Why Homeowners Are Going DIY After Disasters

When Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana in late August 2021, it claimed at least 82 lives and left more than $95 billion of property damage. 

Of course, Louisiana took the brunt of the damage, but the storms resulting from the hurricane swept all the way to New York City. 

Many homeowners in Ida’s path had to deal with property damage in the storm’s aftermath. Though some homes needed to be completely rebuilt, many properties needed modest or moderate repairs. Perhaps fallen tree limbs tore down part of an aluminum fence, or minor flooding damaged a wood deck. 

When faced with mild or moderate repair needs, many homeowners sought DIY solutions to the storm damage rather than calling fence repair experts.

The desire for DIY solutions

The decision of many homeowners to opt for DIY property repair solutions is part of a larger trend. Faced with other natural disasters, such as tornadoes and flooding, or more localized disasters, like home fires, many people are fixing their fences, awnings, decks, patios, and more themselves. 

What is causing this trend? Experts point to two factors. 

The first is supply chain issues. COVID-19 disruptions paired with increased demand have caused many materials–such as wood panels, roofing materials, and vinyl siding–to be in short supply. As a result, some contractors are facing long delays. 

The second reason is the tight labor market. Contractors have trouble finding qualified employees to complete construction and repair jobs. 

When faced with the option of booking contractors months out or getting a job done immediately without expert help, many opt for the DIY option. 

DIY Wood Fence Repair

Surveys have found that fences are one of the most common items to be damaged in a storm or other disaster. Fortunately, fence repair is usually something handy homeowners can take on themselves. 

Wood fences are particularly susceptible to damage. As wood is exposed to the elements over time, it will often warp, crack, and become discolored. 

Water damage is also common for wood fences, as well as wood patios, decks, walkways, storage bins, and other structures. Flooding can cause discoloration and other damage to be concentrated where floodwaters collect–often on the bottom part of a fence. 

Discoloration can often be fixed by simply repainting or staining the fence. If floodwaters are strong enough, they may cause more extensive damage that requires part or all of the wood fence to be replaced. The same is true with wood privacy slats and other wood structures. 

Aluminum and Wrought Iron Fence Repair

Aluminum and wrought iron fences are durable, but they are susceptible to falling limbs and strong flooding. Often you may be able to repair a section of the fence without installing a whole new fence. 

If individual aluminum fence pickets or posts are damaged, the fence is even easier to repair. Simply remove the damaged part of the fence and install brand new materials. 

Finally, some disasters will cause parts of an aluminum or wrought iron fence to be uprooted from the ground. To fix the problem, embed the panels and posts in concrete. If the posts and panels were already embedded in concrete and came loose, you may need to remove the old concrete and pour new concrete. 

Repairing decks, patios, walkways, or awnings 

Fences are not the only type of property damaged by disasters. Any man-made structure on your property could be affected. 

Wood or vinyl decks can sometimes be affected by strong storms, floods, and fires. If the damage is not too severe, some homeowners tackle repairs themselves, replacing damaged panels and repainting or staining the structure. 

Patios, walkways, and garden walls may also suffer storm damage. Though typically made of stone or concrete, severe flooding may cause bricks or stones to crack or become dislodged. With the right materials and some determination, handy homeowners can save money and time by replacing the damaged section of patios, walkways, or garden walls themselves. 

Finally, strong winds and hail often cause havoc to awnings. If your awning becomes damaged in a storm, you may be able to repair or replace it yourself. Simply stitch small rips or holes together with a strong material. If the entire awning needs to be replaced, find a material similar to your awning and cut it down to the correct size before the old awning with the new one. 

Preparing for the next disaster 

Many homeowners are taking proactive steps to protect their properties from future disasters. Residents living in areas prone to hurricanes often install shutters on windows and trim trees with long, heavy limbs to prevent potential property damage. 

The material you use to construct your fence, deck, patio, or other structure also makes a difference. Stronger materials such as wrought iron or stone typically hold up better in disasters than weaker materials, like wood. A vinyl fence also tends to be about twice as strong as a wood one. 


Homeowners eager to handle minor or moderate repairs themselves also brush up on their DIY skills and make sure to have the right tools on hand. 

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