Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

Were You Impacted by the Heavy Winds on Long Island?

Posted on Mon, May 10, 2010 @ 11:18 AM

 

Strong winds hit the New York area this weekend, causing property damage to some homes and businesses throughout parts of Long Island.

Falling trees and limbs cause hundreds of millions of dollars of damage each year, as well as personal injuries and deaths. Windstorms and ice storms are leading causes of such damage and injuries.

Tree-related damage is usually apparent. Limbs crashing through a roof or onto automobiles or power lines are hard to miss. Sometimes the damage is so severe that entire homes are destroyed. This is especially likely to happen when large trees are torn out of the ground and topple onto a house, crashing through the structure or knocking it off its foundation.

Some trees are also notorious for aggressively sending out roots that can damage the foundation of a house, buckle sidewalks or plug up septic systems, forcing homeowners to spend thousands of dollars for repairs.

The kinds of trees in a yard, their proximity to a house and the care they receive all affect safety and the potential for damage or personal injury.

Some potential problems are easy to spot. These include:

-Cracks in the trunk or major limbs.
-Hollow and decayed trees.
-Trees that look one-sided or lean significantly.
-Branches hanging over the house near the roof.
-Limbs in contact with power lines.
-Mushrooms growing from the bark, indicating a decayed or weakened stem.
-V-shaped forks rather than U-shaped ones. V-shaped are more likely to split.
-Crossing branches that rub or interfere with one other.

Tree care professionals, including arborists, can also examine trees for more subtle signs of trouble and take care of any problems, such as the need to cut down a tree or prune limbs that might be too big, too high, or too dangerous for a homeowner to take down. Arborists can also help save trees and limbs.

Homeowners, though, represent the first line of defense. Regularly examine trees and check for damage or other trouble signs and take corrective action if necessary, either on your own or with the help of an expert.

Proper pruning
Good pruning can prevent many problems. Prompt removal of diseased, damaged or dead plant parts helps limit the spread of harmful insects and disease, as well as reduce the possibility of future storm damage. Pruning can also have other benefits. For instance, pruning a dense canopy reduces its mass while permitting better air circulation and sunlight penetration. Pruning also helps provide proper shape and improves the health and vigor of the plant.  Do not over prune, a practice called hat racking, as this will significantly weaken a tree.


Experts offer these pruning tips:

  • Check local tree regulations prior to pruning or tree removal.
  • Avoid pruning branches flush to the trunk. Doing so removes not only the limb but some of the trunk wood, opening the plant to possible decay or insect damage.
  • Begin by making a cut partway through the bottom of any limb to be trimmed, a few inches from the trunk. Then cut through the limb just above the first cut. This ensures that when the limb falls, it will not tear off a long strip of bark on the way down.
  • Finish by cutting off the few inches sticking out from the trunk. Be sure to leave the "branch collar," the swollen area of trunk tissue that forms around the base of a branch. Leaving the branch collar protects the main trunk from damage.


After a Storm
The type of care you give after a storm should depend on a tree's age, the extent and type of damage. 

To care for storm damaged trees:

  • Plan ahead before deciding what to do with fallen trees. 
  • In general, it is best to reset only smaller trees, since large trees will be weakened and may fall again.
  • Decide what to do with tree stumps. 
  • If you are going to leave them, cut them off flush with the ground. 
  • If you plan to remove them, leave four feet of stump standing. 
  • Removal will be cheaper and easier if stumps can be pulled out instead of dug out.
  • Cut off broken or torn limbs to avoid unnecessary bark stripping.
  • When straightened, uprooted trees will require bracing for a long time. 
  • Before you reset a tree, cut, smooth and paint all jagged and irregular root breaks. 
  • Water the tree well and fertilize. 
  • Do not remove guy wires or braces for two years.
  • After repairing trees, continue to care for them.  Check soil moisture regularly.  
  • Prune a damaged tree just enough to balance the loss of roots. 
  • Cut out broken, diseased and malformed branches to give the tree a desirable shape.

If you have property damage to your home or business and need assistance, please contact Advanced Restoration's staff at (800) 693-6263. Advanced Restoration Corporation serves Nassau and Suffolk County, and the New York Metro area.  

Tags: wind damage, nassau county restoration, disaster kleenup, advanced restoration corporation, emergency service, disaster restoration, home repair, catastrophe

Long Island After the Storms: Replacing Damaged Building Materials

Posted on Sun, Apr 25, 2010 @ 04:29 PM

 

We have received hundreds of calls from people all over Long Island telling us they had and in some cases still have, water in their basement due to groundwater.  As in most cases, it was not covered by their insurance company.  Which means you have either cleaned it up yourself or paid a company like Advanced Restoration Corporation to mitigate the water damage for you. 

