waterleak

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Guys

Not sure where i should have posted this ..but in any case, need your helpful guidance. I had a contractor installing hardwood floor and while removing the toilet the pipe connecting the waterline broke and within a few minutes water started flowing across living room, foyer and dining area. We mopped it all and within 10 to 15 minutes pushed it all out. I see the floor cupping up between the joints at various places from last night. Water was dripping from crawlspace when we were mopping it clean but then it stopped. My wife is concerned about mold formation due to the wetness. Do you think, i should call the mold guys to dehumidify the plywood underneath the hardwood floor to prevent further damage. I do not see the floor cupping up after last night but whatever it did remains. These are brand new floor. My insurance deductible is set at $2500. I do not want to use it unless it is totally necessary. Please help provide some guidelines. Thanks.

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How did you get through life before FWF existed?

Chargum85 (Sep. 16, 2013 @ 9:34p) |

His momma made all his decisions for him.

Mickie3 (Sep. 16, 2013 @ 11:16p) |

That is absurd. He caused the damage, his liability insurance company is liable. That's what liability insurance is for.... (more)

Jstic (Sep. 17, 2013 @ 10:17a) |

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does your contractor have insurance?
he was doing work, he broke something while he was doing it. His insurance should cover it.

yes ... he does. He says it was the old plumbing that caused it all.

ram00 said:   yes ... he does. He says it was the old plumbing that caused it all.
  Shady.
I've replaced a lot of toilets. If he broke the waterline, he did something wrong.
Ideally, if he's working on the water line, he shuts off the water to the house and drains the line before any work is done. Mistake #1.
Also, toilets have handy flexible hoses that unscrew from the toilet. The water line shouldn't have been connected to the toilet when he removed it.

Bottom line, he was doing the work when the water line broke.
 

You were putting hardwood in your bathroom?

Agree with others, the contractor was doing work and your floor got damaged, end of story.  He/his insurance should be responsible for making it right.

The contractor accepted responsibility for the condition of the existing plumbing when he moved the toilet. If he wasn't comfortable with dealing with the "old plumbing" he should have told you that you needed to call in a licensed plumber.

Did he snap off the shutoff valve or actually break the pipe going into the wall (or floor)? How old is the plumbing and is the pipe copper or CPVC? It doesn't really matter, I'm just curious.

I'm not a mold expert, but I wouldn't worry too much about mold from a 1-time event, though I'd probably wait a bit before sanding and finishing the floor to make sure that the moisture levels in the flooring have stabilized.

I agree, contractor error, contractor is responsible for making it right.

Have you paid him yet?

You need to act quickly before he wiggles away.

I would not worry about the mold from just this one event. Run a fan in the room to help dry it out, dehumidifier would be even better.

And as said it was the contractors fault. If he was worried about the pipe turn the water off or tell you to have it fixed before he can move forward.

also, keep an eye on those floors. A buddy of mine's hardwoods in his kitchen/dinging room started to warp a week or so after flooding from a bathroom.
That damage should also be covered by contractor's insurance if it occurs.

Agree that mold won't be a problem - mold is a symptom of the presence of continuous moisture, not on a one time event. Run the fans, keep the doors open to ventilate the area for a few hours a day. It'll dry up

Thanks all for pitching in. The contractor was here half hour ago. We talked about his insurance, he says if the owner is injured, his insurance will cover but not for these conditions. Not sure if that is true, can i talk to a lawyer you think. what is my recourse.

i also called the mold guys, they inspected the crawl space and pointed out about 20sqft of insulation that is wet and the subflooring could also be. when they inspected from the flooring from house for wetness, they could not find any..they were saying i could run a fan in the crawl space for that to dry. Do you think i could ignore so it can dry by itself.

ask for a copy of the insurance policy. Usually I get that from contractors before they do work for me.

yeah .. i have his insurance number

the policy should say what it covers. Typically, they should cover damage as a result of work. Like if I hire a tree removal company, their insurance policy will cover damage to my house from a falling limb. This scenario isn't terribly different.

Who cares if he has insurance... he caused damage! If he doesn't want to fix it and sign something being responsible tell him to leave. I had a tile guy rip the toilet out of the wall bc he is such a hurry he didn't disconnect the line. He called me... he went to HD and bought a replacement toilet and fixed the line. Obviously we arent talking about hardwood in my situation, but wet carpet....

He did it, it's his problem.  I wouldn't worry about the mold issue, but I would have him remove the flooring and start over.  And stop all this discussion of what his insurance covers.  It doesn't matter.  If he wants to cover the cost of this mishap himself, he can.  If he wants to file a claim with his insurance, he can.  That's not your problem.

