If you have a historic home and live in an area occasionally affected by severe weather, there is good news and bad news. The good news is, they built older homes to last, often using stronger, more water-resistant materials. Some historic homes have withstood centuries of stormy weather. The bad news is, it can be more expensive to weatherproof an older home and plans might need approval from local architectural review boards.
Do You Have A Historic Home?
If your home is over 50 years old, in a historic district, and is architecturally significant, it could be a historic home. Check with your local or state historic preservation office to see if your home is on the list of historic properties.
Storm Damage Tips for Historic Homeowners
One resource that provides general advice for homeowners with flooded homes is Treatment of Flood-Damaged Older and Historic Buildings by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
For guidance specific to your area, after a natural disaster, consult your state’s historic preservation office. Here is how they can help.
- Provide information on approvals required by local agencies for exterior changes to historic properties.
- For homes in a National Register Historic District, provide documentation that could make you eligible for a larger insurance claim. For example, an older home might have a slate roof, which is more expensive to replace.
- Learn if your property is eligible for state and/or federal rehabilitation tax credits.
- If a named storm damages your home, you could be eligible for FEMA assistance.
What to do After a Storm
Whether your home is old or new, fast action helps minimize damage after a storm. Here are emergency storm damage tips from SERVPRO, one of the nation’s leading experts in residential and commercial storm damage restoration.
- Contact your insurance company. Make a detailed list of the damage and take photos or videos. With a historic home, you also want to photograph unique building features that need to be restored.
- Call water restoration experts. Look for a company with expertise in water damage and restoration that can quickly assess your home and begin the repair process.
- Shut off the water source if water is flooding into your home.
- Don’t climb on your roof to gauge the damage or remove debris. Leave your home if there is major roof damage.
- When you can safely do so, turn off circuit breakers to wet areas of the home.
- Mop or blot up excess water.
- Prop up wet upholstery cushions so they can dry evenly.
- Move valuables, like paintings or electronics or furs, to a dry place.
- Avoid areas of the house where electrical outlets or equipment are exposed to water.
- If ceilings are sagging, don’t turn on ceiling fixtures like lights or fans.
- If mold develops, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends using professionals to clean an area larger than 10 square feet.
While it’s tempting to repair your home yourself, the best result may come from using restoration specialists. Choose a company that can respond quickly. For example, SERVPRO has emergency operators on call 24 hours a day, every day of the year. They’ll inspect and assess the water damage and manage your homeowners insurance claim. If high winds damage your roof or break windows, they’ll board them up and tarp the roof.
The restoration experts bring specialized equipment to dry and dehumidify your belongings and take steps to prevent or remediate mold. Water damage specialists clean, sanitize and deodorize floors, furniture and belongings. When it takes repairs and construction to return your home to its previous condition, the professionals manage that process.
Restoring a Historic Home After a Storm
When a storm hits your home, you’ll need to act fast to protect it from the elements and avoid additional damage. If you have a historic home, your state or local planning department or historical society may need to approve plans to change your home’s exterior appearance. Do your research to make sure you take advantage of all resources provided to help restore historic structures.