Milddle west winter damaged pipes

9 Replies

A house was sitting on the market during this past long cold winter in the Midwest with no heat and utilities. I was told by the realtor that all the pipes broke as a result. Never lived in a place that snows in my whole life, would someone please share knowledge on how this happens and how much it would be to fix it?

It really depends on the type of piping? is it CPVC, copper, pex etc. The water line usually will only break in a few spots from what i've seen it shouldn't be to hard to fix but there's a lot of variables. Pipe repairs can cost $400 to $7000 for a full repipe in Seattle area.

Iv'e only ever seen the water lines break not the waste I'm a general contractor and my brother is a plumber i've seen a lot.

Hope this helped you a little

You also have to consider the cost to repair the damage caused by the water once things thaw out and your broken water lines are now allowing water to flow into the house.  This can include damaged hardwood floors, drywall and mold issues due to standing water.  

I recently checked out a house where the pipes froze over the winter and once the water started flowing again, there was so much of it that it caused some settling issues with the front porch!  Not to mention the damage to hardwood floors, cabinets and mold.


First, "all the pipes" have not broken.  Waste (drains) and vents pipes should not be affected.  Traps (sinks, tub) and toilets may be broken.  There are probably breaks in supply lines.  The trick is finding and fixing them.  And repairing the damage.  Its really impossible to estimate.  I have one house that suffered freezing damage before I bought it.  Fixing it involved cutting sheetrock, repairing pipes, then fixing the sheetrock.  OTOH, if it floods a basement, damage could be extensive.  I've seen that, too.

I bought a large 4 bedroom one like that years ago & it was a mess.

The oak floors were destroyed by the water & we had LOT of work. But with PVC & Pex the complete re-plumb went quickly.

Got it for $12,500 put in $3,500 & did it all ourselves. 

Sold it for $30,000 & still hold the first @ 9%.

@Matt Adamson  @Aaron Reynolds  @Jon Holdman  @Pat L.  

Oh boy the basement is flooded and needs to have the water pumped out of it. Also caused a mold issue in the basement  that needs quite extensive work...  Exactly what some of you warned about. I think I really don't know what I am doing here and will pass on this one... Thanks for your advice!

OK, I've been there with the flooded basement. FEMA and the CDC do have a lot of info for cleaning up after a flood. Takes work and the repairs may be extensive, but its entirely do-able. Pumping the water out is easy. Rent a pump and a few hours later most of it will be out. You have to monitor the pump and clear debris. Then a bunch of work with a shop vac to the the rest of it. Clean out anything damaged, essentially converting it to an unfinished basement. Then finish it. Use dehumidifiers if needed to get it dry first. But if you can find the right deal this could be a money maker because so many folks will be scared off.

@Jon Holdman  

Jon, wow you know a lot of this basement business! This would be a big opportunity. I had a condo that had a mold issue a couple of years ago and the quotes I got were ridiculous in the 5-10k range. That was a couple of walls and in California. It turned out I replaced all the windows to double pane, replaced the noisy bathroom fans so the tenants would actually use it, and that worked beautifully. (Side story, not related to this post).

In my experience the companies that quoted me were one-stop shops, where they would clean up and re-drywall. I am wondering if you cleaned up the basement yourself or hired a company to do it? What would you say the price range would be in the midwest?


@Nazz Wang   we were really slammed by that 1000 year flood last September:

At the time (Monday) it felt really bad and was for us.  It got much worse later in the week and some folks here still aren't recovered.  Some lost everything.

Thankfully a bunch of people from my day job came over on Tuesday and Wednesday and helped with clearing out the debris.  I rented a pump Monday night and had most of the water out that evening.  We has the rest of the water out Tuesday.   The last of it has to be sucked up with a shop vac.  We cut off the sheet rock above the water level and got all that out.  And all the laminate flooring.  So we were essentially down to studs and concrete every where that was wet within 48 hours of the flood.  Studs, floors and walls were scrubbed using info from the CDC website.  I had two dehumidifiers running down there on Wednesday, as soon as all the debris was out.  The city building inspector told me to run those until the studs were below 7% (I think) moisture level.  That took a couple of weeks.  Its generally very dry here (Denver is a near-desert) so that could take longer in other places.  I was in the middle of a bath remodel upstairs when the happened, so I hurried to get the bathroom usable, since the second was was in the basement.  I had already hung, taped, and textured 30 sheets of sheetrock for that project, so I hired someone to do the part of the basement we wanted done quickly, my wife's art studio.  We painted the floor instead of putting laminate back in.  All the other work I did myself.  We were able to amend the permits for the bath remodel to include the work in the basement.  Everything other than the sheetrock was DIY.

At this point we've rebuilt her part of the basement, have furnaces and applicances back in.  There is still one section that is just studs.  Its the oldest part of the basement and always had a bad floor plan, so this is a chance to try to improve that.  And, I've spent over a year working nights and weekends on all this stuff and I just don't want to deal with it right now.

Do keep in mind that we were not dealing with a mold problem.  We hurried to get everything thoroughly dried out so we wouldn't have one.  If there's a lot of mold already there then you have an additional problem of getting the moldy materials out.  I do know some kinds of mold seem to have bad effects on some people.  But I do think there's a lot of hysteria around that topic.  Mold is everywhere and will grow on a lot of different stuff if its even a little damp.  So I'm suspicious that some of these remediation companies are playing on this hysterial to charge high prices to want amounts to just normal basement finishing work.  Get multiple bids for any big job like this.

@Jon Holdman  

Really sorry to hear you and your family suffered such circumstances. And WOW you did a fast turn around! Thanks for all the details you provided. It gives me a clear prospective when dealing with water in the house. Thanks for the advice!

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