Storm Damage Restoration
As climate change begins to have major effects on the global weather patterns, hurricanes and storms are likely to become more common in the United States. In 2005, the U.S. experienced a record number of named hurricanes at the time – 28. In 2020, the hurricane season produced 30 named storms, suggesting that storms are likely to become an increasingly common feature in the US. Storms can cause a wide range of damage to homes, running the full gamut from loss of power to total destruction of a neighborhood.
Nowhere in the United States is truly free from storms, although some areas are more prone to them than others. In these cases, it’s vital to have a restoration game plan. Researching different storm damage restoration companies in advance is critical so that you know who to call when the worst happens. Depending on the type of storms you face, you may need to call different restoration experts, since the damage you experience is likely to differ. See our storm damage scenarios page to read more on the range of home issues that can result from storms.
The below guide will discuss different types of storms and their impact so you know what to expect. Use this as the first step in your restoration plan. Predicting the type of damage will shape how you prepare and, most importantly, how you rebound from a storm.
If you experience flood damage, then you will absolutely need a professional restoration company to help you. Flood water contains a large number of biohazards, and so your home will need to be properly cleaned and sanitized – not to mention have the odors removed post-flooding.
Given the danger of working with biohazards, it’s not possible for you to complete this work yourself. A professional restoration company will have the right tools, experts, and expertise to help you with the damage. See our page on the average cost of water damage restoration for pricing information.
You should ensure that you take every precaution when you are working with floodwaters. Wear boots, gloves, and eye protection at the very least since it’s likely that the water contains a number of biohazards that include sewage.
A professional restoration company will usually do the following works to help get your home back to normal:
VACUUMING OUT THE REMAINING WATER
Once the standing water is gone, it’s important to try and remove as much moisture as possible. Although your carpets may be beyond salvaging, a professional will vacuum all fabric.
Dehumidifying the area is an important step in drawing further moisture out of the space.
REMOVING DAMAGED FABRICS
Some of your drapes, carpets, rugs, and furniture may simply have absorbed too much water. A restoration expert will be able to advise what is beyond repair.
SANITIZING THE SPACE
The most important final step is to sanitize your home. A restoration team will use special detergents to clean the affected area. This not only helps prevent mold but also ensures the space is safe for use and will remove the odors that can linger after flood damage.
RESTORING ELECTRICAL DAMAGE
If your home is affected by a storm, some of the most dangerous damage is to electrical equipment. Whether it’s a wind or ice storm, or a flood, the ability of power lines to be damaged, or for water and electricity to mix is a real and present danger.
If your home has experienced some form of electrical damage, safety is extremely important. If you are not well-versed in electrical safety or feel uncomfortable dealing with the issue, call a professional electrician to help. This is particularly true if you are dealing with water damage as well since this can cause unexpected electrical problems.
An electrical professional will be able to do the following:
Disconnecting appliances from the power source
In the case of extensive damage, this may include cutting power to the entire house. It is particularly important you allow a professional to do this as most breaker boxes are designed to be raintight, but won’t stand up to a major storm.
Examining damage to wiring
In particular, an electrician will be able to run tests to see if there are frayed wires even within the walls.
Determining the extent of the damage
There are cases of individuals being electrocuted by metal fences after a storm, as utility lines may have fallen on the fence some distance away. For this reason, you should always let professionals give the all-clear before assuming you are safe.
If you suspect power lines or other utilities have been damaged, you should call the city or the utility company. Trees falling during storms often lead to downed power lines, which can be extremely dangerous. At no point should you even attempt to go near a downed power line, as they can pass charge through the ground to the surrounding earth.
After a bad storm, it’s likely that the exterior of your home has taken a serious battering. Although restoration usually focuses on the immediate dangers, such as electrical issues, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to address exterior damage. Most of the problems that come from exterior damage are long term and can be extremely expensive if left unchecked. Again, it’s better in these instances to have a professional contractor come and assess the damage. They will usually do the following:
Check the roof for missing shingles
Shingles regularly get pulled from roofs by storms. In addition to forming dangerous projectiles, a missing shingle is bad news as it allows moisture to get into your home. Even one missing shingle can cause water to enter your home and lead to mold and structural damage. It’s important that a professional undertakes this work as moving around on a roof with missing or loose shingles can be extremely dangerous.
Suggest a temporary fix
If the damage to your roof or walls is major, a contractor will be able to put a temporary watertight solution in place to keep out the elements. Not only does this ensure that your home remains livable, but also that damage doesn’t continue to accrue.
Address structural damage
In the most severe cases, a storm may have caused structural damage to your home. This means that there is an urgent need for a major solution. A professional will be able to determine how bad the structural damage is, and how possible it is to address it. This can get expensive, although it’s better than having your home be unsafe, or ignoring it and potentially causing more damage (and a more expensive solution) later down the line.
RESTORING PLUMBING AFTER STORMS
Plumbing isn’t usually the first thing you think of as getting damaged during a storm. Most pipes and appliances are safely tucked away underground or inside your home. However, even a small crack or detachment can cause major damage to your home.
Because of that, if you suspect any damage to the plumbing, you should call in a professional plumber to undertake a full inspection. This is particularly important, as the damage may be in part of the pipe that you can’t see from the surface. A professional plumber will be able to use camera snakes to check the entire length of your pipe system. On top of this, they will be able to do the following:
Check all the water valves to the toilets and sinks. These help to prevent backflow in the case of flooding. If these are damaged, it may be necessary to shut off all the water to your home.
Fix any problems with the sewer line. Naturally, this is the most unpleasant plumbing problem you could have in your home. A professional plumber will not only diagnose problems but will be able to fix it – including unclogging pipes.
Run a safety check. As mentioned above, water and electricity don’t mix. If you suspect damage to your pipes, a plumber will be able to determine whether this has impacted your home’s electrics and either fix it themselves or recommend an electrician who can.
Ultimately, there’s very little you can do to prevent a storm from damaging your home. However, what you can do is respond quickly when it does. Central to this is preparation. Being prepared to deal with different types of damage will help you to act when the worst does happen.
Some of the work you can do yourself, although the vast majority will require professional help. Calling in the right team can be the difference between hundreds of dollars of damage, and thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars.
Responding quickly is also important because it’s likely that, in the aftermath of a storm, large numbers of people will be attempting to access restoration help. While others are phoning to get quotes, you can already have the restoration team on the way to your home. Here are some of the top water damage restoration service companies.