The water heater is located in a closet with our central HVAC near the kitchen. The floor of the closet is plywood raised about foot or two to make room for the HVAC intake. The walls are drywall. The drain plug was actually replaced by some industrial sticky tack, and this plug popped out causing the leak.

The floor of the closet was saturated, as was some of the drywall in the closet. Water poured out of the the closet and pooled in the space beneath. Once it finished with that it began to spread. It seeped under/through the wall into the living room that has laminate flooring with some type of padding underneath. We have a concrete slab home, thank goodness. After saturating much of the living room it seeped under the walls into our master bedroom/closet. Additionally it pooled in front of the closet on some tile flooring and then seeped under the wall to the garage.

Obviously we're going to have to replace the damaged laminate. Do we need to replace any of that padding-type stuff?

Are we going to have to replace the floor/drywall in the closet? Pieces of the walls?

What do we need to consider?

  • Not an answer, but have you contacted your home-owner's insurance provider or checked the coverages in your policy? This might be covered. – Comintern Apr 16 '14 at 1:39
  • Yeah, @Comintern, unfortunately it's with a $1,500(USD) deductible. Looking around at prices... unless I'm paying for installation, I don't think I'll be filing a claim. – Wayne Werner Apr 16 '14 at 2:12
  • With that much damage, the deductible might still be a good deal. Although unless the damage is catastrophic, I have heard (i.e. do not take my word alone for it) it could increase premiums. – user4302 Apr 16 '14 at 2:19

I would file a claim with your homeowner's insurance agency; you may be looking at a lot more than $1,500 worth of damage if you pay it out-of-pocket. That water-damaged drywall can grow mold with its paper facings. So can the MDF core of the laminate flooring if you don't dry it out and remove it ASAP. Same with the plywood and the (presumably but hopefully not) wood sill plates and studs that comprise the walls that the water infiltrated to get into the living room, bedroom, and garage.

Even if you don't file a claim, I would take potential mold problems very, very seriously. Same with termites. Pooled water + construction lumber = terrible terrible badness.

When you say a "concrete slab home," does that mean slab-on-grade foundation or monolithic concrete construction, i.e. with ICFs? If the latter, then first of all congratulations, and second of all, your home's structure is probably okay. But you will still need to replace anything cellulose-based, including drywall due to its paper facings. The laminate padding is probably some type of foam so that may be salvageable.

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