Also, are you dealing with the owner of the company?  If not, you need to do so immediately.  Get the top dog onsite as soon as possible so that he can see the damage to the new flooring.  you need this damaged flooring taken up and replaced with new materials.  No other alternative.  Stand your ground.

I've been through this before.  Once had an appliance installer push a dishwasher across a wood floor in a kitchen and tear a huge gouge in the floor.  A couple hundred dollar installation job became a $1,000+  floor refinishing project.  It happens, and it is the cost of doing business for these guys.  If they haven't priced in an accident now and then, they aren't pricing their jobs correctly.

he is an individual and the owner of his company

"We talked about his insurance, he says if the owner is injured, his insurance will cover but not for these conditions. Not sure if that is true, can i talk to a lawyer you think. what is my recourse."

You should ask for a cert of insurance or call insurance co direct, it sounds like he only has workers comp which covers him / his employees if they are injured on the job.  As a contractor he should carry General Liability - this covers people / places / things that are damaged as a result of his actions / work 

If he is licensed ?

Is a license or a bond required where you live ?

If he has a license, he should have GL Insurance or possibly a license bond.

If no GL insurance coverage- your options are (1) withhold payment & (2) sue, or any combination of the two.  

Do you have a signed contract with him, if you withhold payment you may be subject to lien filing ? In MO must have a contract signed by homeowner to file a lien on a residence, not sure about laws in your locale. 
 

dcwilbur said:   He did it, it's his problem.  I wouldn't worry about the mold issue, but I would have him remove the flooring and start over.  And stop all this discussion of what his insurance covers.  It doesn't matter.  If he wants to cover the cost of this mishap himself, he can.  If he wants to file a claim with his insurance, he can.  That's not your problem.

Also, are you dealing with the owner of the company?  If not, you need to do so immediately.  Get the top dog onsite as soon as possible so that he can see the damage to the new flooring.  you need this damaged flooring taken up and replaced with new materials.  No other alternative.  Stand your ground.

I've been through this before.  Once had an appliance installer push a dishwasher across a wood floor in a kitchen and tear a huge gouge in the floor.  A couple hundred dollar installation job became a $1,000+  floor refinishing project.  It happens, and it is the cost of doing business for these guys.  If they haven't priced in an accident now and then, they aren't pricing their jobs correctly.

  

I agree with this. My previous points about insurance are secondary. Bottom line, he was doing the work, he broke something, he's responsible.
How he wants to pay for it is his business, but this is an example for why business owners have insurance.

I would remove the wet insulation and add some air circulation under the home to help prevent mold growth.  Mold can grow from one water leak event if building materials are allowed to stay wet.  

You could try small claims court if the damages are low enough.  I would think that if the plumber had professional liability that it would cover bodily injury or property damage.  If the plumber states he doesn't have property damage coverage.  He either doesn't have professional liability insurance; has a high self insured retention; or if afraid that he will be canceled or have his rates rise if he uses his policy.

ram00 said:   Thanks all for pitching in. The contractor was here half hour ago. We talked about his insurance, he says if the owner is injured, his insurance will cover but not for these conditions. Not sure if that is true, can i talk to a lawyer you think. what is my recourse.
  
First you believed this clown when he told you the break was due to faulty plumbing, not to his actions.  Now you believe him when he says he's insured, but only for personal injury. You've got the name of his insurance company - just talk directly with them.

Um, he IS a licensed contractor, right?

raringvt said:   You were putting hardwood in your bathroom?

 

  Hardwood in a bathroom is a bad idea, is this what you are doing?

woowoo2 said:   
raringvt said:   You were putting hardwood in your bathroom?

 

  Hardwood in a bathroom is a bad idea, is this what you are doing?

  
The OP said "within a few minutes water started flowing across living room, foyer and dining area" I am assuming that is where the hardwood floors got damaged...

tchen811 said:   
The OP said "within a few minutes water started flowing across living room, foyer and dining area" I am assuming that is where the hardwood floors got damaged...

Then why was the toilet being removed?
 

dcwilbur said:   
tchen811 said:   
The OP said "within a few minutes water started flowing across living room, foyer and dining area" I am assuming that is where the hardwood floors got damaged...

Then why was the toilet being removed?

  
Maybe the bathroom is next to the living room?

tchen811 said:    Maybe the bathroom is next to the living room?
  Why would that require removing the toilet if the bathroom floor wasn't being replaced???

dcwilbur said:   
tchen811 said:    Maybe the bathroom is next to the living room?
  Why would that require removing the toilet if the bathroom floor wasn't being replaced???

  
geez I don't know. Maybe he is remodeling the bathroom and doing new floors in the living room. Geez....

