Home Improvement--General/Rehab Issue


Hi Thomas,

We recently purchased an older house and are having a contractor doing rehab work before we move in, including, replacing the bathrooms and kitchen, removing some walls, tiling and painting, etc., Sometime, Tuesday night, a recently installed valve broke on the second floor, flooding the home down to the basement.  When I went into the house yesterday morning it was devastating.  The contractor said he would take care of the problem.

My problem is I don’t know what to ask him to do to ensure and guarantee that I don’t have mold in the future, after he leaves, or if the wooden floors warp or creak.  I don’t even know what other issues or potential problems I should discuss with him to protect myself.  For example, could the house wiring have been affected?

Any advice you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

There is not much I can tell you without seeing the damage.

Mold is in the air so if the interior was soaked and it is above 50 degrees you are likely to have some. Since building materials are layered drying out the materials before they are damaged or start mold growth is not something to bet on.

All the water needs to be removed and all surfaces wiped down with a solution of bleach. Bleach will also do its own degree of damage.
If the construction is closed and has air conditioning, turn it ON and down to drop the temperature below what mold likes. Rent or purchase  dehumidifiers and run them constantly to pull as much moisture out of the air as possible - air conditioning will do this too but the idea is to move the moisture out as fast as possible.

Warped and water stained wood I'm afraid you may not be able to do anything about depending on just how much water was on it and for how long and how much got under it. It may require replacement.

Wiring may not be an issue unless it is metal jacked and buried in insulation. If there is a big concern with what water may be sitting on electrical connections running the AC and dehumidifiers is called into question.

Since the valve that broke was part of the new installation I hope you have an agreement with the contractor that he was supposed to protect the property during construction against damages from weather, and construction ...

I also hope you have someone that is licensed, bonded by the state and insured to cover the possible large extent of work to repair damages.

Now is the time to make a claim on a bond or insurance.  

Home Improvement--General

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Thomas Buford


Licensed Architect in Virginia since 1984.
New Homes, Additions, Alterations, Outbuildings, Failure Forensics;
Small Construction Projects; Remediation and Repair



Architectural design, planning, construction and repair.
• Schematic Design
– objectives statement
– space planning
– feasibility study
– structural, mechanical, plumbing
and electrical system integration
• Permit Drawings
• Construction Drawings
• Contract Documents
• Construction Administration
– construction management
– pre-qualification of bidders
– bidding
– general and/or sub contracting
– construction progress and
construction contract review and interpretation
– pay request certification
• Construction failure diagnostics
– water intrusion
– structural failures, ...

Due to life safety concerns regarding some aspects of construction I may not be able to help with all questions.
I do not answer structural specification questions without a site visit.

Arlington Journal

5 year Bachelor of Architecture from
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI-SU)

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