Repairing and Rebuilding after Hurricane or Fire Damage: Building Back Stronger Than Before

2017 will make the history books in terms of property damage and destruction across the country. As a national company, our branches, our customers, and our employees are all located in areas affected by these tragic events, and our hearts are with everyone impacted.

As home and property owners try to reassemble their lives, resources like contractors and building materials will be limited. Those who can may decide to do the work themselves, and those who cannot will do their best to work with the most trustworthy contractors they can find.

For homes and businesses needing hurricane damage repair, when you begin the rebuilding process, it is extremely important to make sure everything going back into your structure is dry and free of unwanted bacterial or microbial contaminants. This includes your insulation. Closing up damp materials in your wall promotes biological growth, such as mold or mildew, and causes rot, degradation, and an environment that can be hazardous to your health.

Fibrous water damaged insulation like fiberglass, cellulose, and mineral wool should be replaced with clean, dry material after the wall is completely dry. If you have rigid foam board in your walls, be sure to remove it to allow the walls to dry and determine if the board can be reused or should be replaced.

Many homeowners in hot, humid areas have spray foam in their homes. The foam will either be open cell or closed cell. For homes with open cell spray foam in the walls, it will need to be removed to allow the walls to dry because this material is much like a sponge. For structures with closed cell spray foam, the foam may have helped negate the need for water damage repair more than you previously thought.

Closed cell foam is the only FEMA-approved insulation product that can be submerged underwater for up to 72 hours without requiring removal. This, however, does not mean a thorough inspection shouldn’t be done. If the foam has separated from the framing members or allowed water to fill in around it, it will need to be removed. Conversely, if the foam has prevented the water from absorbing into the wall or floor assembly, it could be in good condition.

If you are unsure which kind of spray foam you have, you can contact us here at IDI or ask your local contractor.

Many of the foamed houses in coastal hurricane areas have closed cell foam because the product does an amazing job of holding a structure together in a wind event. A study done by the National Association of Home Builders in 1992 showed that closed cell foam in the walls of a home can increase the racking strength up to 300%.

For structures devastated by fire in the west and throughout the country, severely damaged structures will obviously need to be torn down and rebuilt rather than undergoing extensive fire damage repair. What many don’t realize, however, is that structures with minimal damage — and even those with no visible damage — can be ravaged by smoke to the point they cannot be used.

As smoke fills a structure, it rises. Even more, most structures have venting of some kind in their attic. Therefore, the insulation in your attic will be enveloped in smoke and filtering it throughout the event, and it will need to be replaced for the smell to go away.

If you own property where this has happened, you need to make sure replacing your smoke damaged insulation is part of your insurance claim.

As a building material supplier, we at IDI will do our best to meet the needs of every contractor, building owner, and homeowner we can. We will increase our inventory as necessary, and our teams will use every means available to get materials where they are needed as quickly as possible.

If you have questions on FEMA or flood zone insulations or coatings recommended for use in your area, we are ready to help. Additionally, for those who need a reputable insulation contractor, IDI knows and supplies the best in the business whether you need wind, water, fire, or smoke damage repair services. Please feel free to contact us here or give us a call anytime at 1-888-843-1318.