One of the most important things you can do after you’ve received significant water damage to your home or business is secure the structure. The exact manner in which you should go about doing so will largely be determined by the nature of the damage itself. You will also secure the structure according to the type of structure in question. For example, residential and business structures will most likely be secured differently. Last but not least, you will likely adjust things based on whether or not you need to have professional drying systems in place. Therefore, those structures which have been damaged by fire may be secured differently.

When securing a structure that needs to have professional drying measures in place, you can follow the step-by-step directions listed below. Doing so will help you ensure that the structure is properly secured while still providing you the opportunity to salvage as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, you may choose to hire some professional help that can secure the structure for you or you may enlist the help of someone who can assist you. Either way, you’ll have the instructions for properly securing doors and windows in a structure that’s been compromised.

Securing Windows in Residential Structures

When securing windows in residential structures, there are two different trains of thought you can follow. The first involves only securing the structure against the elements. The second involves securing it against would-be intruders as well. When securing a window in this manner, your first step is to cut three equal pieces of plywood, all measuring three feet by two feet, eight inches (3’x 2’8”). Make sure the plywood you choose is in good condition. You don’t want to use something that has been sitting out in the weather for a long period of time, nor do you want to use a piece of plywood that flexes too much or has a great deal of splintering. 

Once you’ve finished cutting the three pieces of plywood, go ahead and lay a two inch by four inch (2”x 4”) board across the center of the plywood pieces, carefully tracing a pair of circles either above or below the board. The circles will eventually be cut out so they can be used for the duct work that will be put in place for drying. Be sure to check with the technicians who will be performing the drying operation so you can make sure the circles are the proper diameter for the equipment. It’s also important to remember that these duct work circles will only be used if you are actually planning to route duct work through them for drying purposes. If that isn’t the case, simply cut the plywood to use as security panels. 

After cutting the security panels and ensuring everything is the correct size, you will then drill half-inch (½”) holes on each end of your 2”x 4” board. Make sure that the holes are exactly four inches (4”) from the top and bottom edges of the board. It’s always a good idea to do your measurements at least twice before making any cuts. If you’re not absolutely certain that you’re about to make a cut in the proper location, go ahead and measure again. You can save a lot of headaches (not to mention extra work) if you take a few minutes to do the job properly as opposed to rushing through things. 

Now that you have completed the process for one of the 2”x4” boards, stack that board together with the three individual pieces of plywood you cut earlier. You will be drilling the same holes in all pieces of wood. By stacking them together, it makes the process go a little bit more quickly. More importantly, it ensures that your drill holes are all in the exact same location, something that will be crucially important later on. 

Putting Security Panels in Place

Now that you have everything cut according to plan, it’s time to start putting your security panels in place. This is accomplished by using two carriage bolts, along with two nuts and one washer for each drill point. The security panels are installed from the inside of the structure and the carriage bolts are placed in the wall next to the window, creating virtually the same level of security that the window itself provided before the damage occurred. Some may even argue that these panels are more secure than windows could ever truly be. In any case, the idea is to keep the weather and any intruders out of the structure. Security panels installed in this manner should get the job done. It’s important to remember that even though your goal is to provide a certain level of security, you should only hand tighten the carriage bolts. They don’t need to be incredibly tight to keep the security panels in place. As a matter of fact, doing so can potentially cause damage to the window, resulting in expensive repairs later on down the road.

You will need to complete this same procedure for every window in the structure that has been compromised. The same is true for those areas where the original window is still secure, yet professional drying measures need to take place by running duct work through the area. Therefore, you should calculate the number of windows that will need to be secured beforehand. Doing so will allow you to ensure that you have the correct materials in the correct amounts before you get started. It also allows you to ensure that the structure is secure in the fastest possible amount of time.

Residential vs. Commercial Buildings

There is no doubt that the preferred method of securing a building while drying methods are in place involves securing the windows and then running the duct work through those same areas. However, that can be hard to do with commercial buildings. In some cases, it simply isn’t possible. When a situation like that occurs, the only option is to use the doors. This may make it virtually impossible for any portion of the structure in question to remain open for business until it has been returned to its previous state. Much of it will be determined by the exact location of the door or doors being used as well as the extent of the damage. In many instances, the nature of the business also comes into question. Some types of businesses can continue operating more easily than others. For example, a retail business that relies on constant foot traffic may be forced to cease operations until the damage has been repaired. On the other hand, a small business that involves only a handful of employees may be able to keep going throughout clean-up and restoration operations. 

There is no doubt that experiencing water or fire damage to your home or business is a traumatic experience, to say the least. That said, it doesn’t mean that you have to completely stop everything as you know it. In some cases, it’s possible to remedy the situation rather quickly, thereby allowing you to get on with your daily activities. The key is to secure the building as quickly as possible. The last thing you want to do is provide an avenue for additional damage to occur, either from the weather, intruders or both. After contacting us, you will likely want to begin securing things right away. That paves the way for our technicians to do the job they were trained to do, restoring your property and salvaging as much as possible in the process.

You may decide to secure the structure on your own or you may find it easier to hire someone to do it on your behalf. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose as long as the necessary steps are taken to do it correctly. If you do make the decision to secure the structure on your own, you can use this article as a guide, as the exact measurements are provided for those purposes. Remember, the goal is for everyone to work together in order to get you back on track as quickly as possible. Securing the building in short order is the first major step in doing so. It also gives us the chance to start working on the structure as soon as we arrive. This could be a vital component of saving your possessions and even part of the structure itself. That is precisely why time is of the essence.