Tree ripped out of the ground

What Did We Learn from Hurricane Sandy about Trees Falling

When hurricane Sandy struck with very strong winds, thousands of trees fell on Long Island. Since the hurricane, as I’ve driven around various locations on Long Island I’ve seen the internal parts of the fallen tree structure. What I’ve noticed is that many of these trees have “hollow” centers that have been rotted out. The only thing holding these trees up is wood at the perimeter of the tree. The tree is very substantially weakened and structurally compromised as a result of the wood rot. So, there was no outside indication that the internal part of the tree was rotted out until it fell. So what does this mean for Long Island home inspections?

When there are large trees on the property, particularly trees that have a chance of falling on the house, they should absolutely be assessed by a tree specialist. Arborists are considered the cream of the crop relative to treat specialists. According to Wikipedia In the USA and Canada a Certified Arborist (CA) is a professional who has over three years of documented and verified experience and has passed a rigorous written test from the International Society of Arboriculture. Other designations include Municipal Specialist, Utility Specialist and Board Certified Master Arborist (BCMA).

And arborist is qualified to assess the condition of the tree and advise you regarding the best approach to ensuring personal safety as well as protecting your house. When we do home inspections on Long Island we always advise our clients to seek the advice of an arborist when there are trees close to the home. When should you do this? You should do this now, before another storm strikes. Keep in mind that many trees may be in a weakened structural condition as a result of hurricane Sandy. So now is the time to have your trees assessed for substantial safety reasons.

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Hire an independent home inspector to protect your financial interests after ANY MAJOR STORM

After a major storm, get your own independent home inspection

We have had many damaging storms since Hurricane Sandy who have wreaked her damage on Long Island, and we have been asked to perform inspections for victims in order to document what particular physical components of the home need or needed to be replaced on an emergency basis. This involves looking at heating, air-conditioning, plumbing, electrical, structural conditions, appliances, roofing, walls and insulation, and any other systems that may have become compromised as a result of saltwater intrusion or wind/rain damage. By getting your own independent inspection, you will have photographic evidence of the conditions that existed at the time of the inspection. Even if certain repairs have been made prior to the inspection, the inspection report can properly document the situation for the authorities. This can ultimately help you obtain the best financial assistance available under the circumstances, whether it be from the government or from private insurance companies. It is to your benefit to obtain an independent inspection from a New York State licensed home Inspector who will act as your consultant and for your benefit.

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Aerial view of flooded housed and streets

Hurricane Flooding – what has to be replaced when damaged by salt water?

Hurricane Storms – what has to be replaced when damaged by salt water? What are the ramifications of salt water flooding in Long Island homes? South shore Long Island real estate got hammered by salt water flooding. The damage to real estate, fixtures and contents is immense. If the following items were flooded, assume total replacement:

1)      Boiler

2)      Hot water heater

3)      Electrical wiring

4)      Possibly gas pipes

5)      Oil tanks

6)      Some plumbing lines

7)      Insulation/sheetrock

8)      Carpeting

9)      Wood floors (usually)

10)   Cabinets and furniture

The list goes on and on. Consider getting an independent Long Island Home Inspector (Licensed by NY State) to document storm damage for insurance and FEMA reasons. These inspections are documented with photos and professional opinions about specific replacement items based on safety and functionality. Fires, explosions and mold are the ramifications of salt water flooding damage.

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Tree on a car

Hurricane Tree Damage to Homes on Long Island – how to prevent damage in the future

There have been hundreds, perhaps thousands of homes on Long Island that sustained damage from trees falling on houses during recent hurricanes. The damage ranges from minor to total destruction of the home. The repairs may be as simple as replacing a gutter, or something more substantial such as replacement of framing members in the structure.

Framing damage to a roof for example will require removal of the roofing shingles, removal of the plywood sheathing, and then removal of the damaged framing. Removal of the damaged framing requires very special expertise and usually special bracing in order to avoid more damage and even a partial collapse of the structure.

A general contractor is usually the way to go when having someone make substantial repairs. Make sure the contractor is licensed and insured. Check with the Better Business Bureau, and only pay enough of a down payment to get the contractor started. If the repairs are minor, a handyman can likely get the work done.

Large trees around the house should get checked every few years by a qualified tree specialist, otherwise known as an Arborist. An Arborist can truly assess the trees to make sure of their health and structural condition. As I’ve been doing home inspections on Long Island after Hurricane Sandy I’ve seen many trees that have fallen with hollow cores – no solid wood in the center of the tree trunk. The trees look normal from the outside, but are in fragile condition. That’s why an Arborist should check their condition on a regular basis.

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