Any general suggestions (materials, design, anything really) for NYC folks who are able to rebuild after Sandy?

Colette C
by Colette C
Specifically looking for tips for folks who will be working on their existing homes that are salvageable? Most are simply traumatized by this and I think part of it is knowing it *could* happen again. So what would you be sure to do/include?
  10 answers
  • Kathleen M Kathleen M on Nov 11, 2012
    I live down the shore, and I'm feeling that even through this terrible destruction there will be some good outcomes. My home was never insulated properly, and since so much of the interior walls will need to be removed I'm hoping to efficiently insulate every exterior wall. I also plan to get a good look at all the electrical wiring and update old cloth covered wires. Heating systems and appliances will be replaced with energy efficient models (I'll be sure to place the new AC unit on a tall pedestal). If I had the budget I would jack the whole home up a few feet, but that's just a pipe dream for now. Stay strong, and just treat this mess as any other remodeling project. Remember it will get worse before it gets better, but when it's done you forget the pain and your home might just be the better for it.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Nov 11, 2012
    This is a risk any coastal inhabitant will face. You need to look at the region with Mother Nature's scale of time. With a coast line that is millions of years old, the mere foibles of man in the last 200 years or so is insignificant. It is foolish to think that man can prevent barrier islands and such from changing and absorbing the energy produced in these storms. Barrier islands, estuaries, and beaches are dynamic living and changing things. To force them into man's rigid way of thinking is just a recipe of when...not if.

  • We people of the east coast must understand that there is really nothing one can do if a big storm such as this hits again. Following the methods of those who live on the gulf coast would be best served. As we must think, this was not even a cat 1 storm with a lot of rain. Think of those who live down south that get Cat 5 storms combined with heavy rains every few years. My only suggestion is to heed warnings of up coming storms, Minimize belongings that cannot be moved to higher grounds or away from the area if another storm hits. Most important thing to remember is no form of construction even cement block walls will withstand this type of weather occurrence. But raising HVAC systems to upper levels, kitchens as well may help preserve these appliances should your area flood again. But do not spend thousands of dollars on fancy wood trims that are difficult to remove or to replace. As once any storm hits again like this you will end up tearing out it all once again. When rebuilding, choose paint coatings that can be applied to wall framing that inhibits mold development. These coatings must be professionally applied. As they are not sold at your local paint store. Using Dens-Armor sheet rock that is fiberglass based and not paper faced will prevent mold growth if it gets wet. Does not crumble either. Use closed cell spray foam in walls that will not absorb moisture or allow for mold development. Choose flooring materials that can be easily removed and replaced fast. As the trick is to dry things as fast as you can. leaving things in place will destroy things much faster then you would think. Lastly remember, the dunes were not really man made. These were the result of other storms over many years and nature doing its own landscaping. If one thinks that simply replacing the sand to re-create them and expect them to survive another storm such as this will be sadly awaken to the fact that the waves will be hitting their house much faster then it did this time.

  • Here is some information on "wet flood-proofing" so when it happens again the damage is minimized:

  • Great information Brian, that one is now printed and in my library for future use.

  • Kathleen M Kathleen M on Nov 11, 2012
    I just want to point out that my home is not on the barrier island, and is miles west of the ocean and 3 1/2 blocks from the river. It was built in 1942 and had never been damaged by flood before.

  • @Kathleen M You bring up a good point. Places that have never flooded in living memory, that are not in a "flood plain" and far from a coast or river can flood. We got 17 inches of rain in my part of MN in just 24 hours several years ago and houses on top of hills flooded. My house was not in the recognized 100 year flood plain and it flooded. Given a long enough time frame and about every spot on earth will flood at one time or another.

  • Kathleen M Kathleen M on Nov 12, 2012
    Absolutely, Brian! New building codes should take these threats into consideration. Why not elevate all new homes to a safer level, and install HVAC systems out of harms way?

  • Kathleen M Kathleen M on Nov 12, 2012
    Flooding and wind is a risk we take living near the bay or ocean, I would never live on a barrier island... EVER . My father was a commercial fisherman with great respect for Mother Ocean, he always said " What She gives She always takes back and man is a fool to think otherwise." This storm has changed the barrier islands in ways we will not even realize for a while to come. In Manahawkin Bay/ Barnegat Bay and on up the coast every channel and sandbar will be different in some way . @Kathleen M you have my sympathies. I am dealing with damages from Sandy too but very blessed to have only had an inch or so get in. I hope your recovery is quick and that your community is helping each-other as much as mine is :)

  • This is almost a re-post of another reply from a previous thread I made but it applies here as well. Not everyone is a DIY'er and they will need help from the professional community. All contractors and sub-contractors on the job must be state licensed in New Jersey in their particular field; Plumber, Electrician, Builder, Remodeler/Home Improvement etc. Not sure about NY but call your local municipality to find out. Many times we get called in to correct something the "Remodeler/Home Improvement Contractor" did without the proper license or permit. They don't know the codes and rules of the other trades and always make mistakes. So don't let the carpenter do electric work; get the proper mechanic for the job at hand. There are many charlatans popping out of the woodwork during times like this. Before you hire someone to do or help you do work, always find out who they are, where they are from, what their licenses are and get their insurance information. Once you get it, don't assume it's correct or proper; charlatans lie. Check the license number on the state registry ( )and check out any references they give you. Do some online research on the company. Make sure they pull proper permits for ALL work. And DO pass this info on to your friends, family and neighbors. Be very wary, don't get fooled and don't get taken to the bank.