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Last Post 03/25/2013 10:21 AM by  Leland
Flood damage to vapor barrier
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MBoy
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02/02/2010 12:15 PM

    Can the vapor barrier on a structure be damaged by flood water?  The wall in question is constructed in the following manner, from the outside in:

     

    1.  Flat seam metal panels (copper)

    2. Building paper

    3.  2 1/2 inch insulating board mechanically fastened to concrete masonry

    4. 10 mil. poly vapor barrier

    5. 8" concrete block

     

    The argument put forth is everything to the concrete block needs to be replaced because of contact with flood water.  

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    ChuckDeaton
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    02/02/2010 5:24 PM
    CMU's are porous, flood water would fill the pores of the blocks, the contents of the water, bacteria, chemicals, whatever would be left in the blocks.
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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    weberclaims
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    12/17/2012 5:43 PM
    I have never heard of the concrete block foundations being replaced due to flood. It seems cleaning and antimicrobial and possibly a spray sealant would work. My TPA is alowing none of it though. I was wondering how other claim (samples) might look?
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    ChuckDeaton
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    12/22/2012 7:07 PM
    I clean and mildewcide CMU foundations and piers, inside and out.
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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    Floodguy
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    03/21/2013 11:18 PM
    In the said example, since CMU foundations are already exposed to environmental elements such as rain, ice, condensation, salts, dirt, contaminants, mold, and mildew, it is hard to accept the categorical defaulted task to r/reset the siding components to access the VB, a non-porous poly-plastic exterior item, which would be physically unaffected with contact of flood water.

    If the flood water source was saltwater, the threat of corrosion of metal fasteners could justify the removal to access the replacement of such items, if they exist.

    "I clean and mildewcide CMU foundations and piers, inside and out." Although they are not non-porous, CMU have low porosity such that contaminant particles and other organic material can not penetrate deep below the materials surface thru existing pores due to their minute width. Sodium hydroclorite in household bleach for example, is too large to pentrate into CMU beow its surface, although other non-mildicide ingredients can.

    In the said example CMU have such low porosity, the present of a foam insulation board with a VB in between it and the CMU, is air tight enough to create a double vapor lock which create condensation and make it highly questionable mold and mildew wasn't already present prior to the flood.

    My suggestion would be to go with the corrosion to fasteners replacement if they exist and if salt water is present. Photograph the fasterners and if visible signs are deterioration aren't visible thru the siding components, photograph other metal fasterners which are in support the likelihood to those hidden from view related to the siding. Freshwater flood water is destructive, but it doesn't dissolve and destroy non-porous material and can certainly be less destructive than construction flaws.
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    KLS
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    03/23/2013 3:53 PM
    I assume this is a flood claim under the NFIP Standard Flood Insurance Policy forms. There are policy exclusions and limitations of coverage for building elements below the joists that must be considered. If it isn't on the list of covered items, it does not exist for payment consideration. In the Dwelling Form see III Property Covered, A Coverage A Building Property 8 on page 4 of 19. On the General form it is on page 4 of 18 (same list).

    KLS
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    Leland
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    03/25/2013 10:21 AM
    Cleaning of walls is generally covered on a flood policy, even if the wall area is below the lowest elevated floor on a post-FIRM dwelling or inside a basement. Cleaning is specifically mentioned.

    The mystery question is whether the policy allows detaching and resetting of the vinyl siding to clean underneath it. Some examiners say yes, some say no.

    By way of analogy, an HO3 policy usually allows removal of undamaged items to effect repairs of damaged items, if it is a replacement cost policy. An actual cash value dwelling policy, by comparison, does not require the carrier to pay for anything other than what is actually damaged, regardless of whether work needs to be done to access that damaged part.

    Sometimes it seems flood policies are interpreted more like an ACV fire policy than an HO3 policy.

    Say a wave hits an outdoor wall that forms one wall of an exterior shower. The wall is part of the house. The wall is now on an angle, all twisted from water impact. The lowest 18" of the wall is below the "lowest elevated floor". The upper part of the wall is above that imaginary line. Some file examiners will allow the part of the wall above the line, some will allow the whole wall, and some will deny the whole wall, because a portion was below the lowest elevated floor. These differences of opinion can occur with file examiners working for the same company.

    Remember the flood policy doesn't pay for moving contents to allow repairs. Most state regulated Ho3 policies will, even if there is no contents coverage. The HO3 concept is that the wall is covered, and since there is something in the way that needs to be moved, the cost of moving that stuff is covered because the wall is covered.

    So on a flood claim, if you have vinyl siding that needs to be removed to access a CMU wall underneath, and that portion of the wall is below the lowest elevated floor on a post FIRM dwelling, its a similar question. If you can't pay to replace it when damaged, can you pay to detach and reset it to clean underneath it?

    Some say yes and some say no.

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