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Hurricane Proof Modular Homes Are Helping Rebuild New Jersey

A modular home being set in place in New Jersey will be featured on a segment of the PBS program 'This Old House'.

“This Old House,” the PBS home-improvement and remodeling television show, was on location in New Jersey to film the installation of a hurricane-proof, custom modular home.

The house is on East Main Street and belongs to Rita Gurry. Her former home, which sat at the same location, was demolished as a result of damage from Sandy.

“I had a little Cape that then Sandy came to town and I had 3 ½ feet of water in my home.”

Her first floor was ruined, and mold was a threat to claim the rest. Gurry decided then to have the home knocked down and have a new modular home installed. Her new residence is a Cape with a Salt Box shape roof.

She didn’t want to deal with all the individual contractors when building a stick built home. Building a modular home made this a “cakewalk.”

The house was fabricated in a factory and delivered to the site in two boxed sections. It was placed on a foundation of 37 pilings.

The pilings will be enclosed by masonry with smart vents built in. The vents, one for every 200 square feet of concrete, will allow water to flow in and out in the event of a flood. Water recession and pressure is what blew out a lot of foundations during Sandy.

This modular home was also hurricane strapped and bolted to survive 120 mph winds.

The home was delivered at 8 a.m. and by noon it was already snapped together on its foundation. It has four bedrooms, and 2½ baths.

Modular homes might become very popular during rebuilding New Jersey after hurricane Sandy.

“We’ve told the modular home story before. But my thoughts is you’re going to see a lot more folks down the Shore doing this because of the efficiency, speed and cost.”

The home is almost finished. There is work left installing siding, roofing, hardwood floors and marble counter tops. But for Gurry it was relief to see her new home coming to life.

“At 8 o’clock this morning there was just pilings. I was still in limbo. At noon I have my life back,” said Gurry. “They turned something that was so dramatic to me, into one of the most memorable moments of my life.”

For more information on building a modular home in New Jersey, contact Avalon Building Systems.

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