You are on page 1of 6

I just thought I would jot down a little information to help people out a bit in this horrific situation these

people are facing in Texas. Let me give you a little back ground information on myself to help solidify
some of the information I am about to give. I have been a licensed State Mechanical contractor in the
State of Louisiana for about 20 years,I have also been licensed in Energy Auditing and Home Inspections.
I have been in the Commercial and residential construction field, electrical field and plumbing.

I have also been flooded like yall. The first time was Hurricane Katrina when we lived in St. Bernard
Parish outside of New Orleans and the second time was just last year in Livingston Parish outside of
Baton Rouge. I watch the news daily since this terrible storm and feel the pains that I know these people
are experiencing and also what they are about to endure. I am not doing this post to be a KNOW IT ALL
ASSHOLE but only to give some people who are in the dark on this situation what they will possibly be
experiencing in the near future. I kinda wish that something like this was around on my first go round
cuz I too was completely in the dark and had no idea what was to come in the near future. Enough
bullshitting and lets get to the info. I truly hope this is helpful to some kinda my way to pay forward.
GOD BLESS TEXAS!!!

Financial aspects:
1) After flooding one should immediately contact FEMA and obtain a FEMA Application number for
your disaster. Even if you have flood insurance you must have this number.
2) Contact your Homeowners insurance company and open a claim number from the flood and
request that an adjuster inspect your property. The reason for contacting your homeowners is
to open a case number in the event that down the line you do end up having a problem such as
your roof. Most of the time they do not cover anything flood related but they do for wind
related.
3) Contact your flood insurance company if you have it and open a claim with them and request an
inspection to be conducted of your property. They will forward you all the appropriate
information to be filled out and sent back DO SO IMMEDIATELY! This is a large event involving
a lot of people and the sooner it is taken care of the sooner you get your claim check.
4) When the inspector shows up make sure you have WRITTEN DOWN all of the questions you may
have for them. The first day you see him at your home might be the only contact you have with
him for weeks (They are VERY busy and you are not their only case). ASK QUESTIONS!!! No
question is too stupid in this situation and these guys usually have the answers right then and
there for you. Make sure you leave at least two or three contact numbers with him and two or
three e-mail addresses. Get ALL of his information also (company name, phone number and e-
mail) he is a hired sub contract from your insurer and your insurer may not know his name and
company if you ask. Ensure that this adjuster looks at every inch of your property inside and out
and bring up any information you may feel he is leaving out. Once the adjuster has finished his
inspection, it will probably be weeks before you hear back from him with an adjustment offer. If
you feel this adjustment offer is not fair you can request a copy and hire your own Public
Adjuster. In most cases a Public Adjuster is very helpful in the claim process because they will
give you a TRUE and Honest adjustment of your property. It is also useful if you may be faced
with making your claim a legal matter because as part of their fee they will fight for your
defense in court.
5) If you have a Mortgage on your property the insurance company will send you the check which
