Storm season can be a rough time for homeowners. Starting as early as March, the season includes everything from hurricanes and tornados to heavy rains and flooding. When storms cause damage to your home, it is important that you have a plan of attack for restoring it. Take a look at our list of the six most helpful tips for restoring your home after storms strike.
When your home suffers damage, there is a high potential for safety issues. Be sure that keeping everyone who enters or works on the home safe is a top priority. Keep these considerations in mind. You can also check out the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s guide for more safety concerns.
• Structure – If the damage to your home is severe, be sure that the structure is still safe to enter. Check for signs it might collapse like bulges, leaning walls, sagging roofs, and swaying floors. If a tree has fallen on the house, make sure it isn’t also touching power lines before going near it or the areas of the home it is touching.
• Gas & Electrical – Turn off the gas and electric before beginning any work on a flooded or damaged home. Use caution with open flame or items that might cause sparks. Be sure to avoid messing with electrical items if the area you’re standing in is wet.
• Asbestos & Lead Paint – Unless you’re positive the home has been cleared of these hazards, assume that any house built before 1980 has lead paint and asbestos in them. Take extra caution with older homes as either of these hazards can have serious health implications.
• Personal Protective Equipment – Be sure you’re using the right gear if you’re going to be working in a storm-damaged home. Goggles, masks, respirators, appropriate clothing, and footwear are all essential.
Asses & Document Damage
“Assessing and documenting the damage caused to your home is a vital step for making sure you get the restoration assistance you need from your insurance company,” said PG Exteriors. You’ll want to take clear pictures of each damaged area – both inside and outside the home. Include details like age, model, and approximate value for each damaged item you photograph. This information will be very helpful when working with your insurance company on your claim.
Dry Things Out
Water damage can destroy items and cause damage to your home long after the water itself has been removed. To prevent mold and mildew, it is essential that you work to dry everything out as soon as you can. According to research, mold can begin to grow in a moist environment in as little as 48 hours. Once water is removed, you’ll want to pull out any waterlogged items like carpets, furnishings, and insulation. Open windows and use fans to increase air circulation to help things dry faster. You can also use a dehumidifier to assist in areas that were flooded.
Unfortunately, criminals often take advantage of natural disasters for their own gain. Burglaries tend to spike in storm damaged areas, similar to the surge in property crimes that reports indicate swept the hardest hit areas in New York after Hurricane Sandy. Be sure to lock up your valuables or remove them from the home if you aren’t able to secure them. You will also want to board up any openings like broken windows or damaged doors.
Clean & Disinfect
Once any water is removed, everything will need to be thoroughly cleaned. You’ll want to use a disinfectant to ensure that bacteria and mold spores are destroyed. Every surface will need to be cleaned – even those that weren’t directly impacted by the storm damage. This is necessary to stop the growth of harmful microbes, so they don’t spread and cause health concerns or more damage in the future.
Consider Storm Proofing
As you restore your home, you should consider materials and products that will help your home better withstand the next storm. If you are in a flood-prone area, consider pumps to make water removal easier and treatments to prevent water from entering the home. Newer materials for your home’s exterior also come in weather resistant options. This investment will help prevent future damage.