Getting your house in order after a hurricane isn’t an easy process, but it’s necessary to get your life back on track. Flood repairs and restorations aren’t cheap, however you can save money by cutting back on unnecessary repairs while you recover from natural disasters. Here’s a guide to saving money while working with your local contractor to restore your home.
Severe storm damage is expensive to replace, but budgets can be modified according to specific circumstances.
Bathrooms were designed to get wet! If your bathroom was built correctly, then it can withstand water damage more than any other place in your house. Your bathtub and fixtures should be fine, especially if they’re made of porcelain. Wood vanities, cabinetry and other bathroom furniture should be replaced.
Your home’s walls need to be aired out. Unfortunately, this can take weeks to happen, so you’ll have to take a deep breath and have patience with the drying process. Allow the walls to dry prior to getting work done, otherwise you run the risk of increasing mold and mildew growth, having to repaint and replace walls and wall coverings and triggering discomfort or illness to family members with allergies.
Most ceilings and walls are covered in wallboard, which acts like a sponge. Once wet, wallboard becomes very fragile if it stays wet for a long time and fall apart when bumped. Floodwater-soaked wallboard provides a permanent health hazard, unless soaked with clean rainwater (which will allow it to be dried in place). If you have plaster on the other hand, consider yourself lucky. Plaster walls take a very long time to drive, but they don’t need to be replaced.
Homes usually have one of three main types of insulation, fiberglass, cellulose, and styrofoam; each one reacts differently to floodwater. Fiberglass should be discarded if muddy, but can be left to dry if soaked by clean rainwater before being put back in the wall. Cellulose insulation holds water for a long time and lose its anti-fungal and fire retardant abilities, and therefore should be replaced as soon as possible. Styrofoam reacts the best of all, it only needs to be hosed off.
Boilers and furnaces should be replaced, especially if they were submerged into flood waters. Now, you need to know if you don’t have the time or money to shop for and replace your boiler or furnace, you may be able to pay your contractor to repair it for you. Your restored boiler or furnace should work fine for 6 months and can last up to 2 years. Be careful, however, you want to replace this as soon as possible, because salt water’s corrosive properties will erode the functionality of your boiler/furnace. The good news? You can negotiate a stronger price in the warmer months as you get it replaced.
Finally, your floors. Keep your wet studs and floor joists. Unless they’re damaged or warped, they’ll swell when wet, but retain their shape if you allow them to dry naturally. Hardwood floors that can be saved are cost effective; remove, wash and stack them to dry naturally. Remove flooring that is glued in place and floating vinyl flooring; they can trap water, which further compounds the damage. (If you can remove the vinyl flooring without damage, you can save it and replace it once everything is dried.)Buckled flooring should be removed and allowed to sit for a week, after which you can replace or repair it, then treat it with polyurethane.
Cabinetry can also be dried. Make sure to empty out draws and pull them out so they can make contact with the air.
Freshly circulating air is the key to repairing your home appropriately after a flood, especially when you plan to preserve and keep some of your current flooring, walls and surface materials. With the help of your local licensed contractor, create ventilation systems that help circulate fresh air throughout the home, allowing surfaces and materials to dry properly so you can repair your home properly. Don’t forget to disinfect and clean your surfaces. Scrub your floors, walls and surfaces with household detergent, followed by a solution of 1/4 cup bleach to 1 quart water. If you’re cleaning woodwork, use a phosphate cleaning solution, which is usually available in hardware stores.