Flooded slab ranch house - issues?

8 Replies

I just looked at an auction property with about a 100k ARV. Someone removed the water meter and there is no shutoff on the supply pipe--when I walked in, there was water gushing out and 4 inches of water in the whole house!

The house is a 3bd/2ba 1969 slab home with forced air ducts in the slab. It's got good potential with new windows and doors. The house sits on a hill so the lot has good drainage.

The temperature is currently below freezing, so I'm also concerned about the water freezing in the house.

I'm wondering if anyone else has had experience remediating flooded homes. I don't think the house has been flooded for more than a week and the auction is happening at the end of the week.

I'm not afraid of complete tearouts, but I'm wondering if I'm going to run into problems with a sinking slab or under-slab utility problems. Can anyone give me any insight into this? Thanks!

Chris C. That's definitely one where someone has to go in person and look at it.

You're going to have some potential mold issues. I'm not sure about the slab.

I hope you called the city ASAP and had them shut the water off at the street.

I figure the best way to combat mold issues is to cut & remove half the drywall, wipe the studs with bleach and re-drywall. Of course, all the floors will also come up.

I talked to a foundation guy but he was not very forthcoming--he just said he would have to look at it after the damage was done. I'm suspecting that any damage that comes from this will not surface for a few more months.

Chris C., Do you know what kind of soil the foundation rest on? That would be my biggest concern. We have black clay where I'm located and it contracts and expands quite a bit when its really dry and then gets wet.

Chris,in my experience bleach would not be the thing to use. I always use a double acting mold control solution. You spray it on and it kills the mold and the mold spores. Then it dried and forms a layer over the organic material which will greatly inhibit any further mold growth. The best part is you can easily purchase it in most hardware stores, around here at least. I would also be using some big fans and dehumidifiers in every room. Mold won't grow under something like 42 percent humidity.

In these parts (Maine) we don't install too many in slab heating ducts, so I can't speak specifically to that. But, I've done plenty of concrete work. If I were you, I would look to verify that there was adequate drainage underneath the slab. Obviously, you can't look under the slab, but you could verify a perimeter drain which should run to day light somewhere - especially if it sits on a hill. If moisture is trapped under that slab it will wick up through to whatever is on top of it and you will soon have more mold issues.

I hope that helps.

As far as mold goes, better off if it IS cold in there. I doubt there is a mold problem yet, but how the restoration process happens is critical. First thing I would do is tent off bathrooms with tubs an showers and demo surrounds and floors, bag it all up and get it out. There is alway existing mold there. Id do this before heat is put to buillding. Once all areas where mold is typically found are demo'd and cleaned up, I would demo the remaining flooring and open all the walls. Best if this can be done before heat is restored as well. Heat will begin the growth and being forced air, spores will circulate and take up residence in all the cozy moist areas. If existing mold is contained right off the bat, and then blowers and hogdog dehumidifiers put to work, you should be ok.

If the substrate is decent you shouldnt have slab problems. Youre in luck if there are gutters on both sides and not alot of large trees close by. Without gutters, run off can fill drain tile etc over time with sediment and your flood water would have better chance of backing up under slab. The little that might make it thru shouldnt pose a problem. Utilities should be ok as long as water supply doesnt freeze. Being on a hillside would kinda give me a warm and fuzzy, sorta.

Alot of coulds, cans, mights, and shoulds, with a kinda and a sorta thrown in for good measure. If you hear the same guarded optimism from a local contractor, it shouldnt be too bad, maybe! :c)

One more thang... Dormant mold spores already exist in framing members, etc. Thats why it is key to get it heating and drying out at the same time and as quickly as possible. I wouldnt skimp on the commercial high capacity dehumidifiers. Its amazing how fast they can suck the moisture out. Early on youll about have to stand there at the ready to empty them(if not connected to a drain that is.)
Workin on shtupf from my recliner sure is easy! Dont know why I didnt figure that out sooner!

This house is in crisis mode! You may be able to ice skate through the house before too long. Call the city to report the problem... Save someone an even bigger headache!

I had the realtor notify the seller who got on top of the water issue within a day (they even went back and took pictures of the living room-turned swimming pool!) The auction is today, so thanks for all your opinions!

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