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On My Situation with Louisiana’s Flooding

August 21, 2016

I have had a number of people contacting me to ask how I am given Louisiana’s catastrophic flooding in some areas. I had not planned to write a post about it but decided to do so because of the many concerned readers who have contacted me and who are wondering how I am.

The short answer is that I am fine. I am not facing the terrible consequence of having my house flood. My house did not take on water due to any overflowing waterways or overwhelmed drainage system.

I have had some water in one room of my house, due to an unusual circumstance.

My house is an older structure that includes a couple of additions made over the years, sometimes by individuals who cut corners. One such renovation involved adding several rooms built on a second slab that happened to be higher than another. The result is that I have one room that is about four inches lower than the other rooms. The room in question was originally a patio, and when the other rooms were added onto the house, the person who did so did not bother to raise the slab of the room that was once a patio.

I use the room as a rec room.

So, this lower room sits below the water table, and water has been seeping into the wall where the two uneven slabs come together. Based on the water damage inside of the walls, the water has been an issue for years; however, it was not until this incessant, month-long rain hit that water began saturating the carpet in the room.

On Thursday, August 11, I stepped in the carpet in the room in question and noticed it was wet in spots. By Friday, the saturation had spread to about a third of the room. I walked around the room to see where the carpet was wet and moved my belongings.

I did not lose any furniture, and the few belongings that were wet were fine once I dried them.

On Saturday, my neighbor came over and helped me remove the wet section of carpeting and padding, and he cut a section of the wall so that we could discover where the water was entering the room.

We found the seam between the two uneven slabs and saw it leaking.

The solution is to raise the slab in this room so that it is the same height (above the water table) as the other rooms. Interestingly, there was no water damage on the wall that was at the exterior of the house, which means that the water is rising from under the house. Once the slab is raised, the water could still travel between slabs, but at that point, the water will be under the house.

I covered the exposed area, which was moldy, until the next weekend.

On Saturday, August 20, I moved all furniture out of the room; borrowed tools from my neighbor, and removed 14 inches of sheet rock, paneling (underneath sheet rock), and some of the 2″x 4″ plate which served as the base of the frame of the wall. My goal was to remove any moldy material and expose the wet wood to fresh air.

wall  Wall with uneven slab (click to enlarge)

corner Corner; black is wet wood

lower slab  Room is lower than other rooms

slab White spot to lower left (in shadow) is actually the higher slab.

The floor will need to be raised, but my situation is not the emergency that many in southern Louisiana are facing right now; so, I will just not use that room until the floor can be raised. If more water comes into the room, there is nothing for it to ruin. I can just wipe it up.

I am in no danger. I have treated the wet wood to prevent mold; I am at best inconvenienced; I have use of all remaining rooms in my house; there is no urgency about performing the renovations, and I will have the renovation completed when the state of emergency over this flooding has passed.

To all who have asked about me, thank you. I am fine.

 

6 Comments
  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Thanks for this report, with pictures, and the general plan, and timeline.
    In Louisiana, getting anything done above the level of the water table is no small feat.
    I can smell the soggy wood.

  2. Jennifer Scriba permalink

    Glad to hear!

  3. Dave Flinn permalink

    Mercedes, is there any way to drain the water away that collects under your house? That is not a good situation. I don’t know anything about the building codes in Louisiana but I do know that generally speaking one would not want water standing under the slab their home is built on.

    • Dave, the water might seep between the original slab and the overlay. it will not be puddling. I will learn more when I call in the contractor.

  4. Tour house problem sounds like something from a Property Brothers episode.

  5. Good to hear! I hope that your students are/will be ok as well.

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