15 February 2017

In which the garage of dooooom gets worse

As previously mentioned, the garage has slightly way more water inside than out. I called a mold inspector to come admire the disaster, and guess what he found? Two kinds of mold! Thankfully, they are both in the garage. There is a damp wall in the house from the roof leak, but no mold there. Yay for small miracles.

The weird red dots on the back wall are one kind of mold, while the rest of the dark green blobs are the second. It's like the world's worst Christmas decorations! Actual mushrooms are sprouting from the green blobs as they spread out. I guess those are the ornaments on the mold garlands. Every time we dare enter the mold zone, more mold and mushrooms are visible.

As a stopgap, Matt suggested caulking around the outside. Armed with three tubes of silicone caulk and a caulk gun, I proceeded to shove as much caulk into the outside cracks as I could. The worst crack was more of a hole, and the silicone kept falling out. I ended up wedging a small rock in the hole, the caulking the hell out of the whole thing. I'm just going to assume that the rock is nonporous.

Now you may be wondering how I reached these high up cracks. Well, it involved a stepladder, bricks for leveling said stepladder, and Matt using his body weight to hold everything steady. Not exactly the ideal circumstances, especially since we were working quickly to finish before the rain started again. The worst part was using a utility knife to chop off mushrooms that were peaking out through the cracks. The only saving grace was the caulk claiming to be watertight in 30 minutes, which is about how much time it had before the rain started again. Needless to say, the caulking job is not going to win any awards for neatness.

The next step was to call the insurance companies. Not knowing which to call first, I just guessed and called home owner's insurance. I explained the situation to them and opened a claim. I didn't bother mentioning the roof leak, which will come in at maybe ten percent of the deductable. The phone agent wasn't able to tell me what, if anything, would be covered. I'd have to wait for the adjuster. Oh, and due to all the rain, the assignment of adjusters is backed up, so it would take a few days before one was assigned.

Luck me, an adjuster called the next day. He said he would send an inspector out to survey the damage, after which they could determine what was covered. He also said I should call my flood insurance company.

The flood insurance phone agent started a claim for me. Because Mercury was in retrograde, the claim system automatically rejected my claim since the garage is detached. Um, what the fuck? I asked the agent to wait while Matt and I rechecked our policy. Not only does the included FEMA brochure specifically mention that detached garages are covered, the policy specifically mentions that it is covered as well.

The phone agent offered to put through the claim despite the rejection, but she wasn't sure it would get anywhere. Clearly something in the system got fixed as an adjuster was assigned and called me the very next day. They, too, would be sending out an inspector.

The flood inspector came first to look at the damage caused by ground water. He looked at everything around both the house and garage, including the water under the raised foundation part of the house. He found even more spots growing mold in the garage ceiling. However, the flood insurance doesn't cover mold remediation. You would think that if anything, flood insurance would cover mold. What they do cover is just ripping everything out and replacing it. Now here's where it gets really fun. They fix the water and mold damaged areas, but they don't fix the cause of the water damage. Instead, they'd rather keep fixing the same issue over and over. For us, this means they will cover their portion of the garage, but not any digging to put in French drains or regrading of the yard. How freaking stupid is that?

The home owner's inspector came the very next day. He was very unsure as to how much, if any, that insurance would cover. They don't cover cracks caused by normal wear of a building, but they may cover the damage caused by them. Also, he was very displeased by the entire garage. He kept asking if we pulled permits and used a reputable builder. We did both, so we'll see what happens. Just for funsies, they also don't cover fixing the root cause. I declared them to also be stupid.

As of now, I'm waiting to hear back from both adjusters. There is basically no chance of anyone but ourselves paying to put in the necessary waterproofing and drains. The flood inspector confirmed that the entire rooftop deck needs to be ripped off and redone. The cracks were possibly caused by ground water moving dirt around underneath the garage, causing the garage to sink/settle and crack. This possibly makes the cracks and that damage fall under flood insurance, but since it wasn't ground water directly, that damage may fall under home owner's. The only obvious part is the ground water coming through the cinder blocks. In other words, the entire thing is a giant clusterfuck. And while everything gets sorted out, the mold continues to flourish. Maybe we can start a penicillin farm?

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