No matter where you live, you’re sure to both enjoy great weather some of the time and also deal with severe weather. Tropical storms, tornadoes, and heavy wind and snow can all cause major damage to your home and property. This article will give you an inside scoop on the best practices for wind damage restoration and wind damage cleanup.
First, Assess The Damage & Make a Plan
The first step to restoration for any hazard is to assess the damage, so you can make a plan for restoration. Always be cautious when walking around after a storm. Look for hazards like broken glass, precarious branches and trees, or broken electrical lines. You’ll want to look for several kinds of damages on your property.
1. Exterior Damages
Can you see any visible damages to the outside of the building? Check for damaged gutters; broken, missing, or displaced roof shingles; broken windows and window panes; dented siding; and discoloration or chipping on the sides of the house. Check the entire exterior thoroughly and note both major and minor damage.
2. Interior Damages
Before you run your central A/C unit after the storm, you’ll need to check it for damage. Turn it off at the thermostat, turn the circuit breaker for the unit off and on, then wait 30 minutes before turning the thermostat back on. If there is any risk that water damage is present, you’ll also need to have your furnace, ventilation system, and electrical system checked by a professional before use.
3. Water Damages
Water damage can be the most destructive form of damage. Left unchecked, it can lead to massive mold growth in your home that will require professional intervention. Check for stains and leaks in the walls, ceiling, flooring, and check the attic or crawlspace. Be sure to check for flooding in the basement as well. Even with no visible water damage, any leaks in the roof may mean water damage in the insulation or drywall.
4. Fall Damages
In high winds, trees and even other buildings can put your home at risk. If you have trees or external buildings (like a shed) on your property, there may be damage from things falling onto or being blown into your home. Any tree or structure that has become unstable is a risk, and needs to be dealt with quickly before it can fall and cause further damage.
Be Sure to Check for Hidden Damages
Sometimes damages are present from storms that are not obvious at first sight. Depending on the severity of the storm and other damages, hidden damages can go unnoticed for a long time and cause problems later. The homeowner will need to put a fair amount of effort into finding any hidden damages. You can’t lay out an effective recovery plan until you know about all of the damage.
Hidden damages can be sneaky. We’ve discussed water damage, which can cause huge mold issues down the line from just a small unnoticed leak. Any chips or cracks should be dealt with as soon as possible, in case they are a source of a leak. Water can also hide in crawl spaces, walls, and furnishings like rugs or upholstered furniture. Additionally, if there is any chance that water damage came from floodwater or contaminated water, it’s essential to disinfect every surface thoroughly and throw away any furnishings (anything porous or fabric) that are difficult to clean.
Electrical hazards can be especially dangerous. Downed power lines should be avoided and always treated as live. Disrupted electricity on your own property can also be risky to check out. During a flood or extreme storm, shut off the power to the house and don’t turn it back on until the system has been checked out by an electrician. Even without visible damage, always be cautious dealing with electricity after a flood.
Storms that disrupt your life disrupt the natural wildlife too. After a severe storm, you may find a higher number of insects like mosquitoes, spiders, cockroaches, and others. You may also see more snakes that have been displaced by the storm—hopefully you don’t have to worry about stray alligators like in Florida! Be very cautious anytime you find wildlife on your property like snakes or spiders.
Take Pictures & Contact Insurance Provider
Before getting started with the restoration process, it’s a good practice to take pictures of the damages and to contact the insurance provider so that making a claim for it doesn’t become troublesome. The more you document the damage with pictures and walkthrough video, the easier the insurance claims process will be. After the damages (depending on your policy), you may have only 2 weeks to file a claim, so the sooner you get this process started the better.
Remove Any Trees or Objects That Have Fallen Over the House
If a tree, pole, or something similar has fallen over the house, that must be removed before any other repairs can take place. Depending on the scale of the object, it can risk the structural stability of the house, and make it dangerous to be in the house at all. It is very much not advised to remove the tree or object yourself, because it can be a dangerous process, and any mistakes can lead to worse damage to the roof.
The tree removal or disaster restoration company will begin by inspecting the property for any signs that the house is dangerous to be in. A destabilized foundation, instability, or any uprooted cables or gas lines are signs of this. The house may be determined to be unlivable while the object is removed and the damage repaired. After the object has been removed, then the process of checking for structural damage and repairing the roof begins.
