Recent General Posts
After the Storm: How to Check Your Property for Damage
The Importance of Conducting a Storm Damage Inspection
As summer ushers in warmer temperatures, it can also bring with it heavy rains, strong winds and powerful storms. While your home protects you from the wrath of Mother Nature, it should also be thoroughly checked for problems after every storm.
You may not have reason to suspect that your home has been damaged by a passing storm. However, once the inclement weather has safely passed, it’s important to look over the dwelling for any issues. This is also a great time to make emergency repairs and assess if an insurance claim is needed.
The following is a handy storm checklist from the National Storm Damage Center:
The roof is typically one of the most vulnerable areas during a storm. Hail, wind, rain and debris can adversely impact it. The following indicators can help in your assessment:
• Holes or tears in the roof
• Split seams
• Lost or missing shingles
• Ceiling or roof leaks
The Exterior of the Dwelling
Materials such as brick, siding and stucco are usually heavy and durable. However, during a storm, they can withstand significant damage. In some cases, problems may not be noticed until it’s too late to file an insurance claim, so you need to be diligent in your determination:
• Chipping, cracking, dents and dings are obvious signs that there is a problem. Even if your siding appears to be fine at first, you want to check it at varying times of the day. Different stages of lighting can showcase problems that you may have missed.
• Small or large holes in the stucco. No matter if the hole is small or large, this is a serious issue for a homeowner. If you find a hole or blemish, a knowledgeable and trustworthy company such as SERVPRO can conduct a thorough inspection of the property.
• Damaged tuck pointing and brick. Brick is a solid material when it comes to homes. However, it should be thoroughly checked for problems following a storm.
• Detached or ruined gutters, trim, downspouts, etc. Gutters, trim, downspouts and other exterior materials on a home are instrumental in its protection. If anything is out of sorts, it should be immediately repaired.
Driveways, Walkways, and Porches
Concrete can split, chip and crack with continuous storms and rain. This can reduce the lifespan of your walkway driveway or porch. To alleviate a safety issue, you’ll want to assess it for any imperfections.
Trees and Fallen Limbs
According to the National Storm Damage Center, fallen trees and branches can cause billions of dollars in damages every year. Most property owners would handle the removal of debris, even if the limbs or trees came from your neighbor’s property. Your insurance company may help in the retrieval of the costs, but it’s dependent on the type of policy and circumstances surrounding the incident.
• Severe storms may knock down power and electrical lines. If this occurs on your property, you’ll want to cordon off the area approximately 30 feet in various directions from the fallen line. It’s also important to call the power company and 911 immediately.
• After a storm, you also want to assess the remainder of your property including fences, air-conditioning units, caps, vents etc. If your vehicle was left out of the garage, it would also need to be checked over for damage.
• Crawl spaces and basements should be looked over for water or flooding.
Document as much of the damage as possible by taking photos at various angles.
Finally, it’s important to comprehend your homeowner’s coverage, limits, and deductibles before a problem occurs. In case something happens, you’ll be thoroughly prepared for any storm or disaster. Should you need any help with water or storm damage or clean-up call the professionals from SERVPRO of St. Augustine; (904) 829-0665.
DYI or call a Pro?
Many home repairs and improvement projects are simple enough to do yourself, but some require the special skills, expertise and tools of a professional. Attempting a task on your own may save you money but a botched repair can cost you more in the long run. Below is a list that can help you decide between doing it yourself and hiring a professional:
Painting walls is an easy DIY project that almost anyone with a steady hand can do. Before applying a coat of paint, fill in holes with spackling paste and use masking tape to protect exposed areas.
Repairing and cleaning wood or vinyl floors is a DIY job. Use adhesive to repair vinyl seams and a brown crayon to fill scratches in wood floors. However, consider a professional to install hardwood floors; a job that requires precise line up of planks. For floors that have been damaged by flooding or a house fire, always call a professional.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFLs and LEDs yourself. Installing outlet covers and switch plates is also a simple task. Unless you have the right expertise, hire a professional to install heavy fixtures, add new power outlets or for rewiring. Ignoring this advice can result in personal injuries or costly mistakes.
