What Earthquake Aftermath Repairs Need A Professional?

Earthquakes can be devastating to homeowners.

Earthquakes can often strike with little or no warning. Even the best-built homes can sustain major damage during a quake despite any precautions a homeowner may have taken. Always be sure to have your home checked for safety before you attempt to re-enter your property. If you are a renter you should contact your landlord immediately for instruction. Your insurance company may send someone to inspect your home for damage free of charge. They will assess any and all damage to your home and give your further instructions. If your home is unsafe you should not attempt to enter under any circumstances. If it is safe to enter you should use caution when doing so. You may be tempted to do as many repairs as you can by yourself. However this can be a dangerous proposition if your home has sustained structural damage.

It may take your insurance company a while to get to your home. This often happens after earthquakes because they are overwhelmed with claims. There are temporary precautions that should be taken to protect your home until it can be repaired. In homes that have suffered structural damage you should leave these to a qualified repairperson. Windows should be boarded up and any holes in the roof should be temporarily protected from the elements.

The first things that should be repaired are ruptured gas lines, power wires, and water or sewer pipes. These may be the responsibility of the utility company. You should call them or consult with your contractor. A good contractor will know what they can repair and what should be left to the utility company. Any other repairs should wait until these matters are cleared up. All repairs pertaining to power, water, and gas should be handled by professionals.

Damage to the foundation or structural support of the home should be repair by a professional. The homeowner should not repair support beams and load-bearing walls. If these are damaged in any way, the house is in danger of falling down. If you attempt to repair these yourself you could cause your house to fall down on top of you. If they are improperly repaired they may hold for a while but will eventually crumble.

Large gapping holes in the walls or floors should be left to the contractor as well. These repairs can be dangerous and are often complicated. You do not want to run the risk of the floor falling out from beneath you at a later date. Large holes in walls may indicate damage to the electrical system that the average homeowner does not know how to repair.

If you are missing part of your roof you will need to have a roofer make repairs. If you simply have a few shingles missing this might be something you can handle yourself but only if you feel comfortable up on a roof when there is a danger of aftershocks. There are many issues to consider when repairing a roof including waterproofing and structural stability. If either of these is an issue do not attempt to fix the roof yourself.

If you are unsure about what you can or cannot do yourself you can go by this simple guideline. A willing homeowner can handle most simple cosmetic repairs. Anything else should be left to the contractor. If in doubt you should contact your insurance company. It is always better to be safe and allow the professionals to take care of your home, especially if your insurance company covers it.

Remember to choose your contractor carefully. Ask for recommendations and references before hiring any contractor or repairperson. Be wary of any contractor that may knock on your door offering assistance. There are many scams involving home improvement and repair. These scam artists may strike at the time of an earthquake when homeowners are feeling particularly vulnerable. Ask friends and family for recommendations, check with your local Better Business Bureau, and be involved with the planning and budgeting of all repairs.

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