The basement is now cleaned up and dried.  But that brings up the million dollar question......what do you do with the basement now?  If it was a finished basement that you used as living space and/or work space, how do you rebuild?  Or do you leave it unfinished now not wanting to take on the un-budgeted expense of the reconstruction in the off chance of having to go through it all over again if we are hit with another series of severe storms.  That is a choice every Long Island homeowner who was affected by these recent storms has to make.  For the sake of this blog, we are going to assume that you have decided to go through with the reconstruction. 

Let me start by stating that building materials can get wet.  Sheetrock, carpet, and paint are all made with water at some point during their production processes.  Usually after the materials are dried they are stronger and more durable than before they were wet.  Wood can get wet.  The lumber yards are exactly that.  Yards.  Giant lots of land used to store building materials before they are sold and used to construct homes and buildings.  They are not called lumber garages.    Chances are the studs that make up your house had been wet numerous times before the builder used them to frame your home. 

It is not a question of if something gets wet is it unsalvageable.  It is a question of how quickly you react when building materials do get wet. The faster the action the greater the chances of salvaging ALL the affected building materials.

There is something you can do that not many people have caught on to yet and none of the professionals on TV talk about just because they have yet to go through the experience of having their home saturated by water.  You can rebuild with building materials that can withstand an intrusion of water. 

Of course it is a bit more expensive to rebuild with this in mind and every homeowner is going to have see what works best for their budget and quality of life.  But here are some things to think about when rebuilding your basement:

Install ceramic tile as your flooring.  Carpet can get wet and be salvaged if dried timely and professionally, vinyl does not absorb the water but traps it underneath so that demolition is inevitable, the same with any type of wood flooring that would have to have a vapor barrier installed underneath  The best choice to finish a floor in a basement short of polishing the concrete is ceramic tile.  It is not a porous material so it does not absorb moisture and mold will not grow on the ceramic.  (Mold will grow on the dirt that is on the ceramic tile but will not start eating the tile away like it would on a porous material like sheetrock or carpet.)  And the grout allows the water vapor to escape from underneath the tile in the drying process.  Put an area rug on top of the tile that is much easier to remove and have cleaned that typical wall to wall carpeting.  

Do not use ANY vinyl.  I know vinyl makes it very easy to clean and keep on top off but it is the worst material (short of asbestos) to use as a finished building material.  Anything that vinyl covers that gets wet 99.9% of the time has to be removed.  Vinyl acts as a vapor barrier that traps the moisture behind it and does not allow the building materials to dry.  Which causes mold growth and usually increases the dollar value of the project.  Use standard wood base trim or carpet cove base.  They can both allow the walls to be dried in place or they both can be easily detached and reset once the drying process is over.

Use Concrete Board for the lower walls.  Do not install regular gypsum drywall on the lower walls.  Use concrete board that builders use in bathrooms to protect against moisture in the shower / tub areas.  They come in 4' x 8' sheets.  Just turn them on their side and install them on the lower 4' of the basement walls.  The great value of cement board is does not rot, warp, grow mold, or deteriorate, when subjected to water.

* If you decide that you are going to install standard drywall on the lower walls please make sure that the sheetrock is elevated 1/2" to 3/4" off the ground and is not sitting directly on the concrete.  If the drywall is resting directly on the concrete floor you will always have a transference of moisture from the concrete to to the dryer sheetrock which eventually will turn into a long term mold problem.  See the picture below. 


Use Only Flat Paint.  Any semi-gloss, high gloss or even eggshell finishes creates a vapor barrier that does not allow the materials behind it to dry naturally in the event of an intrusion.

Use American Clay Earth Plasters as your wall finishes American Clay Earth Plasters are a natural, environmentally friendly way to finish any interior. Non-toxic and made in the USA, these plasters are an alternative to cement, acrylic and lime plasters, offering superior color, richness, texture and depth not found with other finishes.  They also help control the inside ambient temperatures in the room(s0 it is installed on the walls.  They absorb excess moisture in the warmer months and release moisture n the environment during the colder dryer months.  This also gives it the ability to permit the drying of the building materials it is installed over.  

If you are in the Long Island and New York City areas and have any questions and/or need any assistance in dealing with your property damage claim please do not hesitate to contact Advanced Restoration Corporation.  We are Disaster Kleenup International (DKI) Member company.  DKI has over 150 member companies located throughout the United States.  Click here to find one in your area.

 

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