By Stephen Rone
After two decades in restoration, the most common hurricane damage I see after flooding involves water getting under the roof after winds damage the tiles and panels. It can cause structural damage, and unless the attic or crawlspace is sealed off somehow, the water can wreck every room underneath.
In almost every case, my storm damage restoration teams have to replace the insulation. The rainwater that blows in compacts both blown-in and batted insulation, making to useless to help control the internal temperature of a home.
We remove the blown-in type with a commercial grade vacuum pump and hose, but since it is soaked, a second person is needed with a small rake or hoe to break up the larger clumps. Batted insulation can be rolled up and removed, but the rain-soaked material is weighty and requires several people to safely pick it up and lower to the ground for disposal.
Even if the water does not immediately penetrate to the rooms below, the heavier insulation puts stress on the ceiling beneath it. Since it rests on the panels, the insulation can crack the plywood sheets and the drywall or other ceiling material underneath them. Once they crack, water drips from the insulation to inside the house.
What we prefer to do is remove every piece that has taken on water. At a few homes, the owner wanted to save as much of the original building material as possible. It takes extra time and labor costs to do this, but some ceiling tiles are salvageable. Drywall and plywood crumbles and warps quickly, so it is never cost-effective to attempt it.
As members of my teams perform these tasks, one of my inspectors and myself check the roof supports for damage. We do not often find severe damage to central support beams, but many of the smaller beams often need repair. A regular item I find in attics is that the joint brackets shift and become loose due to the beating they take from hurricanes and other storms. Tightening down or replacing several is normal after an event like Irma.
Restoring a home after a hurricane is not a quick or simple task. If you are still dealing with the aftereffects, call a licensed restoration company today.
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