ORLANDO, Fla. - As Central Florida residents start to clean up their homes and businesses after Hurricane Irma roared through the state, experts say it is vital to perform temporary repairs to structures to prevent long-term problems.
Many insurance policies require property owners to take steps to prevent further water damage after a major storm, which could require hiring a contractor.
Near Lake Conway, a giant oak tree ripped open a home, making even temporary repairs a big job.
A roofing contractor was called in to build makeshift decking and nailed down a huge blue tarp to keep out any future rain.
“It needs to be sealed immediately, as quickly as you can get it dried in, is the most important thing,” the contractor said.
The homeowner had already filed an insurance claim, but it may be a while until the policy pays for the damage.
Waiting on temporary repairs can mean far bigger problems later, like black mold.
Nearby, homeowner Richard Dawson was dealing with water damage of his own.
Before Irma, he tried to put a tarp over a problem area of the roof around the chimney.
Unfortunately, the fix was ineffective and rainwater poured into his home.
“It leaked on one end of the house there and it leaked over there,” Dawson said.
Dawson was on the list for a contractor to install a blue tarp over the problem area, but he said it could be days before workers to get to his home.
Experts say that some homeowners can make this type of temporary repair themselves, using a tarp and sandbags.
Temporary repairs to homes damaged in Hurricane Irma may have to last weeks, possibly months, because damage from the storm is so widespread.
The repairs should be covered by insurance policies, so homeowners are urged to take photos and keep receipts.
Homeowners are also strongly encouraged to make sure any contractor they hire is licensed by the state.
You can check on a contractor’s license status by visiting the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website.
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