Will My Insurance Company Pay for a Hotel during a Water Restoration Project at my Home?
Have you ever dealt with water damage in your home? If not, ask someone who has. They will tell you it can be a very invasive experience. The way Restorex Disaster Restoration dries out properties is by using a combination of heat and air movement, which can be uncomfortable if this is in your main living spaces.
Typically, rooms affected by water damage in a home can be as hot as 85 or 90 degrees, while 5 to 8 air movers blow loudly in the background. If that area is in your basement no sweat, pun intended. Just close the door and carry on with your daily routines. If the damage affects your main living area, (Like your kitchen…) it can be a lot more uncomfortable.
Insurance Company’s Point of View
Your insurance company understands that during a water damage mitigation you are inconvenienced. If our company foresees that conditions are going to be too uncomfortable, we will discuss getting a hotel room with our customer.
Some people don’t want to leave, and if they’re willing to ride out the hurricane-like conditions, more power to them.
However, if a customer would prefer to stay in a hotel during the dryout, that option is available to them. It’s as easy as reaching out to the insurance adjuster to explain the situation and get approval.
Hotel During Water Damage Bottom Line
To be honest it often works out better for both the homeowner and our company when the house is vacated. In those cases, Restorex can do the work necessary to cleanup and dryout the property without worrying about inconveniencing the occupants.
In turn, the customer can avoid the temperature and noise of our drying equipment slowly driving them toward a mental breakdown.
NOTE: The insurance company will not pay for you to stay at the Ritz Carlton if we have 4 fans and a dehumidifier in 1 of your bedrooms. Hotel stays are only approved during “significant” water damage situations.
Basements are built deep into the ground and because they are built deep into the ground, they fight against water intrusion constantly. The foundation walls are concrete. Which is an excellent structural building product but is not a waterproof building product.
This is why a waterproofing system is installed on the outside of the wall, when the house it first built. The waterproofing membrane can be a peel and stick product or a liquid based product that is sprayed or rolled on the wall.
The contractor gets one chance to do this correctly. It is very hard and costly to dig up the dirt around the basement foundation walls to re-apply or fix the basement waterproofing if it goes bad.
The waterproofing membrane helps keep the water from coming into the basement, but it doesn’t pump the water away from the walls. This is why sump pump systems are installed.
SUMP PUMP SYSTEM
A sump pump system is a combination of drain pipes that are installed at the bottom of the basement foundation walls, a sump pit, and a pump.
The excess water that is exerting pressure on the basement walls after a heavy rain or snow melt needs to be pumped away so that the walls are not damaged because of the weight or pressure of the water.
In theory, a sump pump system is good because it helps maintain good foundation walls by removing the water pressure. The bad side of the system is that it relies entirely on one mechanical pump.
Sump pumps typically need to be changed every 3 – 5 years. The problem is most homeowners don’t know when the last pump was installed. The safest thing a homeowner can do is install a brand new sump pump and make sure it is sized and installed by a licensed plumber.
If the sump pump is undersized, it will not be able to pump the water fast enough and the water will back up into the basement.
Basement Sump Pump
SUMP PUMP BATTERY BACKUP
In our opinion these systems are not worth the money. Number one reason we don’t recommend them because we are cleaning up a lot of flooded basements that have them installed.
Now from a technical standpoint, these systems are usually installed with a 12 Volt Lead Acid Battery, that operate a smaller pump than your traditional sump pump. These systems are installed just in case you lose power during a large storm.
Typically, during a large storm your basement is fighting against more water than normal and you need all the pump capacity that you can get. When the power is out, your sump pump battery backup system kicks on, but it is only able to pump water using the smaller pump that is installed with the battery backup. If the power is out too long the smaller pump will not be able to keep up with the volume of water.
The other limiting factor of the system is the 12 volt lead acid battery only has so much power to give. If the power is shut down for longer than a few hours you might have water backing up into the basement because your battery is out of electricity to power the pump.
BACKUP GENERATOR FOR SUMP PUMP
The best way to avoid a flooded basement during a large storm is to use a backup generator to run the sump pump. If you have a small 2500 to 3000 watt gas powered generator on standby, this should be enough to keep your pump running, until the utility power is turned back on.
