Redefining Restoration

What to Do If Your Home is Damaged in a Natural Disaster

Experiencing home damage from a natural disaster, no matter how big or small, can cause immense emotional and financial strain on homeowners. This type of damage often happens suddenly and if a plan of action hasn’t been put into place, homeowners are at risk of making crucial missteps in getting the repairs they need. Every homeowner should prioritize a plan in case of storm damage. Here are immediate actions you should take after a natural disaster strikes your home.

What to Do If Your Home Is Damaged in a Disaster
Contact Your Insurance Agent

The very first thing you should do is соntасt your insurance agent or company. This should be done as soon as possible after your home has been damaged. Whenever you communicate in any way with a representative from your іnѕurаnсе соmраnу, keep a log of when you spoke, what you spoke about, and the outcomes from those conversations. Is someone going to come inspect the damage? Do you need to provide documentation? When will your agent follow-up? These questions are examples of pertinent information needed while you begin filing your claim.

Choose a Trusted Contractor

As part of your emergency plan, have a trusted contractor chosen prior to any home damage. Seek out a contractor that is qualified in the insurance claims process and can help walk you through your policy. Once an insurance company determines a fair price to fix the damage, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to find a contractor. This makes finding a reputable company prior to a disaster that much more important. After you make the call to your insurance agent, have a reliable restoration company survey the damage and deliver a detailed quote prior to the insurance claims adjuster’s visit. Doing this can move the entire process along faster, and get you and your loved ones back into a fully restored, pre-loss condition home sooner rather than later!

Contact Your Mortgage Servicer

Unfortunately, damage to your home does not stop your responsibility to pay your mortgage. Contact your mortgage agent as soon as possible, and discuss your situation. There may be a number of options available that could help you temporarily suspend or reduce your mortgage payments.

Take Pictures of the Damage

Just as you should document your conversations with your insurance and mortgage companies, you need to visually document the extent of the damage. These pictures may come in handy when acquiring the full funding needed to restore your home to its original condition, or when dealing with your mortgage provider. In a time of crisis, your memory may fail you, so photographs of the damage could be essential evidence when filing your claim and covering anything you may have missed during conversations with your insurance company.

Home damage due to flooding, hail, wind, or other natural disasters will never be a positive experience, however having an action plan in place can ease the hassle of getting your home back to original condition. Contact us today and we’ll help you develop a disaster action plan as your trusted contractor!

5 Issues Homeowners Encounter When Restoring Older Homes

The charm and aesthetic of older homes has drawn many buyers to consider restoration projects instead of new builds in recent years. However, the hidden issues and costs associated with these types of restorations can become overwhelming for buyers choosing to tackle this endeavor themselves.

While more cosmetic projects, like painting, are usually a task any amateur can accomplish, owners of older homes should be wary of some issues that require professional contractors. DIYers should be on the lookout for these five common problems when restoring their older homes.Common Problems With Older Home Restoration

Outdated Plumbing

New sink and bathroom installations are a normal undertaking when restoring older homes. However, the age and condition of the current plumbing needs to be assessed before new fixtures are put in place. Water spots on the ceiling and walls are major indicators of plumbing problems (and can also be a sign of a leaking roof). If ignored, bad plumbing can result in a flooded house and cause severe water damage. Homeowners should look for outward signs of outdated plumbing, but should also inquire about pipe material prior to purchase. Brass and copper piping can last 50 plus years, while steel usually only lasts 20 years.

Unsafe Electrical

Not only do older homes already contain far fewer outlets than a modern lifestyle demands, they can also harbor dangerous electrical wiring issues. Insulation that has worn away over the years can cause exposed electrical, which is not something inexperienced homeowners should attempt to fix themselves because the chance of electrical shock is high. If left ignored and unattended, the exposed electrical wires can spark a devastating fire or home power outage.

Toxic Materials

If the home was built prior to 1978, it is essential homeowners check for both asbestos and lead-based paint. Both can be extremely harmful and need to be removed to ensure the health of those living in the home. Asbestos can be found in insulation, floor tiles, and plaster. Due to the health-related risks of its removal, asbestos is now covered and contained with specific materials instead of being extracted from the home. Lead-based paint is crucial to be aware of, but can be covered with several coats of regular paint. Be careful of ingesting paint dust or flakes by wearing painting masks and keep children away from the affected areas until properly covered!

