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  1. #1
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    Mar 2014
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    Default Which Contractor should I hire to find source of moisture in slab?

    The problem: there's a high moisture content in the slab of our 40+ year old home. It is practically in the center of the back half of the house. We have had glued down engineered wood flooring in that area for 7 years with no problems with the flooring. However, in the adjoining room, there was significant efflorescence along the adjoining wall, mainly in the center area (about 12' from the back edge of the house.) The wall being referred to runs perpendicular to the back yard and this adjoining room as well as the room with the wood floor create the back part of the house.

    The question: which type of company should I hire to determine the source of the moisture? A foundation company? A plumber? I'm not sure and I'd like to get this done asap.

    Other pertinent facts: this is in Houston, TX. The slab is on the soil and I can't say if there's a vapor barrier between the slab and the soil or not. We are, from what I can tell, the 3rd owners of the house and when this house was built there were no building codes that I'm aware of in the area. We did have the house inspected before we bought it and were told the slab was in good condition. There are no visible cracks anywhere in any portion of the slab that we've exposed recently for new flooring and that includes the entire rear half of the house. We had an old, badly cared for pool professionally removed last year and all the concrete surrounding it which used to push rain water toward the back of the house. Now, we have a professionally installed paver style porch-on-sand and the installers put drains in along the rear of the house to move excess rain water away from the back of the house and out to the front yard.

    Thank you in advance for your input!

    NHIE Practice Exam

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Garland, TX
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    622

    Default Re: Which Contractor should I hire to find source of moisture in slab?

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    St. George, UT
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    217

    Default Re: Which Contractor should I hire to find source of moisture in slab?

    A knowledgeable inspector with an IR- camera may be able to closely locate (pinpoint) the source. Or may be able to tell if from a buried water line or if it coming from the outside. This may cut down on the amount of jackhammering that will need to be done to locate a leak.


  4. #4
    Loren Sanders Sr.'s Avatar
    Loren Sanders Sr. Guest

    Default Re: Which Contractor should I hire to find source of moisture in slab?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcie Wilbanks View Post
    The problem: there's a high moisture content in the slab of our 40+ year old home. It is practically in the center of the back half of the house. We have had glued down engineered wood flooring in that area for 7 years with no problems with the flooring. However, in the adjoining room, there was significant efflorescence along the adjoining wall, mainly in the center area (about 12' from the back edge of the house.) The wall being referred to runs perpendicular to the back yard and this adjoining room as well as the room with the wood floor create the back part of the house.

    The question: which type of company should I hire to determine the source of the moisture? A foundation company? A plumber? I'm not sure and I'd like to get this done asap.

    Other pertinent facts: this is in Houston, TX. The slab is on the soil and I can't say if there's a vapor barrier between the slab and the soil or not. We are, from what I can tell, the 3rd owners of the house and when this house was built there were no building codes that I'm aware of in the area. We did have the house inspected before we bought it and were told the slab was in good condition. There are no visible cracks anywhere in any portion of the slab that we've exposed recently for new flooring and that includes the entire rear half of the house. We had an old, badly cared for pool professionally removed last year and all the concrete surrounding it which used to push rain water toward the back of the house. Now, we have a professionally installed paver style porch-on-sand and the installers put drains in along the rear of the house to move excess rain water away from the back of the house and out to the front yard.

    Thank you in advance for your input!
    "We had an old, badly cared for pool professionally removed last year and all the concrete surrounding it which used to push rain water toward the back of the house"

    This sentence causes suspicion in that it is not unheard of that when removing an unwanted pool, contractors have been known to break up with a jackhammer the top portion of the pool walls and that debris becomes part of the contents of the pool back fill. If the soil conditions allow, they first simply jackhammer holes in the bottom of the pool to allow for drainage from rain and fill with imported soil the balance. However many soil conditions are not right for this and this could be the source of your moisture problem. Water as you know takes the path of least resistance when draining and the pool could be overflowing to the soil under your home. Is your soil clay or sand or a combination of materials? Do you know if they back filled the pool hole properly? My first call would be to a foundation inspector or contractor with knowledge of your areas soil conditions.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Which Contractor should I hire to find source of moisture in slab?

    All good suggestions. I would start by confirming that all the house plumbing fixtures are off, that no water is running, then observe the water meter. If the water meter is still running, you appear to have a supply side leak and the IR camera or the plumber is your best bet. If the water meter is not running, the leak could be a drain leak, from the exterior, or another source. More information is needed.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    FL, TX
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Which Contractor should I hire to find source of moisture in slab?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcie Wilbanks View Post
    The problem: there's a high moisture content in the slab of our 40+ year old home. It is practically in the center of the back half of the house. We have had glued down engineered wood flooring in that area for 7 years with no problems with the flooring. However, in the adjoining room, there was significant efflorescence along the adjoining wall, mainly in the center area (about 12' from the back edge of the house.) The wall being referred to runs perpendicular to the back yard and this adjoining room as well as the room with the wood floor create the back part of the house.

    The question: which type of company should I hire to determine the source of the moisture? A foundation company? A plumber? I'm not sure and I'd like to get this done asap.

