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Leaks in the Slab, Wet Floors, Oh My!

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Some weeks are  more interesting than others, and this week I learned a whole lot about leaks in the slab, wet floors, oh my!!  According to the plumber and the leak detection specialist we worked with this week, Florida and floors can be interesting.

The old saw about "don't put a wood floor in a house in Florida" is just that.  Lots of houses in our area, the greater Clearwater area, are 75 - 100 years old and have beautiful wood floors.  They are built with a crawl space under the house so air gets to circulate under the house and moisture doesn't get trapped and build up.  Projects done right will add value to a home.

Newer construction is built on a concrete slab.  Nothing wrong with that.  People decide to install nice, expensive wooden floors.  Nothing wrong with that either.  According to our leak detection expert, and the plumber, what can go wrong is the slab may not get a sealant, or the sealant could be improperly applied, and the floor will be installed with only a moisture barrier on the concrete, then the wood floor is set on top of the moisture barrier.  Again, our expert says that the moisture barrier slows the moisture from getting to the wood, but doesn't stop it.  He says he is getting a significant increase in calls for "leaks" or ruined wood flooring, mostly because of the increased number of wood floors being installed, but also because so many of them are improperly installed, as far as moisture is concerned.

What should happen, is the installer should seal the concrete and let the sealant dry for a couple of days.  Then it is OK to install the wood flooring.  In his opinion, using a combination sealer/adhesive does not work as well and will result in damage to the floors, because the combination does not protect from moisture penetration as well as sealing the floor first and then doing the installation.

He showed me a concrete floor, that appeared dry, even to the touch.  When he took a reading with his moisture meter, it maxed out on the meter.  It was only a matter of time before there would be damage to the flooring installed on that slab.

Another issue the plumber pointed out, in one of our listings, is that when the house was built, the copper pipe did not have a sleeve around it where it went through the slab.  This caused the pipe to rub against the concrete when the water was turned on or off, or if there was vibration.  Eventually, the concrete wore through the copper pipe and voila!!, there was a leak in the slab.  Good news, the homeowner purchased a home warranty.  Unfortunately, the home warranty, while covering a lot of the damage, did not cover all of it and the homeowner is still on the hook for a major part of the cost of repair.

The moral of the story, is buy a home warranty.  Seriously, if you are going to install a wood floor, just be sure it is done right.  Don't go for cheap, pay for a little extra time, get the floors done right and they just might last a lifetime.  And if they don't, a home warranty will defray the costs for repair.

Is a Home Warranty Warranted??

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

When it comes time to sell your home, one of the questions that will come up is, "Should I offer a home warranty?"  I would wager that a great majority of Realtors would answer that with a resounding YES!!  For roughly $1 a day, you can provide a buyer with peace of mind for a full year after they purchase your house, and keep you from getting nasty phone calls when a water heater fails on a Friday night.

Most home warranty companies cover items such as: water heaters; air conditioner/cooler/heat pumps; garbage disposal; dishwasher; clothes washer and dryer; refrigerator; plumbing systems; drain line stoppages and much, much more.

When, not if, something breaks, for the cost of a trade service call, usually $75-$100, the broken appliance or system, can be repaired or replaced.  And that provides peace of mind, especially for new buyers.  Many Realtors also provide, at their cost, warranties during the listing period so that the homeowner has one less thing to worry about during the selling of their home.

An extreme case of a home warranty saving the day is a home we sold a few years ago, and a water pipe broke in the concrete slab while the new owner was away.  The warranty company not only paid to repair the broken pipe, and the jack-hammered slab, they also covered replacement of the damaged flooring and repair of the walls, among other things.

If you are thinking of selling, or buying a home that does not offer a home warranty, talk to your Realtor about getting a home warranty.  You will be glad you did.  Just so you know, we do not make a penny when anyone buys a home warranty.  It just gives us peace of mind too.

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Photo of Gwen and  Doug Campbell - The Campbell Team Real Estate
Gwen and Doug Campbell - The Campbell Team
at Keller Williams Realty
30522 US Hwy 19N, Suite 107 S
Palm Harbor FL 34684
Doug's Cell 727-741-4189
Gwen's Cell 727-741-7260
Fax: 888-447-7908