Fixing Your Roof
In a strong wind, the roof is often severely damaged, particularly when it is not in mint condition. After you’ve completed your inspection for missing, lifted, or damaged shingles, you’ll need to check for further damage to the roof deck. In the case of a large scrape or missing shingles, you will need to call an expert to fix the damage or replace the roof.
The damage may be too much to fix yourself. After calling the professionals, the number one thing you can do while waiting to have it repaired is to prevent further damage. You can spread tarps over the damaged areas to prevent water leaking in the house, and clear out the gutters so there is no standing water on and around the roof. Carefully remove any small objects, like moderate-sized tree branches, that have made their way onto the roof.
Repairing Damaged Doors & Windows
Windows are a common victim of wind damage, and doors aren’t spared either. High winds can break windows and stir up debris that can damage windows, window panes, and doors. In such a case, it is crucial to block any openings with boards or tarps until the damage can be repaired.
Broken or damaged windows and doors can let water in, causing water damage and risk of mold. If a window has broken, be cautious of any broken glass. It might be worth installing storm shutters or reinforced glass for the next storm.
Following a property assessment and addressing urgent problems, the next step should be to clean up any debris caused by the wind or storm. While you can always hire a company to help clear away debris, this is an aspect of wind damage restoration that you can tackle. Just don’t forget to protect yourself by wearing protective gear like sturdy boots and gloves, goggles, and full-coverage clothes.
Start with the biggest items and work your way down. Fallen trees and branches can be cut up into manageable pieces and taken to a chipping service, while trash and broken items can be removed and taken away with the trash. Always be careful of any broken glass or metal debris, which can be dangerous and hard to spot.
It’s essential to remove all debris on your property. When debris is left piled on your land or near your house, it can hold moisture and lead to issues with mold and rot, and become a haven for insects and snakes.
Clean Up Water Damage
As we discussed earlier, water damages are extremely common with the kinds of storms with high winds and lots of precipitation. We strongly encourage that you call on a professional to assess water damage, especially if there has been any flooding in the area. Flood water is always considered contaminated, and can contain dangerous substances like raw sewage. Harmful molds and bacteria can begin to grow in wet materials after only 24 hours, so it is essential to treat the problem quickly and effectively.
Any standing water must be pumped out before you can start working on the water damage. Standing water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects, and can endanger the structural stability of the house if left unchecked.
When there is no standing water, the next step is to dry and dehumidify the space. While mops and towels can remove a lot of the water, using a dehumidifier is essential to remove any moisture that was missed. Remove materials that can hold onto water, like rugs and carpets or upholstered furniture. These items will need to be completely cleaned and sanitized to prevent mold or mildew forming, or thrown away.
Staying Prepared for The Next Hurricane Season
Hurricane season, which lasts from June to November, causes massive amounts of damage all over the country. Tropical storms, torrential rain, high winds, tornadoes, and hail can also cause catastrophic damage. However, there are a few things that you as a homeowner can do to be prepared for hurricane season and minimize wind damage to your home as much as possible.
1. Protect your windows and doors
Install storm shutters or nail plywood to the outside window and door frames to prevent the glass breaking, or doors caving in high winds.
2. Clear potential debris
Anything in your yard or on your porch has the potential to become dangerous during high winds. Clear away any items in your yard or on your porch, such as bikes, grills, lawn furniture, etc. For trees and vegetation in the yard, trim away any weak branches or areas that hang close to the house to prevent winds from blowing branches into your home and causing damage.
3. Seal weak spots
Seal any gaps or cracks you spot where pipes or wires enter the house. This will prevent high winds making the damage worse or threatening the structural stability of the home. Check the roof as well, for any weakened or damaged spots that could let water in or get torn away in high winds.
4. Close the doors
Something as simple as closing interior doors can help to protect your roof. Closing interior doors compartmentalizes the pressure and reduces stress on the roof.
Get Professional Help
While there are times when you can repair parts of a home damaged by high winds yourself, there are also times when you really need to call in the experts. In cases of severely damaged houses, getting professional help is a better choice.
It can be dangerous to attempt to remove debris, clear flooded water, repair the roof, and restore water damage in a house with significant damage. Trying to DIY a fix can even lead to worse damage that could have been avoided by calling a professional from the start.
When the bad storms come and your house suffers for it, Demarco Restoration is here for you. Our wind damage restoration services will get your home back to normal as quickly as possible for the least disruption to your life. Call any time for a free consultation. Our disaster restoration experts are on call 24/7 and will be at your door in 90 minutes or less. Don’t wait to call and receive expert help with restoring your property after a severe storm.