Easy projects you can do yourself include replacing faucet washers and toilet flappers, unclogging drains and installing new showerheads. Call a professional for moving or installing plumbing pipes and fixtures, to avoid the risk of extensive (and expensive) water damage.
With the necessary tools, you can install a backsplash and replace cracked tiles on your own. Hire a contractor to install tiles on large floors and walls. Always call a restoration professional if you suspect water damage or mold behind tile.
If you need an expensive tool that you will only use once, don't buy it! Rent it or hire a contractor who already owns that equipment. Remember that planning ahead and knowing your strengths and weaknesses are important elements in the success of a DIY project.
For water, fire, smoke and mold removal services, you can always count on a SERVPRO of St. Augustine. We available 24/7/365, (904) 829-0665.
Common Misconceptions about Mitigation and Restoration
Over the years, there has been an abundance of misconceptions and non-truths involving property damage and restoration procedures. Professional restoration companies are trained to see beyond the misconceptions and misinformation that often complicate a claim. If someone doesn’t act quickly enough or doesn’t take the right actions due to these misconceptions, they can end up with even more damage to deal with, that could have easily been avoided.
A SERVPRO of St. Augustine professional restoration technician will prioritize mitigation over restoration ensuring damage costs do not escalate. Mitigation is extremely time-critical, as it stops further damage and reduces additional loss. It usually needs to be performed within 24 hours or less. Any delay will further complicate or devalue the mitigation effort.
Restoration, on the other hand, puts the damaged items back to a pre-loss condition. It is less time-critical, but still important and should be done as quickly as possible.
Misconception #1: Replacing is less expensive than salvaging.
Cleaning is a mitigation process that has excellent results and is cost-effective - especially when compared to the cost of replacement. For instance, when smoke is not properly cleaned from delicate fabrics and surfaces, secondary damage can occur. Replacement is usually the only option. Hundreds of dollars of cleaning can become thousands of dollars of replacement due to delayed action. Today’s restoration professionals are able to effectively clean and remove contaminates, saving expensive replacement costs.
Misconception #2: If you get your carpets cleaned, they get dirty faster.
Techniques, equipment, and materials used in the past to clean carpets were inferior to those used by today’s professionals. In the past, inefficient carpet shampooing left a soap residue that attracted soil more rapidly than prior to cleaning. Restoration professionals now use a cleaning process that both flushes and rinses carpets, and prevents that from happening.
Misconception #3: Once the carpet is dry, that noisy equipment needs to be removed.
The greatest failure in restoring water-damaged structures is to remove the drying equipment before the drying is complete. Using the carpet or padding to determine dryness is a poor misrepresentation of whether the structure is dry or not (and one that is not easily defended if litigation follows). Carpet and padding dry quicker than other structural materials and are not an accurate gauge. The danger with ineffective drying is that it can turn a small loss from water damage into a multi-thousand dollar mold claim. SERVPRO of St. Augustine professionals use measuring equipment to determine if moisture content has been returned to normal standards. Meters and sensors are used to document and record the data that justifies the use of the equipment and the best time to remove it. That is extremely important to accomplish the end result - a totally dry structure.
Misconception #4: Once a structure has been damaged by fire, it will always smell like smoke. So why rush to clean it up?
Stories arise about smoke damage restoration efforts that have failed - usually because odor remains. Smoke odor and residue are the products of incomplete combustion. They are acidic and are far more damaging than ordinary dirt or dust. Prompt cleaning actions can reduce losses if this acid is removed or neutralized. Odor removal is more complicated than turning on one machine and hoping to achieve satisfactory results. Restoration for smoke odor has to be thorough. All contaminated areas need to be cleaned, deodorized, and sealed where applicable. It is important that all odor molecules are neutralized, either airborne or absorbed.
SERVPRO of St. Augustine professionals are the best assurance when it comes to mitigation and restoration. Due to their continuous technical training, they do not repeat the erroneous theories and mistakes of the past. Using the latest equipment and techniques, they make sure that the job is done correctly and completely - the first time. SERVPRO of The Beaches/Ponte Vedra restoration services are available 24/7, 365 days per year; they include water and flood damage cleanup, mold remediation, odor control, reconstruction services, trauma cleanup, and fire and smoke damage cleanup. Don’t wait another moment if your home has been devastated; call us today at 904-829-0665.