MUST be endorsed by you first then mailed to your Mortgage Company for their endorsement
also. If there are payment issues with your loan they will resolve these payments first then set
up a payout plan with the remainder of the funds in Stages of construction completion. You
should receive an advanced payment up front to help you get started which will also be
deducted from final payment.
6) Retain EVERY receipt from the point of occurance of the storm and displacement to the end
with you moving back home. Even retain receipts for meals paid for during this time because
these are all expenses which you can show. These receipts are justification of use of funds in
case you are asked to prove such.
7) In the FEMA process you are asked if you need rental assistance? Answer yes and claim the
funds if you do not need it by the end then these funds can be returned. In the event that you
would need it then the funds are already there. This is all new to you so you REALLY dont know
right then and there if you will need the funds for sure.
8) Keep a log of expenses as all of the receipts you will have will become overwhelming to keep up
with. I also recommend organizing your receipts in a file. If you have to make returns of
purchased items it is a lot easier to locate them.
9) Immediately upon returning to your home after the water has receded, take detailed pictures of
everything before it is removed. Also take pictures of the exterior of your home. As you are
removing items from the home have someone take pictures as they are removed so you will
have these for insurance itemization list. Your insurance will require you to show a list along
with pictures of the lost items and you will also have to give a dollar amount of the lost item
(what was paid for the item when it was new) Guesstimate because hardly anyone will know
that or just use what it would cost to replace at todays dollar amount. This also includes clothing
and shoes lost. If you did not have content insurance I believe you can get some sort of
reimbursement from FEMA DOESNT HURT TO ASK YOUR ADJUSTER .
10) I know earlier I listed contacting your homeowners insurance to file a claim, but heres the deal
most insurance policies have coverage for loss of use and some insurances paid this in last
years flood - check with your insurance company (homeowners). Under your homeowners you
are also covered for the items lost in your refrigerator and freezer CALL THEM!!
11) If vehicles are lost then immediately contact your automotive insurance company. Usually
flooded cars are given top blue book value towards a replacement.
12) Disconnect all services to the home thru providers. If the water was below 18 then power can
remain to structure. Most service providers (cable and phone) will put your services on hold
with NO reconnection fee. Make sure of this and have them send you an e-mail. If you will be
displaced in another location for a period of time make sure that you forward your mail to that
area.
13) Pest Control Not many people think this but if you possess a pest control contract you must
contact them so they know you have flooded and the termite protection barrier they formed
could be compromised and must be re-done. If termites are found later and they find out your
house was flooded and you did not contact them, they will not be responsible for future
damages from the flood date to present. Any damages that are noticed when walls are opened
up during demolition time are to be claimed with the Pest Control contract company they are
responsible for the repairs. While the walls are opened up it is also a good time to treat the
inside walls of your home for future, ask your pest control professional what he recommends.