DEHUMIDIFIER FOR BASEMENT
All basements should have a small dehumidifier running to keep the humidity down. Basements are generally cooler than the other areas of the home. Which means they are susceptible to moisture and mold growth.
When the humidity is high and the surfaces of your basement walls and floor are cool, the moisture can fall out of the air and absorb into your building materials (drywall, wood, carpet etc.). When this happens the excess moisture, organic materials, and no sunlight is a good breeding ground for mold.
BEST DEHUMIDIFIER FOR BASEMENT
Our recommendation is to buy a dehumidifier that has an automatic pump system.
The auto pump feature allows the water created from the dehumidifier to be pumped into a drain without the homeowner being involved.
We have seen people install many different flooring products in basements. There are a few products we recommend but a lot that do not work well in a basement.
Do not install any wood based flooring products in a basement. This includes hardwoods, engineered hardwood, wood based laminate or any variation of wood based products.
Wood and water damage do not mix well. Basements are very prone to water damage. Therefore, it does not make sense to install wood based flooring products in a basement.
Carpet is affordable, compared to other flooring options. But carpet and pad also absorb a lot of water when affected by water damage. Usually a homeowner will need to hire a water restoration contractor if their basement floods and they have carpet installed.
Next we will talk about different waterproof and water resistant flooring.
WATERPROOF FLOORING OR WATER RESISTANT
The only flooring that is technically waterproof in our opinion is concrete and ceramic or stone based tiles. These products when installed on a concrete slab do not need to be removed when a basement floods.
Vinyl Laminate Plank or Waterproof Laminate Floors do need to be removed when a basement floods. Therefore, in our opinion these floors are not waterproof but water resistant.
They are great products to install in a basement when considering flooring options. But they should be removed if you experience a flooded basement. Read more about waterproof laminate flooring.
Finished basements usually take the form of wood walls, that are insulated with R-19 Batt insulation, covered with paper faced drywall, with wood baseboards and carpet and pad flooring.
Other amenities that can be installed are full bathrooms with sink, toilet and a shower. A partial or full kitchen installed with a sink, dishwasher and refrigerator. Or large TV rooms or theaters rooms for the family to enjoy movie night.
All of these amenities come with their difficulties if your basement floods. A homeowner should check with their insurance provider to ensure the limits on their sump pump backup or drain backup will cover everything in their basement if it floods.
If you are finishing a basement with a fully functioning bathroom, this will require a trash pump system to be installed. This trash pump is what takes the “sewage water” from your sinks and toilets up to the sewer system.
Much like a sump pump, the trash pump runs on electricity and has a limited life span. If the trash pump fails or backs up, you not only have water damage but you have sewage damage.
The standard operating procedure for a sewage cleanup is to remove all porous materials that the water touches. This includes drywall, baseboards, insulation and carpeting.
Most people who have bathrooms in their basements don’t know they own a trash pump, until it needs replaced.
These pumps don’t have to work has hard as the sump pump. But they do require oversight to make sure they are being changed within their lifespan.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
High humidity, moisture, and water damage are real problems for many basements. Dehumidifiers for basements are essential to help homeowners over come basement moisture issues.
A basement provides additional space that a great deal of homeowners really enjoy. Moisture can be a real problem for many basements and Dehumidifiers for basements is a necessity to help over come moisture.
Whether you use it for entertainment space, a play area, storage or all the above, a little extra room in a house never hurt anyone…or did it?
While there are advantages to having a basement, there are also risks that homeowners should be aware of.
By nature, a basement goes against certain building principles that are put in place to keep homes, and their occupants safe. When water, and more specifically rain water flows, it follows the path of least resistance to its final destination. Read more about Basements.
Since a basement is nothing more than a fancy hole in the ground it is often the preferred location for excessive rain water to settle. Due to this fact, builders have developed elaborate drainage and sump pump systems that take the water that flows into your basement and pumps it away from the structure.
So let’s assume that these precautionary measures are working fine. (In actuality basement drains and sump pumps have all kinds of issues. See Easy Ways to Troubleshoot a Sump Pump for more information on that.)
Even if that is the case the volume of water that is transferring through your basement, especially during the spring and summer months, can create high levels of relative humidity that can lead to mold and mildew growth.
