real estate

7 tips to renovating after a natural disaster

From the outside: Windows and exterior walls
From the outside: Windows and exterior walls

After a storm, there may be significant damage to your windows and exterior walls. Not just from flying debris and tree limbs, but also from water and wind.

Most important is to ensure each window is installed, taped and sealed correctly, Ellis says. "If they're not taped correctly, the moisture gets behind the siding."

While any acceptable window should work for replacement, to be extra cautious, consider hurricane-rated or wind-rated windows and doors, says McCurdy. These are required in some of Florida's coastal areas. Know that all your new windows will also need to be installed according to city code.

Once you have the windows taken care of, look toward the exterior of the house. McCurdy says solid brick exteriors usually hold up well, though some people waterproof the bricks for extra protection. Brick isn't usually the choice for coastal homes, so what should people living in those areas use when remodeling?

You want something that isn't easily affected by wind, McCurdy says. Materials such as vinyl siding can be torn off easily and should be avoided if possible. A better bet would be using stucco or a product called HardiePlank, which offers siding specific to your climate and location. Exterior paint can also help divert wind-driven rain.

If constructed and maintained well, the exterior walls should withstand the rain.


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