DEMOLITION:
1. Remove all furniture and personal items. Items that were above the waterline should be
salvageable. Items that were below the water line should be discarded. Most furniture and
cabinets are constructed of laminated wood product which were in the water will separate
in time. These items have also been water logged with raw sewerage water and can retain
the odor. It is best to seek the professional opinion of a furniture restoration company on
keeping such items.
2. Remove flooring materials that may pose a safety hazard in the demolition process
(carpeting or buckled flooring).Remove drywall or wall covering material including insulation
in wall cavities behind removed areas. It was recommended by our insurance company to
remove 4 feet of drywall as this would cover a water level of 6 36 inches. Recommended
height is basically determined by starting at the water level, then keep cutting up every 6
inches until dry sheet rock is reached then go 6 more inches in this test area and that would
be your height to remove. Using a chalk line and ruler mark the walls the determined height
in areas which allow you to snap a chalk line. I would advise that you use a razor knife and a
circular saw set at inch depth to avoid destroying any of your in wall utilities such as
wiring or piping. All baseboards, door trim, doors and electrical outlet covers must be
removed prior to removal of wall board. Power to outlets and switches should be turned off
also before removal of dry wall. Exterior door thresholds should be removed for ease of
demolition access, removal of flood water and water when cleaning floor surfaces. Exterior
doors should be kept for the time being as they serve the purpose of security during demo
and reconstruction. If the doors are wooden it is recommended they be replaced as they
have lost structural integrity when they were submerged. Metal doors with foam cores
generally can be re used as they do not retain water in them.
3. Flooring removal can be a very time consuming task for some types of floors. Carpeting is
easily removed as certain ceramic tiles and wooden floors are difficult in removing. Ceramic
tile can be a very sketchy issue with insurance as NFIP (National Flood Insurance Policy)
states that they will not cover ceramic tile floor replacement only re-grouting of this surface.
If the ceramic tile were placed on top of a concrete floor it is fine to re use because the
concrete sub floor is porous and the water will soak thru, but still must be thoroughly
disinfected and cleaned. But ceramic tile that is laid over a previous vinyl floor surface MUST
be removed because the vinyl under layment does not allow for absorption of the water
therefore the smell and the residual water will remain for a very long time I know this to
be fact because it happened to me when I popped up a tile 4 weeks after the flood that was
laid on top of vinyl. That is an argument I hope you can win because I didnt. There are
different rental items at your local rent all place available for flooring removal. I found that
an electric demolition hammer and a 8 inch scraper attachment worked great. Be prepared
to put forward a lot of elbow grease.
4. All lower cabinets must be removed for replacement and access to walls behind them. Most
cabinets are manufactured out of MDF, Particle board or Plywood which all need to be
replaced when water soaked. These cabinets if left in or reinstalled will leach out odors or
begin to fall apart in time (maybe not right away but in time). Counter tops made of granite
can be salvaged and soaked / cleaned. When removing granite be very careful handling as
not to split or crack the tops. Man made lavatory counters can also be salvaged. We reused
our cultured marble (manmade) tops and had a company come out and refinish them to
resemble granite, they came out great looking and at a low cost. If you carefully remove
your old plumbing fixtures you can also clean and reuse them if preferred. Tubs can be
reused if they are the cast iron type. They can be removed, cleaned and reinstalled. Toilets
can also be removed, cleaned and reused. Tub and shower fiberglass inserts must be
replaced as the structural support bases are constructed of MDS or particle board material
and will lose integrity in time. Not a nice thing to put your foot slap thru the bottom of your
tub in about a year or two after you move back in your house.
5. I believe that windows are alright to leave as long as there is no sign of visible damage.
Double insulated windows if leaking (visible signs of fogging and poor visibility) would
require replacement.
6. Electrical wiring If any of your wiring was below the water level then it MUST be replaced.
Residential wiring consists of romex which has a ground wire sheathed with paper. This
paper becomes wet and raises the chances of starting an electrical fire from shorts. Any
floor outlet circuits MUST be replaced with wire being removed and conduit (pipe) dried out
before new wire is ran through.
7. If you are unsure about any damage to utilities inside your home such as plumbing,
electrical or air conditioning then you should seek the professional opinion of a reputable
company in your area. Most reputable companies are ones that have been in business in
your area for a long time and have local reviews and references.
8. Always get more than one quote from reputable contractors performing the needed work.
Once you decide on a company, do further checking to make sure they are state licensed,
bonded and insured. Get everything in writing from them including ALL warranties on items
replaced and work performed. All reputable companies will offer you every bit of this
information up front without you even having to ask for it. Never give any payment up front.
Reputable companies will ask for payment when work has been completed 100%. There are
also organizations such as the BBB (Better Business Bureau) which can help with a lot of that
leg work on back ground checking a business. This holds very true if you must go the route
of hiring a General Contractor who generally sub contracts out most of the work. A General
Contractor on a remodel job WILL require a down payment and also give you a payment
schedule to follow along with. You must be very clear in the begining when signing a
contract that EVERYTHING be made crystal clear and thoroughly explained in his job quote.
I would also get a signature from him on everything especially at payment time have him
show you exactly the work performed at that stage and only pay him if you are happy with
the results of the work to that stage. Take notes when receiving his quote and have him sign
your notes HOLD HIM TO HIS WORD!! Its your money footing the bill NOT HIS. If he
submits a change order make sure he can show you to the tee WHY such Change Order is
needed. Request ALL licenses and insurances on subcontractors your General Contractor is
using. THEY MUST BE LICENSED AND INSURED. NEVER PAY FOR WORK NOT PERFORMED!!!