These things can compromise your structure and make you sick. That is why it is important to run a dehumidifier in your basement to help control your humidity levels.
Recommended Basement Dehumidifier
Like any product these days there are hundreds of different options. However, if your basement is a standard size (1500 sq. ft. or less) any residential dehumidifier like the Frigidaire should work fine. They run anywhere from 150 to 300 bucks, give or take.
Regardless of which dehumidifier you buy I would recommend making sure it has a humidity controller and a continuous drain option.
The humidity controller allows you to set the humidity percentage you want your basement to stay under. As a rule of thumb your basements relative humidity should never get higher than 50%.
The continuous drain option automatically empties the water in your dehumidifier into a floor drain or sump pit when it gets full.
If you didn’t have this option, like the one in my basement, you would have to manually dump the bucket once or twice a day. These two features allow you to dehumidify your basement while exerting the least amount of effort possible.
Lets be honest, you have enough on your plate already without having to check humidity levels and empty a bucket of water every day. Why make it harder on yourself than it has to be?
Basements are a nice feature, but they are extra susceptible to water damage since they are buried under ground. By making sure your basement stays properly dehumidified you lessen your chance of having to deal with mold or mildew issues that can compromise your extra space and potentially make you sick.
As I watch TV these days, I continue to see commercials for a new type of flooring that is 100% waterproof. The advertisements claim that with this new technology homeowners don’t ever have to worry about water damage ruining their floors again.
Hallelujah! Those engineers have really outdone themselves this time, right!?
Well, not exactly. While these commercials aren’t lying, they’re not being completely truthful either. If you plan to invest in “waterproof flooring” in the future, there are a few things that you should know beforehand.
Basics of Waterproof Flooring
Certain areas of your home are more susceptible to water damage than others. Areas like kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms are vulnerable since water hook ups are present. To avoid future headaches certain types of flooring are better suited for these areas than others.
For example: Flooring like tile, linoleum and sheet vinyl are a great fit because they are water resistant. On the other hand, hardwood flooring and laminate are not because they do not react well to water damage. Even a small leak can ruin these types of flooring and lead to expensive repairs.
So what about this new flooring? Wouldn’t it be a no brainer to install in those areas over anything else?
What is Waterproof Vinyl Flooring?
The new “waterproof flooring” I keep referring to is known as vinyl plank flooring. It takes all the advantages of sheet vinyl, laminate and hardwood, and combines them in hybrid form.
The vinyl element of the floor allows it to be water and scratch resistant. (Notice I said resistant…)
The laminate, or floating element of it allows it to expand and contract throughout the seasons.
Lastly, the hardwood element gives it that visually pleasing look that homeowners crave.
You may be saying to yourself at this point, “Wow Brian, this stuff sounds pretty great, what’s the catch?”
To be fair to vinyl plank flooring, it is a great product in my opinion. The trouble arises when advertisers claim it, or any other type of flooring, is waterproof.
The hull of a boat is waterproof…
A pool liner is waterproof…
Flooring is not waterproof…
The Truth of Waterproof Vinyl Plank Flooring
While the individual planks may be waterproof, the building material around and underneath it is not. As a result, if significant water damage occurs, the flooring still has to be removed and replaced in order to dry materials like sill plates, drywall and subfloor.
This renders the fact that the flooring is “waterproof” essentially useless.
Basement Waterproof Flooring Example
We helped a customer with a flooded basement that had “waterproof laminate flooring” installed. Initially the customer thought we wouldn’t have to remove the flooring because it was waterproof…
Unfortunately, we had to inform her, that although your floor is “waterproof”, the basement structure is not and the flooring would need to come up in order to dry her basement back to its original moisture content.
Now, we did consider removing the flooring carefully to possibly re-install it after the basement was dried, but when we attempted to unlace the pieces they began to tear the click clock system. The flooring wasn’t meant to be taken apart and put back together.
Conclusion: Waterproof Laminate Flooring
The moral of the story is know what you are buying.
If you’ve done your research, then vinyl plank flooring is a great option for any home.
However, if you haven’t done your research beware. After significant water damage you may learn that your new flooring isn’t as “waterproof” as advertised.