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December 12, 2012
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Recovering After the Hurricane

Recovering After the Hurricane

House damage from Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy was anticipated to make landfall along the East Coast, but no one was quite expecting the havoc left behind. Two weeks out there were many who were still without power in some of the hardest hit areas. It is no secret that residents are in for a long journey to get things back close to anything that resembles normal. Many people find that they still own property, but there is no home post Sandy. Those who do have a home and property remaining have to begin the arduous task of getting their houses livable once again.

Where to Begin?

Even though it is difficult to know exactly where and how to begin exterior or interior home remodeling and restoration projects, remember that it is possible to regain a sense of normal. While it may not happen overnight, it will happen one day at a time, one piece at a time. It may be a hassle right now, but eventually you will be able to restore everything to normal. Here are some tips to get you started figuring out where to start and what to do.

Safety First

When it is safe you can take a walk around your entire property to examine the condition of fences, outbuildings and the exterior of your home. Any damages should be covered by your insurance. If any of the heavier rains left any of the utility lines exposed, mark them in some way. You may use a simple stick or a flag if you have one available. This will help when the utility company comes out to check and bury them. Check all the plumbing, electrical and gas lines to ensure that they are not damaged. Specifically check where they enter the house. It is best to turn them off inside the house until you can have a professional inspect them for safety. If any of these are exposed, it is best to hold off on any home remodeling. Proceed only after professionals have made sure they are safe.

Up Close and Personal

Examine the exterior portions of the house with a set of binoculars. This will allow you to inspect the roof and siding carefully for dents or other damages. If the exterior of the house is made of brick, use some orange paint to spray nails and stick them in any damaged areas so that you can find them easily later. Cover any holes that you find in the home’s exterior with a tarp and remove any broken or severely damaged gutters, especially if they are hanging so that water is being redirected to the foundation of the home. Whatever was used to keep water away from the outside entrances, keep in place until all the water has been drained away from the yard and it is not muddy. Even though you may have cleaned the gutters out in preparation for the storm, it is good to check them once again as they can be full of debris again. Any and all damage should be photographed since it may be some time before the insurance adjuster makes it out. Be sure to okay any repairs including house painting with the insurance company before you start any project.

Proceed with Caution

One of the biggest problems has been that homeowners can get scammed during these types of situations. Contractors usually show up at the door almost as soon as the storm has passed. It is always a good idea to have 2 or 3 bids that you can compare before hiring any contractor. You will also need to check their credentials and references since many people pose as contractors and take advantage of homeowners by taking their money without providing adequate services. Always ensure that the repairs are Okayed by the insurance company and get a contract signed by the contractor that includes his name, address, phone number and license number. Never pay the contractor until the work is completed satisfactorily and make certain to get a receipt.

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