Gentry Custom Homes has been out in our community with our neighbors, helping to assess damage and offering our crew to clean out homes. We know the stress of leaving your homes, coming back to find total damage, fighting to save precious mementos, mucking out water and mud, taking out damaged property and finally taking out sheetrock, flooring and insulation has been a toll on our community who have dealt with Harvey and the after effects. All we have seen has been Texans helping Texans and we are proud to be part of it.
We offer these tips from the Red Cross as an overview for response after Harvey.
- Take care of yourself first so you can be strong for your family.
- Give your home 1st aid, protect from further damage.
- Get organized.
- Dry out your home.
- Restore the utilities.
- Clean Up.
- Check on financial assistance.
- Rebuild and Flood Proof.
- Prepare for the next flood.
Now that the waters have receded, at least in Montgomery County, we offer these tips for rebuilding. We have compiled this list for getting your home ready for rebuilding and suggestions for waterproofing in the event of future floods.
At this stage, after you have safely gone into your flood soaked home, taken photos of damage, arranged with your insurance adjuster, registered with FEMA and are preparing for rebuilding.
- Start the “Drying Out” process: natural ventilation and vaporation is best.
- Make temporary repairs to doors and windows to prevent further damage (insurance process and FEMA take time so prevent to last up to six months) with tarps, 30 – 90 lb. felt paper or plywood covered with tarpaper.
- Water damaged household items including textiles, books, photos, paintings and furniture should receive professional restoration techniques for repair and preservation. Wet mud should be cleaned off with clean water before air drying.
- Lower the humidity. If humidity lower outside, open up the house, if humidity higher outside, close the house. Turn on the AC if power is on and it’s safe.
- Utilize desiccants (material that absorbs moisture) in places like closets that have poor air circulation. Sample materials like cat litter made of clay help.
Contractors may already be circling the wagons. We have heard of homeowners receiving bids that are thousands of dollars apart. In our last blog, we alluded to some of these tips but they are worth repeating here.
- Consider the reputation of a builder or contractor (check BBB)
- Make sure they provide proof of insurance.
- Check their references.
- Get a written estimate.
- Make sure they provide a contract with no blank areas.
- Get guarantees in writing.
- Obtain a copy of the signed contract.
- Professional builders will know the process of applying for building permits and inspections so rely on them for this necessary step for rebuilding.
- Make sure the builder is local and tied to the community.
Here, we want to offer steps from Red Cross for rebuilding to protect future damage and this is where we can be a resource for you. Of course, we are honored to bid on your project but if we cannot be of assistance because of a time constraint, we are happy to recommend other area builders who have strong reputations.
- Your adjuster concurs that your home is substantially damaged. It has been determined that the cost to restore your home or business to its before damaged position would equal or exceed 50% of the market value your home had before the damage.
- Decide on if you want to rebuild in the same area. Find out if government agencies offer flood protection in areas that flood and if you qualify.
- Decide on flood protection levels that are 1 – 2 feet higher than the last flood.
- Flood proofing may require a change in elevation, relocation of certain features or flood walls (keep floods from entering homes).
- With dry flood proofing, sealants are used to keep flood water out (only works for 1 – 2 ft. of floodwater).
- Wet flood proofing allows floodwaters to cause minimal damage to counteract the pressure of the water on the outside of walls.
- Move the main electrical breaker to above the flood protection level.
- If furnaces, water heater and AC units have flooded, replace on a higher level or on a platform.
- Wash and disinfect walls the studs and sills if the wallboard and insulation had to be removed. Rebuild with metal studs and sills.
- For wall boards, think horizontal not vertical. Install the wall boards sideways. If the next flood is less than 4 ft. deep, you only have to replace ½ the wall.
Finally, here is a list of materials that resist water damage: Concrete, concrete block, or glazed brick • Clay, concrete, or ceramic tile • Galvanized or stainless steel nails, hurricane clips, and connectors (in areas subject to salt water flooding) • Indoor-outdoor carpeting with synthetic backing (do not fasten down) • Vinyl, terrazzo, rubber, or vinyl floor covering with waterproof adhesives • Metal doors and window frames • Polyester-epoxy paint (do not use mildew-resistant paint indoors, especially on cribs, playpens, or toys because it contains an ingredient that is toxic.) • Stone, slate, or cast stone (with waterproof mortar) • Styrofoam insulation • Water resistant glue