this was a slow "dripping for weeks on end" leak. Hose bib froze and snapped, water poured out when it was turned on.
- We could more-or-less map it, but unfortunately it didn't follow clear lines once it hit the floor. Seemed to run through the wall from the hose bib about 5-10 feet (from bathroom towards walk-in closet) then leaked through the wall into the closet, out onto the floor and across to the adjacent closet and then worked its way out into our garage (was actually coming out from under our water heater so was confused at first as I thought the tank burst). The break was just behind our toilet but that immediate area was actually quite dry so it clearly ran along the wall somewhere. All told, it covered maybe 15 square feet of bedroom floor (stand corrected - engineered hardwood, not laminate) and 10 square feet of bathroom tile.
- Moisture meter still detecting significant moisture even with 3 fans and a dehumidifier going for about 16 hours now, but I assume that's expected. Was planning on 48 hours of this, but may extend it.

Anyways, I'm reporting to insurance now just so we have a claim on record. We foolishly did not think to photograph the water in our panic to get it resolved and cleaned up, but hopefully they'll give us a pass on that given we'll have a plumbers report and can show high moisture readings. Wanted to give additional context in case that modifies anyone's suggestions. Really appreciate any advice that can be offered.
valleyrock
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by valleyrock »

I unfortunately have had to deal with water leaks a few times.

A couple of thoughts and suggestions...

--Down the road, to be sure about mold, you can mail samples to some a certified labs, with short turnaround times. They'll tell you how to sample, but basically, you use the sticky side of tape on areas of concern, put it in a Ziplock back and mail it. Not expensive per sample... certified people look under a microscope and then send a written summary.

--After 48 hours or so, mold can grow. But since you did get to it soon after the leak, there may not be that much water.

--In addition to industrial strength fans, you can rent industrial strength dehumidifiers. That could really help, especially after opening things up.

--In dealing with one problem, I used a local lab to look at mold samples, and asked who they recommend for remediation. They gave me the name of an excellent, small company with an owner who knew exactly what to do, trained his employees well, etc. This turned out to be a one-stop shop... they tore stuff out, put in fans and dehumidifiers, etc.

--My local standby for help is Nextdoor. You might go on there and do a key-word search for some of the expertise you might be thinking about (carpenter to tear some things out, remediation company, etc.), or send a query to see what suggestions people come back with.

Best of luck.
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Watty
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by Watty »

Sandtrap wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:44 pm Cut open the wall behind the hose bib repair so there's a large space for the air to dry things out. It might just be in one stud bay.
A 12" high x 16" o'c' nice rectangle cut (or taller) is easy to repair and gives enough space to look inside and let it air out. Cut down to an inch to 3 inches above the baseboard so the later repair will blend in nicely. Use a framing square to make a nice cut. Vertically, run the cut down the center of the stud where the screws are. Back out the screws.
+1

Don't be timid about cutting out sections of dry wall. It is relatively cheap and easy to fix and fixing a big hole is not much more expensive than fixing a small hole. You will also be painting the entire wall even if it was just a small drywall patch.

If you don't feel up to fixing the drywall yourself it is pretty easy to find a drywall company to come in a fix it inexpensively. Years ago I was in the attic and the board I stepped on broke and my foot went through the ceiling. I had a drywall company come in and fix it and it probably took them less than two hours and only cost a few hundred dollars.

Where I was at there were lots of drywall companies which were just a guy or two, a pickup truck, and a few hundred dollars in tools. They knew what they are doing and could do the work a lot quicker and better than I could. Since they had such low overhead their prices were reasonable.
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scorcher31
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by scorcher31 »

I thought there was some thought that mold, even black mold is not as horribly toxic as everyone thought. Obviously some people may be sensitive and you certainly don't want a smell in your home, but that maybe these restorarion companies and mold removal companies are overly aggressive at our expense.
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Ollie123
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by Ollie123 »

There is certainly a lot of unnecessary fear-mongering and scam-like behavior around mold, which is part of what I've been trying to sift through. It certainly can pose a health risk and even absent that can certainly stink up a home with unpleasant odors. "Fresh" air is also full of mold spores, so there is obviously some nuance to it. I imagine the whole "his salary depends on him not understanding it" applies equally well to folks in these fields as it does to the finance industry. I just feel ill-equipped to vet our actual risk level. Does water leaking through floorboards guarantee mold? Probably not. Is the chance of it developing 5% or 95%? That's where I'm less certain and don't trust these companies to be forthcoming, but it makes a big difference in the action plan.

Edit: It also now appears several spots this guy detected water damage were him picking up studs and support beams through the dry wall (wood has higher water content). I'm almost inclined to spill half a glass of water, wipe it up right away and see how long I get a high moisture reading as an experiment.
ralph124cf
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by ralph124cf »

I agree with other suggestions here.

In addition, to aid in the dry out, try running your furnace at 75 degrees or higher for a couple of days.

Ralph
ncbill
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Re: Water damage restoration....worth it?

Post by ncbill »

Had water problems in our finished basement furnace room twice...once the water heater leaked & the other time the condensate drain for the A/C clogged.

Both times water ran from the concrete floor under the interior wall onto the carpet in the main part of the basement.

Both times I got ahold of some serious fans and just pulled up the carpet & padding to dry via the fans over several days.

No other issues once dried.
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