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How We Saved $3000 on Water Damage Repair Costs

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When a bad storm blew through our area last spring, it brought driving rain that found every crack and crevice in our new home. The next morning, we awoke to find over an inch of standing water in our basement, soaked carpets on the first floor, and water streaming down our walls. It was a nightmare scenario.

My wife and I braced ourselves for devastating repair bills as we called in professional estimators to assess the damage. The first company told us it would cost a minimum of $10,000 to dry out the family room, replace the damaged drywall and insulation, install moisture barriers, refinish the hardwood floors, and repaint the affected rooms. Yikes! 

Assessing the Damage Thoroughly Before Making Repairs

As we walked through each water-logged room with the contractors, I made sure to point out any subtle damage they missed, like hairline cracks in the walls or warped baseboards. Don’t let anyone gloss over the details! **Look for obvious signs of water damage like peeling paint, warped floors, and mold growth.** Also check in less-visible spots like crawl spaces, attics, and basements.

After getting quotes from two more companies, it seemed we were looking at $8,000 to $12,000 in repairs. As retirees on a fixed income, we just couldn’t afford that. But we couldn’t live with soaked carpets and growing mold either. We had to figure out a way to fix the water damage at a price we could handle.

Shopping Around for the Best Repair Quotes Can Really Pay Off              

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I recommend getting detailed repair estimates from at least 3-5 companies before deciding who to hire. Meet with them in person at your home so they can see the full scope of damage. When reviewing their quotes, ask questions like: Get a Quote from J&D Handyman!

– How long have you been in the water damage repair business? Look for at least 5 years’ experience.

– What specific methods and materials do you use for drying out floors, walls, etc? Look for current industry best practices.

– Will you handle securing any necessary permits for major repairs? Say for electrical or plumbing work?

– What is your timeline for completing the job? How will you minimize disruption to my home? Good contractors should work efficiently and neatly.

Carefully compare all the estimates and look for potential areas to reduce costs**, like lower overhead fees or flexibility on timeline. In our case, we found a smaller family-owned company that was willing to work with our budget and do the job for $6,500.

Doing Simple Fixes Yourself Saves Big on Labor Costs

While our contractor handled the structural repairs and specialized tasks, my wife and I took on many basic fixes ourselves:

– We tore out small sections of water-logged drywall and insulation then patched them up cleanly. 

– We sanded down warped areas of hardwood flooring that didn’t need full replacement.

– We washed off moldy surfaces and applied antimicrobial primer ourselves.

– For finishing touches, we repainted all the repaired rooms to match the existing color.

By being willing to put in long nights and weekends of work, we **saved significantly on labor costs for all these basic repair tasks. And we avoided paying markup on materials by buying supplies directly.

It’s Worth Paying Pros for Complicated Jobs

While DIY can save money, it’s smarter to pay professionals to handle repairs that require expertise or special equipment. For example, we quickly realized we couldn’t safely replace the sections of warped hardwood flooring ourselves. 

The contractor’s specialized tools **allowed them to refinish our floors** down to the subfloor and install replacement boards that matched the surrounding floor perfectly. Could we have tried this ourselves? Maybe, but we likely would have ruined the flooring even more.

We also paid pros to rewire electrical outlets damaged by the water. You don’t want to mess around with electricity! Spending money on complex repairs like these is worthwhile.

Be Ready to Put in Sweat Equity for Major Savings

To save thousands on water damage repair, my wife and I had to devote many nights and weekends to do demolition, haul debris to the dump, thoroughly clean affected areas, and perform basic repairs. This **sweat equity paid off tremendously** in the end.

Sure, we were exhausted from all the work. But thanks to our diligence and willingness to get our hands dirty, we successfully repaired extensive water damage throughout our home for around $3,000 less than the average quote.

If you face a big repair job, don’t be intimidated. With some strategic DIY effort, smart hiring of contractors, and shopping around for the best value, you can avoid overpaying too. Use our experience to guide you in getting quality repairs done affordably. Your wallet will thank you!

FAQ About Saving Money on Water Damage Repairs

How much should I budget for repairs?

Depending on factors like age of home, type of damage, and size of affected area, you may pay $3,000 to $10,000 or more. Get multiple quotes.

What can I realistically DIY?

Basic tasks like demolishing damaged materials, cleaning, painting, and patching drywall. Leave major electrical, plumbing, and structural work to the pros.

Should I hire the lowest bidder?

Not necessarily. Make sure they are properly licensed and insured. Compare experience, reviews and quality of materials too.

When do I need a permit? 

If replacing electrical, plumbing, or structural elements like framing. The contractor typically secures the proper permits.


With patience and willingness to tackle simpler repairs yourself, you can potentially save thousands on water damage costs. Shop around for fair quotes, hire pros for complex jobs, and put in sweat equity when reasonable. Following these strategies, we slashed our water damage bill by over $3,000. It took work, but our home is restored.

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