real estate

7 tips to renovating after a natural disaster

Toughen up interior walls
Toughen up interior walls

If your home sustained water damage in a disaster, know that floodwater can carry contaminants, says Ellis. Not only do the affected materials need to be removed down to the framing, "The materials need to be deodorized, and you'll need to get an antimicrobial to kill the microbes."

For basements and areas where future water damage is possible, it's worth installing water-resistant materials. After taking on several feet of water in his basement after a storm, Boston homeowner David Bees replaced the fiberglass wall insulation, "which soaked up water like a sponge," with foam board made of extruded polystyrene, available at home improvement stores.

He replaced the drywall with cement board. "It's thin like drywall but held together with mesh imprinted into it. It won't absorb moisture like drywall, which has paper backing and is organic. There's nothing organic that could grow mold on the cement board," he says. McCurdy adds that while these types of materials are resistant to water and mold, everything has a time limit when it comes to water and mold damage.

For the baseboards, Bees used a polyvinyl chloride-based board, avoiding wood trim. "If it gets wet again, I might lose the carpet, but not the walls," he says. Bees finished it off with a waterproof paint.


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