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Scrap or Salvage: Deciding Whether to Repair or Replace after a Disaster Part III: Siding, Gutters, Drywall, Paint and Flooring

Homeowners face a long list of difficult decisions following a significant property loss. As a result, property owners must lean on experts such as property insurers, contractors, salvage experts, and others to assist in the response and recovery process. One of the most important decision revolves around whether to repair or replace the major components of a home. Below is the third post in a three-part series focusing on how to analyze home damage to determine the best course of action following a claim.




Siding and Gutter Damage:


Siding and gutters are especially susceptible to damage from storm and wind events. Evidence of siding or gutter damage includes holes in vinyl siding or dents in aluminum siding because of flying objects, such as hail or debris. In high wind events, entire pieces of siding may break or peel off. Cracks and chips in siding can be difficult to detect, but if left unrepaired can lead to severe damage in the future. Wood siding may endure mold or rot damage in significant rain or flood events. If this damage remains unrepaired, then it can lead to significant repairs. Choosing the most effective gutter depends on several factors. Vinyl and aluminum gutters are both good options at a reasonable price. Stainless steel gutters, while expensive, tend to offer the most durability.




Drywall and Paint Damage:


A common concern with drywall damage is asbestos exposure. In older homes, generally over 20 years old, homeowners need to take precautions to identify the existence of asbestos. The simple existence of asbestos is not a problem if it is disturbed in a loss or a repair, then it becomes a potential health concern.


Drywall damage occurs from fire, smoke, and water. Fire does not spread quickly throughout most drywall; however, it is especially susceptible to damage from smoke. Water and moisture are not friends with drywall. In fact, mold spores can germinate after just 12 hours in wet and humid conditions. Drywall is very porous and retains moisture effectively. Depending on the type of mold, it may colonize in 1 to 12 days. For these reasons, potential mold needs immediate attention. Visible changes in the drywall from water exposure or wet conditions usually indicate potential mold conditions. If a contractor finds mold, then clean up and remediation are necessary. The scale of this process varies, but immediate attention minimizes potential future problems. Some mold-resistant paints add anti-bacterial strength to the drywall surface.  These paints help minimize the ability for mold to grow, although it will not prevent mold growth completely. Average drywall repairs will cost $45 to $55 per square foot, including labor, materials, site preparation, and cleanup.


Carpentry and Flooring Damage:


When moisture enters the home via a disaster such as a flood, the floors, and related carpentry may experience significant damage. Wood floors may experience cupping, dark spots, bulging or buckling.  Carpet often experiences discoloration and odor when damaged. Below is a chart with repair cost estimates required to repair or replace the flooring.




Flooring Repair Costs



New Installs

















The siding, gutters, drywall, paint, and flooring are important parts of a home. Water damage, in particular, can lead to significant damage to a home. Quickly addressing minor issues is paramount to preventing a significant future claim. Homeowners must work with insurers, contractors, engineers and other experts in order to effectively analyze damage to a home and determine the cost of a comprehensive repair. This analysis will help lead to an agreement on whether to scrap or salvage following a property insurance claim.