Jersey Shore Rebuilds: Before
Six months after Superstorm Sandy, the TOH TV crew visits the New Jersey Shore for an eight-part special series. Episodes premiere October 3 on PBS
On the next season of This Old House, the show will go to the coast of New Jersey, where Superstorm Sandy hit hardest in October of 2012. The first eight episodes of the season will follow three houses—one dating from the 1880s and two that were built in the mid-20th century—as they undergo extensive rebuilding before the next hurricane season comes around.
Homeowners in Bay Head, Point Pleasant, and Manasquan have invited the TOH TV cameras to document their progress as they tear out, tear down, rebuild, and raise up their houses, which all took in several feet of water when the storm surge flooded most of the state coast. In addition, host Kevin O'Connor, himself a Jersey native who spent summers at the shore, will blog about his experiences revisiting a place dear to his heart and give an insider's view of what's happening as the entire region tries to come back from this devestating storm.
The Jersey Shore Rebuilds episodes premiere on October 3, 2013, on PBS. Check local listings for air times in your area.
The Lairds own this 1880s seasonal Shore cottage, which took on 5 feet of water during Hurricane Sandy. The house has been lifted a few feet off the ground for the time being so that the first-floor structure can be replaced before it is raised to its final height.
The Lairds' house is on a narrow street that, typical of their 3-block-wide Shore town, runs between the head of Barnegat Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
The remodeled house will feature a small second-story addition in the rear to create a master suite.
Jed and Chris will try to salvage and reinstall the damaged portions of the original beadboard from the house's first floor (visible left-center in the photo).
The first-floor kitchen is being rebuilt with new appliances. "After the flood, we found the fridge planted face-down on the floor," says Jed.
The house's second, non-functioning chimney will be repaired so that it matches the functional one from the exterior.
Instead of being jacked up from below, the house was raised to its current height by sliding beams through the first-floor windows and hoisting them from above. The beams are now underneath the house and will be used later to jack up the home to its final height.
The home of Carlos and Maria Santos and their family rises to its new height on cribbing. Underneath the house, which was built in the 1950s and expanded in the 1980s, a new foundation will be built on special piles.
Tall exterior stairs will be required to reach the home at its new height. "Basically, our entire house will be sitting on an aboveground basement," Carlos said. The former garage will become living space.
The Santos family is eager to move back into their home. "We've had to pay for most of the work out of pocket so far," says Carlos, adding that navigating the insurance and government-assistance paperwork is "a full-time job."
From the outside, Rita Gurry's mainland 1940s home appears to have weathered the storm fairly well. Inside, however, is a different story. Floodwaters rendered the home a total loss.
Ms. Gurry, a semi-retired nurse, had paid off the mortgage on her home just a few weeks before the storm hit. Insurance payments covered only a portion of the rebuilding costs.
Although wind damage was minimal, the flood left Gurry's home contaminated by mold. Here, in preparation for demolition, some interior furnishings have been removed.
Rather than trying to repair her modest cottage, Gurry hired a local modular-housing contractor, Zarrilli Homes, to recreate it with all-new materials, appliances, and finishes.
In the bathroom, an old layer of pink ceramic wall tile peeks out from behind beadboard paneling pocked with black mold.
Among other damage, the force of the floodwaters tore the backyard deck off its foundation.