Drying out your home:


1. You must be able to bring the moisture level of the construction materials in your home
down to about 6 12% moisture level as indicated and tested with a moisture meter. At
about 20% of moisture in building materials, mold will begin to form. If the wall is sealed
up too soon then the moisture is trapped and mold will begin to form on the paper side
of the dry wall material. If it is left long enough inside the wall cavity the mold will begin
to deteriorate the framing structure and cause serious damage. It is important that after
you remove the flood water and expose the wall cavities that you treat the walls and
flooring with an anti microbial spray and begin the dry out process. During the dry out
process when you reach about 16 18% moisture you re spray the wall framing lumber
again to ensure the material has been applied thoroughly and will do what it is designed
to do KILL MOLD and stop the reforming of it. I used a product purchased online
called MICROBAN, and it worked great. Not bad in price and if bought in a concentrate
you can do 2 houses around 2,000 sq ft. with 1 gallon. This product must be saturated
on structure before you start to dehumidify. To dehumidify, I used (4) 100 pint
dehumidifiers and my central A/C system. With dehumidifiers it requires a little bit of
work as the containment bins need to be emptied on a daily basis, unless you purchase
dehumidifiers that have a connection for a garden hose and you can route a piece of
hose to drain into the floor flanges where your toilets were. You must also use duct tape
to seal ALL kitchen drain pipes, bathroom vanity drain pipes and toilet floor flange
drains to ensure you are removing only the moisture incurred from the flood and not
the water in your drain piping. All exterior doors and windows must be sealed up with
painters tape and where door thresholds were removed pipe insulation must be used to
form a seal since vinyl threshold gasket seal has been removed. The pipe insulation I am
referring to is basically the same thing as a childs swimming pool floating noodle. You
must also inspect the exterior exposed wall cavities for any tears or punctures in the
exterior sheathing which is visible now that the wall board and insulation is removed.
Any holes, air leaks or tears can be sealed with spray foam insulation. If black visqueen
skirting is visible it must be wedged out where moisture can be evaporated and
removed. I found it also helpful to use an air compressor and a blow gun nozzle to go
around to all bottom wood plates which are the base of your walls, and blow the seam
between the concrete surface and the bottom of the plate (did this quite a few times).
You must have your A/C system inspected after the flood to determine any damage if
any and to ensure it is safe to operate. You must place 2 filters in your A/C system to
operate in these conditions and replace the outer filter which will be taped with
painters tape to the outside of the grille on a daily basis. Once ALL construction is
complete you will need to have your A/C systems evaporator coil and blower cleaned
and serviced. Place your thermostat at 78 degrees and set your dehumidifiers to run
BALLS TO THE WALLS. You will have to check the moisture of the construction material
every day at least 2 times a day with a moisture meter. A moisture meter will be very
accessible to purchase in your area at any home improvement store or hardware store.
They generally cost 30-45 dollars depending on the brand. The drying process will take
3-4 weeks to be done properly maintaining 6-12% for about 3 days straight, then you
are ready to rebuild. DONT RUSH THIS PROCESS IT IS HIGHLY IMPORTANT!!!

Mental aspects:

Keep your cool and pace yourself. This is a life changing experience you are going through, but if
you try to remain calm and pace yourself, it will be ok. The first 3-4 weeks you will be physically
enduring something youve never experienced before with a million things going through your
head. Sit down and write up a list in order of what you need to accomplish. Every night go over
the list and cross out what you have accomplished that day. Make your list in the form of what is
to be performed: 1. Demolition (then list ALL aspects of the demolition you need to accomplish)
2. Dry out of home (list everything for drying out and list numbers you are getting each day on
moisture meter) 3. Construction (list all phases of the construction process you need to
accomplish)

This will all help you chart your progress on returning back to your home and restoring some
type of normalcy to your life. If it is your family that is displaced, keep thinking to yourself about
getting your family back into their home and doing the usual things you did before this all
happened. ITS TOUGH!!! I KNOW!! But you can get through this, I HAVE FAITH IN YOU!!!
One of the biggest things is when help is offered to you NEVER turn it down. Dont ever think I
CAN GET THIS ON MY OWN!!! because YOU CANT!!! at least not in a reasonable enough time
frame. Family and Friends are the KEY to getting this completed and retaining what sanity you
have left. This is an out of ordinary experience that with the assistance of FRIENDS and FAMILY it
helps a whole lot especially to just have the shoulders to lean on

With that said GET UP OFF YOUR ASS AND HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH!!!
YOUVE GOT THIS!!!

Hope this was some helpful information