In Sandy’s Wake: On the Ground in New Jersey

Remodelers advise slow, deliberate pace and avoiding scammers.

November 02, 2012
Photos courtesy of John Quarenga, CR, of Jay-Cue Construction, North Bergen, N.J

Photos courtesy of John Quarenga, CR, of Jay-Cue Construction, North Bergen, N.J,

Remodelers in areas hit by Superstorm Sandy are already feeling the ripple effect of the storm on their business. Many remodelers have reached out to their customers in an effort to assess damages, which primarily consist of roof damage on residential and commercial properties caused by high wind and uprooted/fallen trees.

In the days following the storm, remodelers have been placing heavy-duty tarps over roofs as a short-term solution to waterproof the properties and prevent further damage to residences.

Professional Remodeler recently spoke with Joe Percario, Jr., of Joe Percario General Contactors, Roselle, N.J., whose firm and customer base were located directly in the path of the storm.

“We cannot do anything right now other than visit our previous customers houses and place tarps on their roofs,” says Percario.

Another remodeler affected by the storm, John Quarenga, CR, of Jay-Cue Construction, North Bergen, N.J, says, “We’ve put tarps on six of our customers’ houses, but there are dozens more that need immediate attention.”

Percario says his entire staff has been out in the field every day, assessing damage to their clients’ properties.  “We are telling them, ‘This is all we can do right now,’ but we will return soon to assess the damage further.”

However, fuel shortages and communication troubles from power outages and sporadic cell phone service in the area have complicated the remodelers’ efforts.

“We have one employee doing business from his motorcycle, others have been walking into neighborhoods to talk to families that need help securing their properties. Communication with clients has been very tough,” says Percario, who has been manning the company phones from the onset of the storm. “Our phone lines have been down, so I’ve had all communication forwarded to my cell phone.” Percario has played the role of field general, directing employees to local residences in areas that need immediate assistance.

Jay-Cue Construction has taken a similar approach. “Because of fuel shortages, we’ve had employees on foot visiting clients, assessing damage,” says Quarenga. He added that the damage in his area has been extensive with hundreds of homes and businesses with roofs either damaged or destroyed.

Both Percario and Quarenga mentioned that substandard construction likely contributed to the storm damage, some of which could have been prevented with higher-quality construction and materials.

“A few dollars may have been saved using staples instead of nails when these roofs were constructed. That quality of construction may have been accepted originally, but it is definitely evident now. Quality construction is needed,” says Percario.

 “It will take years for this area to get back to what it was,” says Quarenga.

Percario and Quarenga both stressed the importance of hiring a quality, professional remodeler who can assess damage properly, provide an estimate, and develop specific short- and long-term repairs and remodeling.

  • Advise clients to take time to assess property damage before ordering a major remodeling project.
  • Help your clients avoid remodeling opportunists who provide substandard repairs.

Estimates from IHS Global Insight, a global market information and analytics company, reported that Superstorm Sandy will end up causing about $20 billion in property damages. The property damage from the storm will exceed those caused last year by Hurricane Irene, which cost $15.8 billion. PR

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