When we talk about what to store for our emergency needs, the most common things that comes to our minds are food, water, medical and other standard supplies. But what about if it is not us who needs emergency supplies but our homes? Since our homes can be easily damaged both from natural and man-made causes, it is also important that we store variety of materials that we can use in case our homes needs repairing.
There are a lot of lists around talking about what equipment and supplies you should have on hand to survive a disaster. All in all, I’d have to say that the majority of those lists are pretty good, especially if you take counsel from a number of them. That will allow one list’s author to fill in a gap that another list’s author might have forgotten. But one thing I find missing from just about all these lists is home repair supplies.
You see, most of us focus on prepping for the big things. That’s okay, as far as it goes. In most cases, the preparations that we have to make for big disasters also prepare us for smaller ones. However, there’s one area which always seems to get forgotten, that of home repairs.
While major disasters, like a financial collapse or an EMP, may not pose much of a risk for our homes, smaller disasters do. We all have a much higher risk of facing a hurricane or tornado than we do of facing an EMP. Yet, we tend to ignore the potential damage that a natural disaster can cause to our home, while making sure that we have a spare radio or two hidden away in a Faraday cage.
Having a few basic construction materials on hand can make a great difference, if you’re ever caught by one of those natural disasters. That way, you’ll be ready to help your home survive any problems caused by a storm or other natural disaster.
You actually don’t need all that many different types of materials on hand in order to be able to make emergency repairs. Remember, we’re not talking about permanent repairs here, we’re talking about emergency ones. That means something that is good enough to dry in your home, until you or a contractor can properly remove the damaged portions of your home and rebuild them. So, we don’t need things like trim; we just need the necessary materials to dry things in.
List of Materials You Should Stock
This list of materials should give you enough to take care of pretty much any type of damage your home could sustain by a natural disaster. Of course, of your home is totally demolished, this list isn’t going to do you much good. But if a tree branch falls through the roof or strong winds blow out all the windows, you’ll be able to make your home snug and dry once more.
- 2″x 4″ dimensional lumber – These are probably the most basic and common construction material there is. As such, they are probably one of the most useful to have on hand. With 2″x 4″ lumber, you can build a wide variety of things, as well as prop up ceilings and repair damaged walls. Make sure you but the eight foot long ones, and not “studs” as the little bit of extra length might be just what you need sometime.
- Plywood – This is the other basic construction material. Plywood is used for subflooring, as well as to put structure under our roofs. It can be used to patch holes in roofs, floors and walls, as well as building a wide variety of projects. Half inch thick is the most common, but 3/4″ thick is used for floors.
- Tarps – If you’ve ever had a major hail storm in your area, you probably saw a lot of homes whose roofs were covered by tarps. While not a structural repair material, tarps are great for keeping the weather out, when the normal weatherproofing isn’t working. They’re also relatively cheap, making it easy to have a number on hand.
- Clear plastic sheeting (visqueen) – While not as strong as a tarp, clear plastic sheeting has one advantage, it lets light through. So, if you have to cover up broken windows, you’re better off doing it this way. You can also use it for adding additional insulation to windows, helping to keep the cold out.
- Furring strips – These are thin strips of wood, used for a variety of things. More than anything, you want to have them for holding down the tarps. If you just staple or nail the tarps, the wind will tear them. Nailing through furring strips spreads the pressure out, preventing tearing.
- Duct tape – They say you can repair anything with Duct Tape. While I’m not sure that’s true, I do know there are a lot of things you can repair with it. Make sure you buy some good tape, as the adhesive on the more expensive ones is better.
- Wire ties – These are almost as useful as duct tape for holding things together when making emergency repairs. Stock a variety of sizes, such as 4″ 8″ and 12″.
- Caulking – For filling in gaps between exterior boards that storms cause. Filling them will help keep your home dry, as well as helping prevent the damage from spreading.
- Plumbing fittings – Make sure you have a selection of elbows, Ts and caps for the sizes and types of plumbing your home has. Some disasters can cause damage to your pipes, in which case the home’s water supply needs to be shut off. By capping the broken parts, you can turn the water back on and have at least some water available to your home.
- Wire nuts & electrical tape – Damage can happen to wiring, just as it can to plumbing. A few wire nuts and some electrical tape can help you to patch up any broken wires, or at least to cap them off.
- Hardware – Keep a good stock of screws and nails in different sizes on hand. You’ll need them in order to use the rest of the materials you’re stockpiling.
- Extension cords – If you’re running your home off of a generator or your solar power system, it might be easier to bypass your home’s wiring and use extension cords to get power to where you need it.
- Rope and Bungees – A long length of rope 550 cords can be used to tie down a tarp, secure doors or leash for a pet. If you’re faced with windy conditions bungee’s can be used to secure a tarp over large roof damage areas keeping it taut.
- Electric Tape
- Multi Color Paint
- Screening – For repairing windows or door screens.
- Cement – Always protect it from moisture.
- Wood Glue
While not part of the materials themselves, you also want to make sure that you have some good tools to work with. Remember, you may not have electrical power, so if all you have are power tools, you may not be able to do much of anything. Make sure you have manual backups for all your power tools.
Here are some examples of hand held tools that does not depend on electricity that you can use.
- Pry Bar
- Claw Hammer
- Hand saws
- Hack Saw with spare blades
- Pliers: Standard, lock and adjustable to several sizes
- Adjustable Wrenches. At least 6 and 8 inch Crescent Wrenches
- Screw Drivers of different sizes: Flat and Philips
- Tape Measure
- Hand Drill
- Brace and Bit
- Star Drills
- Work Gloves (several pairs)
- Pipe Wrenches
- Ratchet Set
- Ladder long enough to reach your roof
- Portable Lighting
If you have enough budget, a chainsaw is a must have most especially if you need to clear large branches of trees that fell in your home. Just make sure that you have at least a basic idea on how to use and operate a chainsaw.
All of these home repair supplies can be purchased at any home improvement stores. While stocking for your emergency home repair supplies won’t come cheap, in case of disaster, these home repair supplies will be worth their weight in precious provisions like water, food and medical supplies. As a homeowner, you should also have a short list of some of the contractors in your area that can provide you structural repairs immediately after a disaster or calamity. This is very important most especially if you do not have any background on how to repair your damaged home because of the calamity.
When disaster strikes, having just a few of these emergency home repair supplies in store can make a big difference not only to you but most especially to your family. Yes, your house will not look and be as good as new (not for a while at least), but having a stock of your very own emergency home repair supplies will assure you that you will go home to a house that is dry, warm and protected from the elements.