    Other pertinent facts: this is in Houston, TX. The slab is on the soil and I can't say if there's a vapor barrier between the slab and the soil or not. We are, from what I can tell, the 3rd owners of the house and when this house was built there were no building codes that I'm aware of in the area. We did have the house inspected before we bought it and were told the slab was in good condition. There are no visible cracks anywhere in any portion of the slab that we've exposed recently for new flooring and that includes the entire rear half of the house. We had an old, badly cared for pool professionally removed last year and all the concrete surrounding it which used to push rain water toward the back of the house. Now, we have a professionally installed paver style porch-on-sand and the installers put drains in along the rear of the house to move excess rain water away from the back of the house and out to the front yard.

    Thank you in advance for your input!
    Personally, I would contact my insurance company and file a claim. Regardless of the cause this is likley to become VERY expensive. Insurance companies will send thier preferred specialists to determine the root cause.

    If they find nothing or state that it is something that is not covered, or deny claim then it is time to get the BEST and pay for your own root cause investigation. At that point you are in battle mode so be sure and review all with an attorney as you may need one.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Southern Vancouver Island
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    Default Re: Which Contractor should I hire to find source of moisture in slab?

    It could be something to do with the removal of the pool, certainly. But if the condition has been there for longer, then it may just be lack of a good vapor barrier under the slab.

    There is a process now that can create a vapor barrier. Holes are drilled 2 feet apart and liquid poly-type plastic is injected under the concrete. Yes, it won't be cheap.

    I would dig down to see if there is a perimeter drain system, and then if there is, have it scoped to see if there is blockage in the pipes. The hole you dig will tell you a lot about your soil type and groundwater levels.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  8. #8
    Loren Sanders Sr.'s Avatar
    Loren Sanders Sr. Guest

    Default Re: Which Contractor should I hire to find source of moisture in slab?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    Personally, I would contact my insurance company and file a claim. Regardless of the cause this is likley to become VERY expensive. Insurance companies will send thier preferred specialists to determine the root cause.

    If they find nothing or state that it is something that is not covered, or deny claim then it is time to get the BEST and pay for your own root cause investigation. At that point you are in battle mode so be sure and review all with an attorney as you may need one.
    Dirk, I understand your reply but would add this: Folks need to be cautious about filing claims with their Insurance Company because if turns out to be an issue that would not be covered, it is still a question that most sellers must answer on a Disclosure form when they list their home for sale. Not that I am recommending that you hide anything from the buyer; to the contrary. But raising a moisture issue calls for an investigation of not only the subject property, but any adjacent property which may have drainage problems culminating in a water source under your slab. I am merely pointing out that this issue can be complicated and must be thoroughly investigated by a contractor that specializes in Moisture, slab problems etc., prior to contacting the Insurance Company. Having said that, this is a double edged Sword. Homeowners policies require that you call the Insurance Company soon as possible after you have done what you can to mitigate the problem, so as to minimize the damage to the property and size of the claim. So time is of the essence for sure in these cases. You do not want your Insurance Company to deny a claim or reduce the amount they pay for remedying the moisture problem claiming that you failed to do your part as the Policy requires.

    Again, I am not an expert and you should take this advice with a block of salt, with only limited knowledge on what I have experienced. Someone with more knowledge will correct any errors I have written here. All the best.


  9. #9
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    FL, TX
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    Default Re: Which Contractor should I hire to find source of moisture in slab?

    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Sanders Sr. View Post
    Dirk, I understand your reply but would add this: Folks need to be cautious about filing claims with their Insurance Company because if turns out to be an issue that would not be covered, it is still a question that most sellers must answer on a Disclosure form when they list their home for sale. Not that I am recommending that you hide anything from the buyer; to the contrary. But raising a moisture issue calls for an investigation of not only the subject property, but any adjacent property which may have drainage problems culminating in a water source under your slab. I am merely pointing out that this issue can be complicated and must be thoroughly investigated by a contractor that specializes in Moisture, slab problems etc., prior to contacting the Insurance Company. Having said that, this is a double edged Sword. Homeowners policies require that you call the Insurance Company soon as possible after you have done what you can to mitigate the problem, so as to minimize the damage to the property and size of the claim. So time is of the essence for sure in these cases. You do not want your Insurance Company to deny a claim or reduce the amount they pay for remedying the moisture problem claiming that you failed to do your part as the Policy requires.

    Again, I am not an expert and you should take this advice with a block of salt, with only limited knowledge on what I have experienced. Someone with more knowledge will correct any errors I have written here. All the best.
    I am not an attorney however this is what my training in real estate law and construction law teaches me.

    First, unless there is something in the results that involves the city or county record, there can be no way that another owner would ever know of it, certianly not real estate agent could veriy it. No owner that has not investigated and actually had a professional verify something acutally knows anything (think of popcorn ceilings, if no test then one does not know that there is asbestos, unknown is proper response in disclosure). A neighbor telling another neighbor anything is heresay and not fact under law. When a controlling agency or professional provides a report, that becomes fact or reasonable assumption of fact unless proven otherwise in further investigations.