Did you find this contractor on Angie's List?

yes the bathroom has new wooden floor as well. It was a mistake but it was all taken care during his first visit to lay the floor.We found a gap between one wooden panel and the other that led to us calling this guy again yesterday. He mentioned he needed to remove the carpet, remove the wooden slab and put another one to fix the problem. I was outside at Lowes to buy the wax ring since he was removing the toilet. He called while was on my way home saying about the leak. We got all the towels and everything we could find to mop the water. By the time we could mop it all it was about 10 minutes. I just went back to the crawl space to remove the insulation that were wet so the wood underneath can dry. This guy is licensed and insured and found him from craigslist. During his first visit he did everything so about 90% of the amount is paid. I am hoping that the cupped up hardwood will correct itself in the next few days. I can have this guy to call his insurance to find his coverage but not sure if he would since he keeps saying it is the old plumbing. What is my recourse.

ram00 said:   I am hoping that the cupped up hardwood will correct itself in the next few days.
  
Really?  If it were me, I would insist on new materials...the material you have is DAMAGED due to HIS NEGLIGENCE.  He should pay for the inspection you had done to check for mold issues, he should repair the subfloor, replace the damaged materials, repair the water line he broke & make it right for you.  This isn't that difficult.  It's his mistake, he needs to make it right.  Forget about his insurance--it's HIS RESPONSIBILITY whether the money comes from insurance or out of his pocket should be of no concern to you.  If he tries to make it difficult for you, let him know that he will hear from your attorney (and mean it).

Do good contractors really need to advertise on craigslist?

Within a few minutes the water spread to the living room...
I'd rather hear "within 30 seconds the water was shut off".
You simply don't mess with plumbing without knowing where the main shutoff valve is.
If you're alone and water starts gushing, you start running for the valve.
If you have a helper, he tries to imitate the little boy with his finger in the dyke while you run for the valve.

he keeps saying he didnt do anything wrong and this is a plumbing issue. I kept insisting that the issue happened while he was doing work at my house. Should i talk to an attorney or give him time.

Has he told you EXACTLY what happened? I'd really like to know how pulling a toilet results in an unavoidable flood inside the house.

Options

a. Call Insurance 
b. Withhold final 10%
c. Sue
d. all of the above

ram00 said:   he keeps saying he didnt do anything wrong and this is a plumbing issue. I kept insisting that the issue happened while he was doing work at my house. Should i talk to an attorney or give him time.
  
What actually happened / what did you see when you got back ?
- Angle stop would not shut off 
- Angle stop broke off
- Piping broke in wall
- Crazy Chimpanzee broke in and pulled pipe out of wall while he was removing toilet

If he had shut off main water valve and drained down your water, none of these would have been an issue or caused much damage unless a pipe broke in the wall and he could not see it until he re-connected and turned water back on and saw water streaming out of the wall - but I don't think that occurred as he had not reset the toilet yet b/c you were out buying the wax ring.

What kind of pipe was broken?  It sounds like it was the water supply line and it broke behind the shutoff...is that right?  Was it copper?  PVC?  Either way, they're not all that fragile.  I can't imagine how he managed to break it while shutting off the water and removing the flexible water supply line unless he used undue pressure.  If the water shut off was stuck he should have brought that to your attention instead of putting tons of pressure on it.  That's not due to old plumbing, that's due to your contractor being an idiot & being forceful with a stuck valve.  As others have stated, he should have used the main shutoff before starting, but even if he didn't, he shouldn't have used force so excessive that he broke a pipe.

ram00 said:    I kept insisting that the issue happened while he was doing work at my house. Should i talk to an attorney or give him time.
  It didn't just happen while he was doing work at your house...it happened BECAUSE he was doing work at your house.

If i go to an attorney, i do have phone calls, text messages etc that we had back and forth for the work. What else should i need.

Skipping 96 Messages...
ram00 said:   the flooring companies insurance will pay for everything other than the floor since he is the flooring guy and it is his look after. Flooring pretty much takes up all the cost, the rest of it is negligiable.
  That is absurd. He caused the damage, his liability insurance company is liable. That's what liability insurance is for. Unless he has some specific language in his policy that exempts the company from this claim, they should pay for ALL damage done by the contractor error. You need to challenge the insurance company either on your own, or with a lawyer. You said earlier you have the cover page of his policy, get the entire policy and read it through to see if they have an out.

If the insurance company adjuster detects lack of knowledge on your part he may try and take advantage of that by hoping you will settle for a lesser amount and hope you don't question it. I may be wrong and there could be more to it, but this sounds like an insurance company trying to minimize their liability.



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