Three weeks ago, I was asked to look at homes in Rockaway Park NY damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Beyond my surprise of the duct tape I spoke of in my recent blog, I discovered something else in the wake of the storm – a complete lack of education, not only from a damage assessment standpoint from industry peers, but from a damage remediation perspective from those rebuilding. There’s so much more that I offer to those affected here with my unique qualifications of prior storm assessments and expertise in hundreds of building product evaluations.
My work to help the cause led me to needs in Point Pleasant, NJ and surrounding areas where I was invited to tour the many affected neighborhoods here. There was damage everywhere, and not just the kind like the houses we all saw on TV with sand filled, half missing garages and shifted foundations. There’s damage in the little things up here. From the roofs through siding to windows and doors, and down into the framing components and into foundations. Hurricane Sandy left her indelible mark in some form almost everywhere in her path.
I spent last week educating residents, adjusters, attorneys, and inspectors about what really happened up north. Sandy spent over 16 hours here oscillating building envelopes, sending driving rain into areas not meant for the salty, sandy water, and gusted wind that dislodging roofing shingles, siding, and window components that stares at expert like me but remains hidden to those up here not experienced to know what to look for.
I returned to South Florida to go over the photographs and review the data with my expert team. There was no doubt about it. What residents don’t see now they will begin to take notice after the freezing weather expands water trapped in areas once sealed before the storm, and the summer heat and humidity turns those conditions around. Salt will erode window components exponentially faster than before the storm and begin to affect their operation. Insulated glass units once providing thermal protection will now take on condensation due to pressurization beyond their design limits. I saw clear signs of vinyl siding frames that have rotated and are no longer welded together at the seams, and nails in the window fins that are pulled, twisted, and are now rusting.
I could go on and on about so many secondary and latent issues I’m seeing, like product warranties that are now void, insulation that’s now wet and won’t perform as it was intended. Like all the wood that was saturated for days that no longer has the strength it once did and the nails that won’t hold like they used to. These critical yet missed issues make the ‘mildly’ affected houses sitting ducks for the next storm of equal or lesser magnitude that comes the way of Sandy.
I’m back in New Jersey again this week getting ready for a third round of damage assessment inspections this time in Bay Head NJ, an area I heard got hit even worse than areas like Long Branch I inspected yesterday.