Question: My name is Rita H., my husband and I are both retired and on fixed incomes, so expensive repairs are difficult to come by. We had significant water damage to the inside of our home during the many recent storms. Kitchen, two bedrooms and the living room all sustained damage.
The insurance company sent out a remediation contractor to extract the water and remove damaged materials. We currently have bare walls with exposed wiring and such. This house is in disarray. They’re telling us that they will pay for the repairs but they won’t pay to repair the source of the water intrusion.
We are in no position to be taken advantage of. Can you tell us where to begin here, what to do? We know you’ve got a lot of experience and we’d really be grateful for your guidance.
Answer: Rita, the main goal is first to discover the exact source of the water intrusion, where you can show the insurance company what failed. Sometimes, depending on how policies are written, the source may actually be part of the coverage.
You and your husband can troubleshoot this together, one on the outside and one inside. Start at the bottom of the home but avoiding the weep screed (this is the metal flashing that meets the foundation, that redirects water away from the home). You don’t want to force water to this area, you want to go just above it and spray gently, water to the siding.
You’re going to go up from there patiently, while the other person is inside looking for any water intrusion from the inside. Go all the way up and cover each wall, until you eventually find the source.
Usually, you will find the source within about 20 minutes. You may ultimately have to get onto the roof and if this is not a safe option for you, you can recruit someone more able to help. Eventually, you will find the source.
Once you find the source, you can then reach out to me so that I can walk you through the next steps. You’ll want to record with video and also take photos. This will help me and, possibly, your insurance company. Document and contact your insurance company, and give the documentation to them for review.
Perhaps new information may help with their coverage, but at the very least I can help walk you through how to repair the failure. Best of luck.
Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].