Aesthetics, Storage, and Safety: Flood Vents
At a new prefabricated home being built for Rita Gurry, of Manasquan, New Jersey, breakaway walls will consist of painted concrete block. Her builder, Zarrilli Homes, was able to use pressure-treated wood piles with concrete footings for support because Rita's old home, a 1940s Cape-style cottage, was so damaged by Sandy that it had to be demolished.
As at the first two homes mentioned, the major mechanical systems for Rita's home—water heater, electrical panel, and furnace—are being installed above the flood zone in the upper living areas of the house. These will be serviced by waterproof utility connections attached to interior piles. Raising this equipment improves the odds that the house can survive a major storm in habitable condition.
Shown: Flood vents are fitted with mechanized floats that open them automatically, allowing floodwaters to enter and exit without damaging the walls.
Pro tip: "The mantra among contractors along the Shore is 'stronger, better, higher'—and that's the only way to rebuild in flood-prone areas." —Norm Abram, TOH master carpenter