Mold Damage

Mold can present anything from a very minor inconvenience to a huge, costly endeavor. Visible mold on walls, floors, and cabinets should be inspected properly. It is typical for an aging house to have cosmetic mildew damage over time which can be fixed through normal demolition and restoration. Extensive mold damage, on the other hand, will halt a restoration timeline and requires professional removal. The health risks involved with ignoring black mold are not worth saving time or money.

Foundation and Structural Issues

Slight foundational cracks are common in older homes and are usually a quick and inexpensive fix. However, major structural issues require immediate attention. Before buying a home that has visible foundation damage, doors and windows that don’t close or latch properly, or uneven floors, homeowners should have a contractor assess the extent and cost of foundational issues. Factor in foundation problems into a restoration project sooner than later, as it can put all other work put into the home at risk.

Despite all of these common issues, restoring an old home is not all doom and gloom. Restoration projects are growing in popularity in Indianapolis, and for good reason! Preserving classic details and architecture creates a unique space for homeowners and upholds the character of historic neighborhoods. Contact us today and we can provide you the help you need to plan and execute the restoration of your dream home!

Getting Your Home Summer Ready

Who’s ready for summer? Whether you’re grilling out or relaxing inside, make sure your home is as ready as you are for warm weather recreation. We’ve got a list of DIY tips to get started.

 Exterior Home Improvement

Cleaning Gutters Made Easy

This essential chore is often ignored, but keeping your gutters clean offers several advantages – it keeps your siding in great shape, protects your lawn and landscaping, and prevents your home from suffering (potentially thousands of dollars worth of) water damage.

The reason many folks fail to clean their gutters is simple – they make the job too hard. Do this instead:

  1. Use a quality, extendable ladder – and watch out for power lines!
  2. Grab a gutter scoop or a toy beach shovel to scrape out debris.
  3. Drop debris onto a tarp below instead of the bare grass.
  4. Rinse out your gutters and downspouts with a garden hose.

Boom, you’re done! If you don’t mind spending the extra money, check your home improvement store for speciality hose attachments that reach up to your gutters without the need for a ladder. You can also invest in quality gutter guards to help keep things free from leaves and other debris.

Power Wash Your Deck

You may not own one, but renting a power washer is a worthwhile investment each spring – especially if you have a deck. Keeping all that wood clean will add years to your deck’s life. When using a power washer, always remember to protect your feet and eyes from those powerful water jets. Remove all items such as furniture and plants from your deck. When spraying, use a fan nozzle if possible, and set the washer on its lowest usable water pressure setting. Keep an eye on the wood … if it starts to splinter or the fibers begin to erode, you’re either spraying too close and/or using too much pressure. Spray in gentle, even motions and keep an eye on the color of the wood – lighter means cleaner.

When you’re all done, consider refinishing the wood with a good all-weather sealer and stain. Also, while you still have the washer, give your outdoor furniture and even your home’s siding and walkways a good spray down, too!

Keep Mosquitoes Away

What’s the most annoying way to kill a backyard barbeque? No, we’re not talking about your nosy neighbors. We mean mosquitoes. These whiny bloodsuckers have been around for millions of years – far longer than us – but we can’t get rid of them fast enough. If you don’t want to cover your family and pets with bug spray, try this simple DIY citronella candle recipe instead. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Glass jars
  • Wicks
  • Soy wax
  • Citronella oil
  • Duct tape and scissors
  • Crayons (optional)

Start by collecting a few glass jars. Mason jars, pickle jars, pasta sauce jars – it doesn’t matter as long as they are rinsed and dried out. Next, you’ll want to cut the wicks to match the height of the jars, and securely tape them to the inside bottom of the jar. Add wax (typically sold in bars and flakes) to a pot or pan and gently warm until melted. Once the wax liquefies, add a few drops of citronella oil (we like to use three or four drops per cup of wax). Stir the mixture. At this point, you can toss in a few crayons if you wish to add color to your candles. Carefully pour the wax into your jars, making sure to keep the wick as centered as possible. Let your candles cool and dry, then snip the tops of the wicks about an inch above the surface of the wax. Take outside, light, and enjoy a pest-free evening on your freshly cleaned deck!

