Real Estate News

A Builder’s Guide to Minimizing Storm Damage

The consequences of Hurricane Sandy have been severe,  as the storm left serious damage caused by flooding and high winds. This has resulted in nearly $19 billion in economic losses in the New York area alone..

Our communities will continue to repair and rebuild, but it will take time and a lot of assistance. There is no way to predict the future or when we may face a similar situation again, but there are steps that we can take to ensure the future safety of our home and our family.

When building or rebuilding any home, it’s crucial to use the best materials and to design your home in a way that will offer a resiliant living space. Renowned East End builder Jeffrey Collé is responsible for building some of the most prestigious properties in the Hamptons. Known for his craftsmanship and design, Collé also has a reputation for building homes that withstand the tests of weather.

Collé thought it would be helpful to share with homeowners a few great ideas and safety measures. We hope you will find this insider’s list of important tips and considerations informative and helpful when rebuilding or repairing your home to prevent similar damage in the future.

Foundation & Basement

• Backfill the foundation with clean sand in order to keep water away from the foundation, allow for proper window drainage, and reduce basement dampness and mold.

• Reinforce foundation walls with pilasters every 15 to 20 feet. Wet ground can double or triple the pressure on foundation walls, causing them to bulge or even crack.

• Install adequate waterproofing membrane to the exterior foundation walls.

• Install a permanent sump pump in the basement that turns on automatically to remove accumulated water.

• Add a permanent dehumidification system in the basement via the HVAC system in order to keep the basement dry.

• Design the basement stairwell with a dry well, a drain at the bottom of the stairs.

• Install the boiler and furnace above the floor to protect them from flooding.

• Install a generator. It is more economical and effective to install when a house is being built. They can be sized to run the entire house, or just the main pathway, refrigerator and furnace.

Doors & Windows

• Use impact-resistant glass in windows and doors. (The larger the pane, the more vulnerable.) If glass blows in, it can be deadly.

• Reinforce garage doors. They can blow right out because they’re so large, and when they fail, they make the house very vulnerable.

• Install window wells that drain properly, are easily accessible for cleaning, and are designed to prevent the accumulation of debris.

• Pre-cut plywood for all windows and doors and then store the panels so they can be quickly installed in the event of a hurricane. Clambering around trying to buy plywood once a warning has been issued and then cutting it to fit is a losing proposition.


• Install gutters and leaders that are properly sized and that connect directly to a dry well system, which will keep water away from the foundation.

• Make sure all the flashing associated with the windows and doors is properly installed to ensure proper waterproofing.

• Landscape in such a way that large trees, or small trees that will grow into large trees, are far enough away from house to avoid danger. Secure larger young trees with cables for up to 12 months.

• Pitch outdoor decks away from the house. Decking materials should be at least 4” below the doors to avoid flooding.

 JC Estates by Jeffrey Colle, 81 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, 631-324-8500,

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