    Second, Yes I agree, READ your insurance agreement. Try and find out what may or may not be covered and what the likelihood of no coverage is dependant upon results.

    Third, I have had such a claim, and the inspection costs were covered even though the root cause was not! This is great as the only coverage cost for insurance was the inspection and it took a few of professionals to find the root cause (no existing vapor barrier below the foundation and seasonal or unusual underground water level changes). My deductible was much less than the inspections involved and the Insurance ordered the inspections using approved providers. I didnt have to try and figure that out at all. One specialist lead to the next as a result of inspecitons.

    Fourth,
    Even though I was not covered I read up and discovered that adding a french drain along one side of the house and a 20 yard underground retention for water would most likely end the problem. i did that and re-landscaped and never had a problem later. I even added a sprinkler system and began a new lawn, 111 years later still the best lawn on the block. The root cause was addressed permanently and the slab is now dry.

    Fifth, if the root cause is addressed and proven to be fixed without structural work, actual foundation work, and especially without requiring permits, then there is nothing to disclose in many states. However I would disclose the location of the french drain and the retention area so that there are no problems in landscape etc in the future. One does not need to tell anyone else why a french drain was installed, it is obvious that it was installed to move water (definition of french drain covers that).

    Hope my explaination helps in the thought process.

    Incidentally, I disclosed every change to the property made over 40 years that was known to me as I wsa living there at sale. Including electrical without permits, structural without permits, gas lines wihtout permits, garage conversion, past second garage fire, skylight additions, etc. (was my father's house and he never got permits but always exceeded any specification). I even included removal of driveways changing locations of driveways, added sprinkler systems and 4 inch pvc pipe under driveway slabs for future electrical and water runs. I even disclosed how much soil was added to the back yard. You name it it was disclosed, about a full page if I remember, maybe more. My thought was inundate them with disclosures and let them decide what is important. Hell iN CA we have to disclose if there was a munitions plant, dump, storage area or bombing practice area wihtin XXX feet of a property etc… about 20 CA state disclosure docs besides the ususal in most states I think it was….it was a little insane in fact.


  10. #10
    Loren Sanders Sr.'s Avatar
    Loren Sanders Sr. Guest

    Default Re: Which Contractor should I hire to find source of moisture in slab?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    I am not an attorney however this is what my training in real estate law and construction law teaches me.

    First, unless there is something in the results that involves the city or county record, there can be no way that another owner would ever know of it, certianly not real estate agent could veriy it. No owner that has not investigated and actually had a professional verify something acutally knows anything (think of popcorn ceilings, if no test then one does not know that there is asbestos, unknown is proper response in disclosure). A neighbor telling another neighbor anything is heresay and not fact under law. When a controlling agency or professional provides a report, that becomes fact or reasonable assumption of fact unless proven otherwise in further investigations.

    Second, Yes I agree, READ your insurance agreement. Try and find out what may or may not be covered and what the likelihood of no coverage is dependant upon results.

    Third, I have had such a claim, and the inspection costs were covered even though the root cause was not! This is great as the only coverage cost for insurance was the inspection and it took a few of professionals to find the root cause (no existing vapor barrier below the foundation and seasonal or unusual underground water level changes). My deductible was much less than the inspections involved and the Insurance ordered the inspections using approved providers. I didnt have to try and figure that out at all. One specialist lead to the next as a result of inspecitons.

    Fourth,
    Even though I was not covered I read up and discovered that adding a french drain along one side of the house and a 20 yard underground retention for water would most likely end the problem. i did that and re-landscaped and never had a problem later. I even added a sprinkler system and began a new lawn, 111 years later still the best lawn on the block. The root cause was addressed permanently and the slab is now dry.

    Fifth, if the root cause is addressed and proven to be fixed without structural work, actual foundation work, and especially without requiring permits, then there is nothing to disclose in many states. However I would disclose the location of the french drain and the retention area so that there are no problems in landscape etc in the future. One does not need to tell anyone else why a french drain was installed, it is obvious that it was installed to move water (definition of french drain covers that).

    Hope my explaination helps in the thought process.

    Incidentally, I disclosed every change to the property made over 40 years that was known to me as I wsa living there at sale. Including electrical without permits, structural without permits, gas lines wihtout permits, garage conversion, past second garage fire, skylight additions, etc. (was my father's house and he never got permits but always exceeded any specification). I even included removal of driveways changing locations of driveways, added sprinkler systems and 4 inch pvc pipe under driveway slabs for future electrical and water runs. I even disclosed how much soil was added to the back yard. You name it it was disclosed, about a full page if I remember, maybe more. My thought was inundate them with disclosures and let them decide what is important. Hell iN CA we have to disclose if there was a munitions plant, dump, storage area or bombing practice area wihtin XXX feet of a property etc… about 20 CA state disclosure docs besides the ususal in most states I think it was….it was a little insane in fact.
    Good info Dirk. Disclosures are a good thing for the seller as well as the buyer. Lay it all on the table, as you did. It will keep you out of legal trouble. Take care.... Loren Sr.


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