10 Tips for Rebuilding After Hurricane Irene

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Simonton Windows provides valuable tips and insights for homeowners who may be faced with rebuilding challenges after the devastating effects of Hurricane Irene.

Whether you’re looking at replacing a few roofing shingles or your entire home as a result of Hurricane Irene’s impact, the process of rebuilding can be intimidating. Experts at Simonton Windows®, manufacturers of impact-resistant Simonton StormBreaker Plus® windows and doors, offer these tips for homeowners faced with the challenge of rebuilding:

Tip #1 – Take pictures of your damaged home immediately after the storm and contact your insurance company. Leave your home “as is” until your insurance representative visits and assesses the damage. They’ll tell you when you can start cleaning up and rebuilding. As part of the rebuilding process, make a home disaster kit for the future. Inside a watertight container, include a disposable camera, tarps, bungee cords, duct tape, waterproof markers, heavy plastic garbage bags, copies of insurance papers and other items that can help secure your home and personal items immediately after a storm.

Tip #2 – Get contractor references and written job quotes before selecting your contractor. While the temptation to “get back to normal quickly” may be great, do not jump at the first contractor who offers his services. Beware of “door-to-door” contractors. Make certain the contractor you hire is licensed in your state and has a staggered payment plan for services so that you don’t complete payment until the project is done. Check with your insurance company to determine their requirements and involvement before you start rebuilding. And, if you feel you’ve been “gouged” by a contractor, report this immediately to state officials.

Tip #3 - Check your local building codes. Even if your home is just a few years old, codes can change rapidly. The window or roof that was in your home just a few weeks ago may no longer meet current codes when rebuilding. It’s not simply a matter of reconstructing the home you had. The law requires you and your contractor to abide by current codes when rebuilding after the storm. Visit http://www.statelocalgov.net for more information.

Tip #4 – Research impact-resistant building products. Take this opportunity to “upgrade” the building products in your home to help secure it from future storms. Investigate building products that offer protection from storms, such as impact-resistant windows and doors that can help withstand hurricane-force winds. Using these enhanced products may even lower your insurance rates in the future because you’re going “above and beyond” to create a storm-safe home.

Visit http://www.simonton.com for information on impact-resistant windows and doors featuring laminated glass. Similar to car windshields, laminated glass is produced by bonding a tough polyvinyl butyral (PVB) plastic interlayer between two pieces of glass under heat and pressure. This durable, high performance glazing material helps protect your home against high winds and flying debris during a storm event.

Tip #5 – Plan for future storms by requesting your contractor use additional foundation reinforcements. Wall framing-to-floor systems should include anchor bolts or connectors tying the wall framing to the foundation. These connections will help the walls resist wind uplift forces as well as wind shear forces that try to push the walls over.

Tip #6 - Select exterior products that withstand the challenges of coastal living. For example, urethane moulding, millwork, door and entrance trim all resist salt air, humidity, sea spray, termites, warping and rotting. These products will long outlast wood trim on a home and require minimal upkeep. Visit http://www.fypon.com for more information. For roofing materials, consider polymer slate and shake roofing products, such as those from DaVinci Roofscapes®, that have a 50-year warranty. And, when considering windows, remember that vinyl-framed Simonton StormBreaker Plus windows with HVHZ approved products featuring impact-resistant glass, are perfect for rebuilding.

Tip #7 – Choose energy-efficient products that can save on your long-term heating and cooling bills. Go the extra step by ordering building products that meet ENERGY STAR® guidelines in your area. Select windows framed in vinyl, which is an excellent insulator. And, when thinking about the glass in your windows, think about lowering your monthly energy bills by specifying windows with dual-pane insulating glass units featuring Argon-filled Low E glass. Visit http://www.ENERGYSTAR.gov for more details.

Tip #8 – Build a safe room. Use your rebuilding opportunity to create a “safe room” inside the home that is specially reinforced to withstand severe weather and serve as a safe haven during storms. Consult Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your Home, published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Contact FEMA at (888) 565-3896 or visit http://www.fema.gov for more information. Note: Simonton Windows strongly recommends compliance with all official state and local evacuation notices when advised.

Tip #9 – Before rebuilding, pay special attention to the roof, windows, doors and garage doors you select. These are the four critical areas of your home that can receive the most damage during severe storms. And, once penetrated, these areas can cause wind to enter the home and collapse the structure. For comprehensive information about keeping your home safe, visit http://www.blueprintforsafety.org.

Tip #10 – Ask questions and save paperwork. Don’t rush through any building decisions. Check out all products carefully and inspect warranties. Save receipts, product information and warranties in a secure location for the future.

For more tips on rebuilding and living in coastal areas, call 1-800-SIMONTON for the free eight-page brochure, “Making the Most of Life on the Coast.”
Celebrating its 65th year of quality manufacturing operations in 2011, Simonton Windows produces ENERGY STAR® qualified replacement and new construction windows and doors, including a line of impact-resistant products. Simonton ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Windows and Doors, Two Years in a Row” in the J.D. Power and Associates 2010-2011 Windows and Patio Doors Satisfaction Studies SM.

Simonton was also ranked #1 in quality in the 2009, 2007, 2002 and 1998 Brand Use Studies sponsored by Builder magazine and has won three Best In Class Awards administered by LBM Journal Research Institute.

Founded in 1946, Simonton’s hallmark has been to deliver the industry’s shortest, most dependable lead-times. Part of the home and security business of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO), Simonton delivers award-recognized products nationwide to key markets throughout the 48 continental United States. Simonton is a founding sponsor of The Weather Museum and a supporter of Homes for Our Troops. For information, call (800) SIMONTON (1-800-746-6686) or visit http://www.simonton.com.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Media members may visit “media.simonton.com” (use password “media”) for access to hundreds of high resolution images.

SIMONTON ON-LINE NEWS ROOM: http://news.simonton.com/

Simonton Windows received the highest numerical score among window and door manufacturers in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2010-2011 Windows and Patio Doors Satisfaction StudiesSM. 2011 study based on responses from 2,605 consumers measuring 11 brands and measures opinions of consumers who purchased new windows or patio doors in the previous 12 months. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed in March-April 2011. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.
ENERGY STAR is a government program that helps consumers protect the environment through superior energy efficiency and is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Kathy Ziprik
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