Storm damage to your property can be extremely devastating, leaving behind flooded basements, broken windows, damaged roofs, and various other problems. Depending on where you live, your house may be susceptible to hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, or other extreme weather that can wreak havoc. In 2021, there were 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events across the US, causing $145 billion in damage.
Areas along the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard are especially vulnerable to hurricane damage, while Midwestern states are prone to tornadoes. However, no matter what type of storm hits your area, the aftermath is stressful and requires immediate action to begin the recovery process. Repairing storm damage can be expensive and time-consuming, but taking the right steps can save you from more issues.
Let’s discuss nine crucial things you must do to restore your house after storm damage.
1. Call the Professionals
Your first call should be to a reputable storm damage restoration expert. They can pump out flood waters, board up broken windows, place tarps on damaged roofs, and take other emergency measures to secure your home and belongings from further damage. This way, you may stabilize the situation to begin assessing the full extent of the destruction.
So, approach professional companies like Flood Pros USA to tackle your damage restoration needs. They’ve got certified restoration specialists on board who can cater to your needs using specialized equipment and highly effective techniques. On top of that, they’re available 24/7, so you can call them whenever needed.
2. Document the Damage
In addition to the documentation provided by damage restoration crews, you must thoroughly photograph or video all affected areas yourself. This evidence provides crucial proof for insurance adjusters when filing your claim.
Pay special attention to documenting damage to the building structure, floors, walls, ceilings, windows, doors, and major appliances. Take photographs from multiple angles and distances to fully capture the extent of the damage. Also, photograph any waterlines showing flooding levels. Store these images digitally in a damage report folder on your computer and a secure cloud storage service as a backup. Having thorough photo documentation makes it easier to get your full claim approved.
3. Call Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to begin a claim. Provide comprehensive details on the type of damage incurred, including sharing your photographic documentation. Ask what specific claim requirements you need to fulfill for your policy. This way, you can quickly get the claims process started so adjusters can be promptly assigned to inspect and verify the damage firsthand. Be sure to specifically ask about any temporary housing assistance you may be entitled to if your home is deemed uninhabitable after inspection. It could provide coverage for hotels, apartment rentals, etc.
Also, diligently save all receipts for any emergency repairs or services you paid for out of pocket. These can be submitted for reimbursement.
4. Make Strategic Temporary Repairs
Once immediate safety issues are addressed, you can make well-planned temporary fixes to prevent further damage from occurring. Carefully cover broken windows and holes in the roof or walls using plywood, tarps, or heavy plastic sheeting to keep the elements out. Strategically place buckets underneath leaks. If electricity is out, quickly throw away perishable foods to avoid spoilage and contamination.
You can also rent a generator to temporarily operate essential appliances like refrigerators and sump pumps until power is restored.
5. Vet and Hire Reputable Contractors
Restoring extensive storm damage requires hiring specialty contractors like plumbers, electricians, roofers, carpenters, and general contractors. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals to ones they trust. Thoroughly research and vet any you find online through reviews, checking qualifications, and contacting references to verify quality work. Also, confirm they have proper licensing and insurance for the work. Get at least three written estimates for big jobs and sign an agreement detailing the exact repair scope and costs to avoid surprises. Taking time to find the right pros pays off.
6. Inspect for Structural Damage
Severe storms can critically compromise the foundational integrity and structure. Have both a certified building inspector and a structural engineer fully inspect the foundation, roof, load-bearing walls, and other key structural components for issues. Their professional reports will guide the necessary repairs and reinforcements needed to properly stabilize the building for safety and longevity.
Before repairing any interior finishes or non-structural items, this structural assessment must be done. Safety and proper structural soundness come first.
7. Hire Experts to Dry Out Flooded Areas
Floodwaters can quickly warp wood floors and breed dangerous mold if not promptly addressed. Call professional water damage restoration contractors with specialized, high-powered drying equipment to fully dry out flooded basements, crawlspaces, and other water-logged areas.
They can also treat affected areas with EPA-registered antimicrobial products to prevent mold growth. Once completely dry per moisture meter readings, have a contractor thoroughly assess if the water caused any hidden structural damage.
8. Repair or Replace the Roof
One of the most vulnerable components of your home is the roof. Storms often tear off shingles, damage the underlying water barrier and sheathing, and bend flashing. Leaks must be fixed immediately to prevent costly interior water damage.
A reputable roofer can temporarily patch any problem areas, then do more permanent repairs or full replacement once your insurance claim is processed.
9. Restore Damaged Interior Finishes
Once all structural repairs are fully made, it’s time to refinish damaged interior spaces. And this may require replacing drywall, insulation, carpeting, cabinets, and other finishes. If walls are flooded, remove drywall and insulation up to two feet above the waterline to prevent hidden mold growth—document removal for insurance reimbursement purposes. Take time to make careful interior finish repairs so there are no lingering issues afterward.
Recovering from storm damage takes time, but following these steps will help restore your home to its pre-storm condition. Taking quick action secures the building, protects belongings, gets the claims process going, allows you to make temporary fixes, and hire experts. With the structural integrity re-established, interior repairs can then take place. Finally, implement better preparedness to minimize damage from the next storm. Stay organized, document everything, and hire experienced contractors to restore your home.