Ten tips for rebuilding after the storm

May 17, 2009

Simonton Windows

PARKERSBURG WV – Whether you’re looking at replacing a few roofing shingles or your entire home after a hurricane or severe storm, the process of rebuilding can be intimidating. Experts at Simonton Windows, manufacturers of impact-resistant Simonton StormBreaker™ Plus windows and doors, offer these tips for homeowners faced with the challenge of rebuilding:

Tip #1 – Take pictures of your damaged home immediately after the storm and contact your insurance company. Leave your home “as is” until your insurance representative visits and assesses the damage. They’ll tell you when you can start cleaning up and rebuilding. As part of the rebuilding process, make a home disaster kit for the future. Include inside a water-tight container a disposable camera, tarps, bungie cords, duct tape, waterproof markers, heavy plastic garbage bags, copies of insurance papers and other items that can help secure your home and personal items immediately after a storm.

Tip #2 – Get contractor references and written job quotes before selecting your contractor. While the temptation to “get back to normal quickly” may be great, do not jump at the first contractor who offers his services. Beware of “door-to-door” contractors. Make certain the contractor you hire is licensed in your state and has a staggered payment plan for services so that you don’t complete payment until the project is done. Check with your insurance company to determine their requirements and involvement before you start rebuilding. And, if you feel you’ve been “gouged” by a contractor, report this immediately to state officials.

Tip #3 – Check your local building codes. Even if your home is just a few years old, codes in the southeast change rapidly. The window or roof that was in your home just a few days ago may no longer meet current codes. It’s not simply a matter of reconstructing the home you had. The law requires you and your contractor to abide by current codes when rebuilding after the storm. Visit www.statelocalgov.net or www.ibhs.org/building_codes for more information.

Tip #4 – Research storm-enhanced building products. Take this opportunity to “upgrade” the building products in your home to secure it from future storms. Investigate building products that offer protection from storms, such as impact-resistant hurricane windows. Using these enhanced products may even lower your insurance rates in the future because you’re going “above and beyond” to create a storm-safe home. Visit www.simonton.com for information on impact-resistant windows featuring tempered and laminated glass with a thick, plastic interlayer. Much like a car windshield, this glass resists puncturing during severe storms.

Tip #5 – Plan for future storms by requesting your contractor to use additional foundation reinforcements. Wall framing-to-floor systems should include anchor bolts or connectors tying the wall framing to the foundation. These connections will help the walls resist wind uplift forces as well as wind shear forces that try to push the walls over.

Tip #6 – Select exterior products that withstand the challenges of coastal living. For example, urethane moulding, millwork, door and entrance trim all resist salt air, humidity, sea spray, termites, warping and rotting. These products will long outlast wood trim on a home and require minimal upkeep. Visit www.fyponinc.com for more information. And, when considering windows, remember that vinyl-framed Simonton StormBreaker Plus windows with Dade County approval and featuring impact resistant glass, are perfect for rebuilding.

Tip #7 – Choose energy-efficient products that can save on your long-term heating and cooling bills. Go the extra step by ordering building products that meet ENERGY STAR™ guidelines in your area. Select windows with vinyl frames, which is an excellent insulator. And, when thinking about the glass in your windows, think about lowering your monthly energy bills by specifying windows with double-pane Insulated Glass Units featuring argon-filled Low E glass. Visit www.ENERGYSTAR.gov for more details.

Tip #8 – Build a safe room. Use your rebuilding opportunity to create a “safe room” inside the home that is specially reinforced to withstand severe weather and serve as a safe haven during storms. Consult Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your Home, published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Contact FEMA at (888) 565-3896 or visit www.fema.gov for more information.

Tip #9 – Before rebuilding, pay special attention to the roof, windows, doors and garage doors you select. These are the four critical areas of your home that can receive the most damage during severe storms. And, once penetrated, these areas can cause wind to enter the home and collapse the structure. For comprehensive information about keeping your home safe, visit http://www.blueprintforsafety.org/.

Tip #10 – Ask questions and save paperwork. Don’t rush through any building decisions. Check out all products carefully and inspect warranties. Save receipts, product information and warranties in a secure location for the future.

For more tips on rebuilding and living in coastal areas, call 1-800-SIMONTON for the free eight-page brochure, “Making the Most of Life on the Coast.”Headquartered in Parkersburg, W.Va., Simonton has manufacturing facilities in Pennsboro, Harrisville and Ellenboro, W.Va.; Paris, Ill.; Bradenton, Fla.; McAlester, Okla. and Vacaville, Calif. Founded in 1946, Simonton Windows’ hallmarks include superior quality products, outstanding customer service and delivery of “made-to-order” standard vinyl replacement or new construction windows in seven days or less under normal business conditions. Simonton StormBreaker Plus products require additional manufacturing time. For more information on Simonton Windows, call (800) SIMONTON or visit www.simonton.com on the Internet.