Storm Recovery: When to DIY, and When to Hire a Pro

The Hurricane Michael recovery effort is well underway with residents returning to their homes.

But often, after severe storms, people aren’t sure where to begin, or whom to call for help.

Here, we’ll talk about the hurricane recovery process, focusing on what homeowners can safely do themselves, and which projects require professional help.

Cleaning Pickup
Remove all debris from the home. (FatCamera/Getty Images Signature)

1. Start the Cleanup Process

First, remove all wet items from the home and begin the drying-out process. Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove water; then run fans and dehumidifiers and open all windows.

Next, remove any wet or compromised drywall in the home and clear debris on the roof and in gutters, downspouts and surface drains.
Then get temporary fixes in place. These include covering a storm-damaged roof with a tarp, and using a generator during power outages

Take precaution and protect covering to ensure your safety with the cleanup process. (Kindel Media/Pexels)

2. Take Precautions

Wear protective gear such as non-porous gloves and a mask (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend an N-95 respirator or greater). You’ll need to wear long sleeves, long pants and rubber boots to prevent skin contact.

Next, clean up mold, which can begin to form as early as 24 to 48 hours after flooding. Also, clean hard surfaces with hot water and bleach — but don’t mix bleach with another cleaner.
Finally, spray remaining surfaces with an antimicrobial cleaner to prevent mold growth.

Contractor Gear
Seek out professional help if the damage is too severe. (Zolnierek/Getty Images)

3. Get Professional Help

If electrical outlets have been submerged, or if you see any other electrical damage, turn off power at the main breaker and call a professional to inspect your system.

If you smell gas, don’t mess around, or enter the home. Call someone from your local gas utility immediately and report a suspected leak.

If you see cracks in walls, or any type of damage to the home’s foundation, contact a structural engineer who routinely inspects residential structures.

Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford is among the country’s most sought-after home improvement experts.
The seasoned remodeling contractor and media personality served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s “The Early Show” and The Weather Channel for over a decade and has made more than 180 national television appearances on “Fox & Friends,” “Inside Edition,” “Morning Express with Robin Meade,” Fox Business Channel, Rachael Ray and more.
He travels the country making appearances as a brand ambassador and spokesperson, and each year contributes expertise to hundreds of popular magazines and online media outlets.

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