Home Repair After a Hurricane

hurricane sandy means lots of home repair workHome repair is never fun but after the stress of living through a storm, and looking at a long list of cleanup and repair projects, it can get very stressful. As we have many homeowners dealing with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, this article will focus on dealing with flooding along the coast and high wind damage typical of hurricanes and many other storms.

After cleaning up debris and drying out your home to minimize mold growth, making repairs to your home’s exterior should be the priority to button up your home and make it watertight before new storms arrive. If you have significant problems with mold, you’ll also want to get professional help dealing with this before you start interior home repair work.

Hurdles to Starting Home Repair Projects

Anxious homeowners want to get home repairs started as soon as possible, knowing that long delays will only add stress to the lives of their family. It’s not that easy though as there are many dependencies to overcome.

  • Access to homes must be clear, and many barrier islands dependent on bridges, causeways and low lying roads have had delays in gaining access, which is slowing recovery.
  • Utilities like natural gas, electric power, and propane need to come back online and remain stable to support workers.
  • Building codes and building permits are another hurdle for homeowners to deal with, although most builders and remodelers will take the lead on these activities. Many communities sensitive to the stress of rebuilding, are relaxing their requirements like the Town of Hemstead, New York “… fees will be waived for storm-related structural repairs that conform to original dimensions and specifications, commonly referred to as “in-kind” repairs/replacement. … Residents will need to furnish a copy of an insurance claim related to the home repair projects along with architectural plans submitted to the town’s building department. The fee waiver program will run for six months from the date of the storm.”
  • Some homeowners may be able to pay out of pocket for repairs while waiting for insurance checks. Many homeowners will have to wait for their insurance companies to complete processing claims before they can hire the help they need.
  • Homeowners have to decide what gets done first, i.e. repair or replace a roof or siding, if they can’t do everything at once. The easiest route to recovery is hiring one builder, remodeler or home renovation company to handle all repair needs but …
  • There won’t be enough home professionals to meet local demand, even with an influx of help from other parts of the country. Homeowners who already have relationships with a builder will fair best, as they’ll go to the top of the list. When homeowners can’t find their first choice, they have to take on the role of general contractor and hire individual specialty contractors for roofing, siding, windows and doors, foundation work and more.
  • Last but not insignificant is the availability of building materials for all the home repair projects. This may be a problem in some locations until major suppliers gain a better understanding of what materials are needed where, when, and quantities.

Articles To Help with Your Home Repair Projects?

Maybe you have a mold problem and want to skip over to what’s involved in that home repair project? The goal of these articles is to give homeowners the big picture about what’s involved from preparing to home repair after the storm, with links to resources that help get the job done.

Many of the home repair professionals you’ll need to work with are the same/similar to routine home maintenance, home repair and replacement. There are also new home professional companies, or old ones with more extensive services to deal with the frequency and severity of storms seen in the US.

  • For mold problems, you want a NORMI certified mold company as there aren’t any guarantees, but you’ll know the people have been properly educated and trained.
  • If your home was build before 1978, your contractors will need to test your home for lead paint, and be Renovate, Repair and Paint (RRP) certified by the EPA.
  • For content restoration, there are new techniques (heat and ultrasonic cleaning), to clean, sanitize and deodorize many household contents that appear at first to be unrecoverable. Don’t give up on valuable papers, books and electronics until you’ve talked to a company specializing in home restoration, which is different than home repair.

Storms 101 for Homeowners

This article on home repair is one in a series of articles written to help homeowners deal with Hurricane Sandy, although much of the information applies to storms in general. We’re still writing so if there’s a topic you’d like more information on, contact us by email.

Best of luck with your home repair projects …
Send us your storm stories to share with others!

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