On August 29, I nearly had my entire house flooded because of a leak in my bathroom. The aftermath has been one of the most traumatic times I’ve experienced since becoming a homeowner. From juggling insurance paperwork, contractors, the adjuster, constantly changing timelines, oh and the mortgage company too- I’ve nearly lost it a few times. Somehow here I am nearly 3 months later still holding on (and finally ready to blog about it!). Here’s my account of what happened and what I’ve learned from this situation.
This can’t be real. That was my first thought and biggest wish when I walked into my bathroom and saw water shooting out from the toilet supply line like an open fire hydrant. This was not a drill. I initially tried to cover the pipe with my hands (made total sense in the moment), but quickly realized I was losing time and now soaking wet. This ain’t looking good. As I was in total panic, what stands out the most is my frantic attempt to remember where the home inspector pointed out the emergency water shut off valve nearly 6 years ago. Is it in the garage? No, what about the underground cover in front of the house? Yes, it’s in the garage. Trying to recall something that you thought you would never need in the middle of a crisis is a real eye opener.
Eventually, I was able to shut off the water, but not before serious damage had been done. My master bathroom, bedroom, closet, hallway, kitchen ceiling and the entire downstairs floor was flooded. There’s not enough towels for this job. So I called a local plumber, paid the $125 per hour after-hours fee, and waited about an hour for them to show up so they could give me a blank stare and advise me to call my insurance. Wait, that’s it? After running around and saving my house from Hurricane Katrina all I get is barely 10 minutes of work!? Note to self: If you can shut off the water by yourself, you have already completed 98% of the plumber’s job. In all seriousness, its best to call them nevertheless just to be safe, but I absolutely want my money back.
I called my insurance provider the following morning and, unbeknownst to me, boarded the proverbial crazy train. Or maybe I jumped on the night before when I tried to become a human water plug. At any rate, a company (who will remain unnamed) showed up later that day to begin removing the water and setting up an outlandish number of fans to dry out the house. It was apparent that there was an increasing bulge on my kitchen ceiling that was becoming larger by the minute. The company casually explained this was water from the upstairs leak, which was now pooling above my downstairs kitchen, which could and would fall if the water was not released. Great. The next part of this story is synonymous with the part of a prescription drug commercial where the announcer starts speaking at 235 mph. Don’t worry, I’ll slow it down for you and skip to the good part. According to the unnamed company, they don’t do any type of construction and suggested I hire another company. Apparently setting up giant fans were the extent of their services. The crazy train is leaving the station. Please stand clear of the closing doors.
So here I was back at square one, minus a few baseboards and with a whole bunch of added confusion. After conducting a thorough Google search on “my house flooded now what,” I made the decision to call water restoration services. The second company got to work immediately, cutting the hole in my kitchen ceiling to prevent it from collapsing, removing my kitchen floors, and assessing the extent of the damage. I wish I had more to say about all the fun I had renovating my house, but bear in mind that we are on a crazy train that doesn’t stop for anyone. After nearly 3 months the condition of my home is still the same (ripped up floors and a giant hole in the ceiling). I am finally nearing the finish line after much back and forth and three different inspections (the mortgage lender also needs to do their own walk through). The contractor has promised I will have a set appointment for the last phase soon (early November).
What do we want? Renovation! When do we want it? Now! In a couple of weeks I will be picking out new flooring, having the carpet replaced, walls painted and basically designing a new master bath. The contractor estimates 2-3 weeks of work and with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching I can only pray that my house will be complete in time. This ordeal has pushed me in so many ways, but ultimately I know that I am stronger bc of it. I also know that I really, really, really love my home and can’t wait to see her back and better than ever. My home is a reflection of who I am and who I want to be. I’ve worked so hard to create a warm, enjoyable, and unique space. When your house aches, you hurt too, much like a parent would when their child does. Having spent so many days living in the house and staring at the damage on a daily, I can’t wait for things to return to normal.
Here’s a video recap of the leak and aftermath.