1. Home
  2.  | 
  3. Articles
  4.  | Damage Control



When tragedy strikes your home, there are many options available to address any damage that occurs. Here, Natasha Brennfleck speaks with Grant Jennings, managing director of Jigsaw Projects, to take you through the worst types of damage and the best solutions to recreate your home.




Written by Natasha Brennfleck.

Jigsaw Projects

Specialising in major extensions and renovations of existing homes, Jennings has seen a great amount of damage within properties across Victoria. When it comes to repairing homes, Jennings and his team focus on the ‘three Rs’: reinforcing, rebuilding, and replicating. These elements are integral to any job involving both internal and external repair from structural damage.


For most damage-afflicted Victorian homes, Jennings cites termites and floods as the leading culprits. “Wet rot caused [by] water ingress to the structure … is probably the most common source of damage as well as damage caused by termites,” he explains. “[This water access is] from exposed external elements through a failing roof, guttering or internal wet areas.” Whilst water damage can appear slight on the surface, the destruction can extend beyond the visible interior space. In both [water and termite damage] we typically see the damage affecting structural timber framing members throughout the sub floor, walls, and roof,” Jennings adds.

Jigsaw Projects

If you find damage in your home, Jennings recommends a thorough investigation before jumping into repairs. Exploring the true cause of damage leads to long-term results that avoid simply masking the symptoms. Jennings has experienced many DIY jobs that mask the problem and make the situation worse. “[The underlying issue] may still be causing damage to the structure of the home,” he warns.

When it comes to materials, you want to ensure that you are reinforcing the damaged areas with stronger, more durable materials. For traditional exteriors, cement sheets and sheet metal products are a superior choice. Whilst on the interior, it is advised to choose materials and preparation procedures for surfaces that are best at rejecting moisture absorption, such as ceramic tiling. “Ensure that wet areas are adequately waterproofed prior to tiling,” Jennings suggests. This will maximise the protection of your home’s foundations against further water damage.

Jigsaw Projects


Identifying damage in your home brings its own concerns, whether it’s financial qualms or living arrangements during the restoration. However, there is no denying that despite such obstacles, there are always positives to repairing your humble abode. “A homeowner would be able to take this opportunity to make some changes to their home to improve the liveability of the space,” Jennings says. Whether that is an extension, a restructure, or recladding an internal or external zone, homeowners can recreate their space to suit their needs. “The bonus of repairing a home that you have lived in is that you will have come to know the spaces … and can use that knowledge to make the most of the design.” Jennings elaborates.

Ensuring unity and cohesion throughout the home comes down to important design choices relating to spatial cohesion, materials, and finishes. There are a range of options homeowners can employ to create a unified feel throughout their spaces. “Unity can be achieved simply [through] continuity of features or surfaces between spaces such as a new floor covering,” Jennings expands. “If only part of the home will be altered and the rest left untouched, then unity can still be achieved by selecting materials and colours that flow with the existing home.”

Along with rebuilding in your personal style, the opportunity to retrofit your home with environmentally sustainable materials is growing in popularity. From installing double glazed windows to planting a green roof or installing solar panels, renovating in an environmentally conscious manner has become more achievable in recent years. “Eaves, canopies, or other structures can help protect the home from weathering or shading against harsh summer sun,” Jennings suggests. When it comes to the other internal areas of the house, glazed windows make a huge difference in insulating the home and improving passive solar gain.


Addressing the cause of the damage can result in a total rebuild of spaces in your home, and starting with an idea, plan and commitment to compromise can really pay off in the long run. Whilst it’s important to leave the technical plans up to the trained professionals, Jennings suggests forming your own goals for the build. “It is great to have a vision and design brief, but homeowners [will] also need to keep an open mind when designing [or] planning a renovation,” he says. “[Rebuilding or repairing is] never as simple as following a plan for a new build.”

With the task of retaining as much structural integrity as possible, the process of rebuilding a home is complex and requires a great amount of adaptability, creativity and problem solving. Therefore your home should be fully assessed by professionals before any work commences. “[Trade professionals] can strip things back far enough to make sure that all damaged parts of the home [that may not be immediately visibly evident] are repaired.” While builders will typically strive to retain as much of the original structure and layout as possible to preserve the home’s character and minimise costs, the priority is to reinforce areas with weakened structural integrity.

Rebuilding a damaged property allows homeowners to forge a greater connection with their home and better understand the construction process. Researching and exploring design options is a cost-effective way to rebuild your home if done properly. However, rebuilding your own home requires time, patience, and knowing
your limitations. “Do your research and take your time… know which jobs need to be carried out by a licensed
professional.” Compound your own research with the experience of an exceptional builder, and you will reinvent and reinforce your home for the years ahead.

Images courtesy of Jigsaw Projects