We’ve Got Your Back All Year Long

The folks at Van Rooy Restoration in Indianapolis raise a glass to a fun summer. But, if scary weather should strike, we’re here to help. Learn more about our many disaster restoration services and home improvement solutions. Also, be sure to check out our blog archives for lots more tips to protect your family and your home from Mother Nature.

 

2017 Home Improvement Trends

Spring is just around the corner and it’s time to restore your home with the most current and up-to-date home improvements. So far in 2017, the new-and-improved home consists of low maintenance, energy-efficient, green-friendly utilities for enhancing everyday life. Are you looking for the latest trends in improving your home? Below we have three ways to modernize your home with the most time-saving, innovative home improvement technologies.

2017 Home Improvement Trends

Effectively Efficient

The world has formed into an accelerated, fast-moving society focused on efficiency, productivity and progression. Now, advancing technologies are enforcing these norms as automation takes over regular human activity. Recently, home improvement trends have centered around automatic, application-based technologies that are controlled by a smartphone or assistant database. For example, Google Home and Amazon Echo are both hands-free speakers that are controlled by your voice to complete specific tasks or actions. These actions include playing music, reporting news and controlling your home’s features such as lights, a thermostat and other electronics.

Going Green

Efficiency and “green” technology go hand-in-hand. Technological advances are centered around becoming energy efficient and eco-friendly, falling into the “green” category. All advances in society are focused on being “right” for the environment. Home improvement trends have transitioned to solar power and producing energy through alternate sources. For example, LED lighting lasts longer and uses less energy than normal fluorescent lights. Many technologies are also ran by solar energy or are attached to solar panels to produce energy in other channels.

Low-Maintenance Living

On top of being eco-friendly and efficient, living a low-maintenance lifestyle is another recent societal norm. Technological advances focus on efficient but low-maintenance, “green” products, implying as little human interaction and effort as possible. These changes are happening within recent home improvements. Home offices are no longer in the office sitting and instead, are in the living room for “working from home” purposes, laundry rooms are becoming the largest room in the house to include as much space as possible, and storage units in homes are becoming larger and more compact. All of which makes life easier, for less maintenance and effort for everyday actions.

Now that spring is almost here, be sure to monitor the latest home improvement trends to keep your home innovative and modern. Whether you’re goal is to add energy-efficient home applications, include green-friendly technologies or incorporate a low-maintenance living style to your home, Van Rooy Restoration can help with all restoration, remodeling, or renovation needs. Call the pros at Van Rooy today and stay on top of 2017’s home improvement trends!

 

Staying Up-to-Date During an Emergency

Thinking about disasters tends to put folks in “defense” mode. When we imagine a major storm sweeping through our community, we only think about protecting what’s ours. That is human nature.

Stop for a moment though and think bigger picture. If a disaster strikes, what will you do if you are separated from loved ones? What if an evacuation is ordered? What if power and communication is lost? What if your home is completely destroyed?

Questions like these remind us why staying connected with your larger community in an emergency is so important.

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Emergency Alerts

You know the sound; that sharp, shrill, nails-on-chalkboard sound. Emergency Alert System (EAS) notifications sure can be annoying, but they save lives. These public alerts are designed to notify the community with imminent emergency information. EAS messages are delivered on TV, over the radio, and even through your smartphone.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are a relatively new way to get that information out to the public. They look like text messages, but alert users with a unique sound and vibration. If you have ever received an AMBER alert on your smartphone, this is an example of a WEA. Learn more and find out how to activate WEAs on your device.

Emergency Shelters

If your home is damaged or inaccessible during an emergency, help is out there. The American Red Cross operates quick-response shelters whenever and wherever disasters strike. Open shelters are searchable on an online database from the Red Cross National Shelter System, with information updated every 30 minutes.

Some people prefer to have storm shelters a little bit closer to home. For that reason, there are many American companies that specialize in building private shelters and safe rooms for customers. These family-sized units can be installed in the basement or buried in the backyard. The National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) maintains a catalog of builders, and provides a lot of helpful consumer information on its website.

Plan, Survive, Recover

Few thoughts are as frightening as losing your home – or worse – in a disaster. Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to protect it all. Plan ahead by reading articles and finding tips on our blog, know what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency, and remember that material possessions are replaceable.

If your home is damaged during a disaster, we can help. Learn more about our restoration services on our website, and contact us if you have questions about any of our services. At Van Rooy Restoration, we are with you every step of the way.