Getting Down With DIY Storm Recovery

Cleanup efforts are already well-underway in the path of our most recent storm, and as with other major wind/rain/snow storms that the country is hit with time and time again, there are a lot of things you can do yourself to recover from the damage:

Patching a tar paper roof to prevent water damage.

Repair your damaged roof.

Admittedly, it sounds like a big thing to take on, but who can get to fixing your roof in bad weather faster than you? Depending on the extent of the damage (a giant hole left unfortunately by a tree vs. a few missing shingles), prepare to spend between an hour and a full day making repairs. In most cases, you’ll be set if you have a ladder, a nail gun and basic materials. DIY Network offers a good overview for bigger repairs too – just remember to work patiently and safely atop your home.

As a temporary fix last winter, we repaired our garage roof during a storm by simply nailing tar paper on our garage roof to secure a tear. By reinforcing things before the situation got worse, we were able to spare our roof from becoming more damaged.

Depending on your type of roof, keeping it clear of debris is also a good idea. I usually take care of sweeping our gently-sloping garage roof on warmer days when the leaves and branches can brush away easily.

Keep your flat roof clear of debris.

Dry out your basement.

Does your basement take on water? Pre-storm, make sure that the soil grading around your home is helping water to drain away from your home. Aim for having a slope that drops 6-inches over 10-feet to keep the water channeling away from your basement.

If that doesn’t fully correct the problem, prepare yourself for the next storm by investing in a submersible pump. Standard models are priced between $60-$175, and you’re better off owning your own in case of emergency than hoping to be able to rent one when the weather strikes. In the case of a basement, you should be able to pump the excess water up and out to the ground floor through a window vent or door, just make sure that you’re forcing the water out and away from the home in a place that is well-graded.

Flooding is a scary thing. Learn more about repairing flood damage in this helpful video on DIY Network.

Take care of your gutters.

Inevitably, the wind during a strong storm or hurricane is going to deposit leaves and branches all around your yard and into your home’s gutters. Gutters can clog quickly, and will need to be cleaned urgently if you’re seeing a waterfall over the edge (this too can contribute to a wet basement!). Even if water isn’t overflowing, still plan on getting up on your ladder after the storm and clearing out debris so that it isn’t an issue when the next rainstorm strikes – speaking from experience, clearing the horizontal gutters is one thing, but trying to clear out clogged downspouts is much more challenging.

If your gutters need to be replaced or repaired, take necessary steps to do so. DIY Network offers this step-by-step tutorial to demonstrate how to repair a gutter and downspout.

Installing new gutters.

There are other things you’ll want to focus on too:

  • Did you observe any interior water damage on the ceiling or walls? Check to make sure that flashing and caulking is sealing your windows properly.
  • Did any of your windows break? Make efforts to have new panes cut, or patch over broken glass while you source a new window.
  • Are the trees on your property threatening? If a tree has shown signs of illness (dead branches, decay), remove it before it has a chance to damage your home. Keep an eye on the leaning trees and weaker branches in your yard too. If it seems like a risky situation to put your home in, you may want to consider trimming limbs before the next storm.

Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at


5 Responses

  1. Jeremy Aldred says:

    Disasters are very unfortunate and they really cause unpleasant damage to our properties and to everything we hold dear. I work as a gutter cleaner for a local Sydney company, and I know how difficult it is to get over the disaster and move on. Sometimes it takes days and even weeks to fix the damage to the roof and the gutters, and sometimes the damage is so extensive that replacement is the only option. I really don't wish anyone to go through such a situation, it's really devastating. And let's not even start with the arguments with insurance companies over claims…

  2. Charles says:

    Regarding the solution to a wet basement, is the submersible pump you mentioned the same as a sump pump? Our basement used to have leaks especially after heavy rains so we repaired it by better concrete waterproofing. This may be a bit costly but the benefits are better for the long run.

  3. forex says:

    Very, very interesting topic. I�ve found your blog by accident, but it was very fortunate coincidence. you need informations about Well written. Thanks:)

  4. My roof started dripping after a strong wind and rainfall, so it became necessary to get it repaired as soon as possible. I found the best services in Johannesburg, and it helped in carrying out waterproofing of the entire house.

  5. Linda says:

    The flooding wasn't really relavent to much of what Sandy left behind. The used fresh water for their example. Four feet of salt water that rises with the tide into your house and stays until the tide falls after the storm doesn't really let you salvage much other than clothes and linens that can be well washed.


About Emily Fazio 


I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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