While it’s estimated that 13,000 homes in the Bahamas have recently been destroyed due to Hurricane Dorian, which touched down this September, it’s clear that the power of a storm can result in terrifying damage.
However, after the storm is over and the damage is done, recovering can be quite a challenge for many homeowners. Whether the damage is just in your backyard or done to the house itself, taking the proper steps when dealing with the aftermath and reconstructing can ensure a smoother recovery.
A storm’s power
While it’s common knowledge that storms can cause damage, many don’t know just how much can occur. Natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes may cause severe outcomes, like total house loss. In fact, severe thunderstorms can even leave your property with varying negative outcomes.
Heavy rain in any storm can cause flooding and water damage, and high winds can tear off shingles or even your actual roof. From something as simple as fallen branches to severe and costly damage to your home’s structure – or even a total loss, the damage is in the hands of mother nature and can be entirely unpredictable.
Managing the fallout
After you have assessed the damage and called your insurance company, you’re going to have to deal with the aftermath before you can begin to rebuild.
Depending on the severity, you may need to call a professional to handle dangerous situations, like if a fallen tree is interfering with your electricity. The same can be said if you have damage to the piping or roof. However, among the direct damage to the property done by wind and rain, one of the most common things left behind is debris.
Debris left behind after a storm can include anything from broken glass from windows to destroyed landscaping, branches, and other miscellaneous debris. While most debris can be safely removed on your own, others might be more difficult to manage – like fallen trees.
Fallen trees can cause significant damage to your property, especially if it lands on your home. After a tree falls on your house, garage, or another structure on your property, it’s important to take the proper precautions, such as removing any people and pets, as well as calling a professional to remove it and repair any damage.
In the event that you or a professional can’t fix minor damage due to debris and high wind right away, temporary solutions can work for the time being.
For example, using a tarp to cover a small hole in the roof can protect your home from further damage from the elements, and temporarily boarding up your windows can also be a quick fix in the event the glass was shattered. In either situation, a temporary fix can buy you some time so that you can make quality repairs.
Floodwater and your home
It’s important to know that some effects left behind by storms can leave behind bigger issues than just a torn-up roof – especially when it comes to any water-related damage.
For instance, floodwater can interfere with your electrical system, making your home a very dangerous situation – even if you can’t initially tell, which is why it’s so important to call a professional after the storm.
Though, floodwater damage doesn’t stop at your electrical system, as your foundation can also crack from the water, which can lead to damaged piping, walls, doors and even windows due to shifting.
Floodwater also has the potential to ruin your drywall and insulation, so those will need to be removed and replaced to prevent issues with mold.
Floodwater also contains bacteria, which can contaminate and completely ruin furniture, carpets, and floors as well.
However, before you can even think about starting the rebuilding process, it’s necessary to properly dispose of anything damaged (including appliances and electronics), and have things professionally cleaned in order to reduce the risk of molding in your home, as it can pose a health hazard to those who experience respiratory issues.
Because of this, it’s best for the family to stay elsewhere until the air quality is safe and your home is clean.
Rebuilding and redesigning
While the process of rebuilding and redesigning can take a while, the ultimate goal is to get it done right. However, you can also redesign your home to protect from future storm damage as well as restoring it.
For example, raising your outlets, applying coatings and sealants, and installing a sump pump can help in future events of flooding. Replacing your window glass with safety glass can also help from future wind damage, and it’s never a bad idea to reinforce your home’s structure, too.
In the event that your landscape is damaged, properly redesigning it while restoring it can help prevent recurrent damage to your plants. For flood-prone areas, elevating your landscaping can ward off plant drowning, as can creating a raised garden bed.
Planting trees to surround your garden is another great idea, as it can help block high winds, and can save your vegetation in doing so. Ultimately, rebuilding is a good period for thinking of protective measures and can bring you peace of mind when the next storm hits.
A costly and unexpected expense
Rebuilding and redesigning your property can be a costly, unexpected expense financially, as well as a time consuming and emotional process. This is why it’s always recommended to have the proper insurance, especially if you live in an area that’s prone to storms.
And, no matter how much damage is done, it’s always a great idea to take pictures of your property and what happened to it, as it can help greatly when dealing with your insurance company after storm damage. However, there are some other valuable resources to keep in mind when recovering after a storm.
Knowing your options and what’s available to you can also be a major help in recovering from a natural disaster. For example, government disaster-relief can help in offering tax assistance, and can even help you in recovering financially through certain programs.
Other programs offer counseling services, and disaster recovery centers, too, depending on the situation at hand. Help can also be found in your local community and through volunteer efforts when recovering and rebuilding as well.