Severe storm damage, what now?
April 12, 2016 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Our house was hit with softball size hail, and possibly a localized tornado. Windows shattered, glass everywhere, huge holes in roof, more rain coming. Mitigation team is on the way, but what all should I be aware of, as we start trying to put things back together?

Theoretically, someone is on the way to tarp all the holes, board up all the windows, and make sure it's safe to turn on power and run dehumidifiers, etc. Once basic things like that are done, what should I be aware of as we move towards repairs? I'm just afraid I won't think of something, and then it won't be addressed in time. I'm still a little shell shocked, so I may be leaving out information, but as battery allows, I'll check back in. For the record, we had a brand new, class 4, hail resistant roof...the hail just came right through it like it was paper. We had rain pouring through ceiling fans and other egresses. It's just a big ol mess.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm so sorry this happened to you. :(

You don't say where you're located, but the basics first. Your mitigation team will be able to handle the macro stuff. If you have blueprints to the house that show electrics, you should have them on hand for their reference. All leaks need to be patched and any water that has accumulated from them should be cleaned up as soon as possible to prevent mold. Think outside the box: check closets and cabinets for leaks. Look in your basement and garage (if you have them.) Water can sometimes run through the walls of a house and show up in places far away from an initial opening.

Look over walls to make sure that no leaks are peeking through sheet rock or paint. Dehumidifiers are very important. Ask your mitigation team if you need one in each room where there is damage. Where possible, board up the remaining windows with plywood, not tarp. Make sure that any carpets or area rugs you have are completely dried and cleaned underneath. (Call a professional service / have area rugs dry cleaned if necessary.) You do not want mold growing in your home. It is a pain in the neck to get rid of.

Save all receipts from repair, cleaning, etc., that you outlay. Your insurance company will want them for reimbursement. In a pinch, you may be able to give them credit card receipts.

Get a damage inspection when the storms are over. Make sure they don't just look at windows and walls when assessing damage. Any damage to your roof will need to be repaired. If your shingles were tile, slate, wood or metal you want to make sure they weren't damaged. This includes even minor damage. Dents, cracks, breaks or chips. You do not want to leave these. They can lead to wood rot or mold down the road which can affect the integrity of your roof. If your shingles were asphalt: hail damage on an asphalt roof looks like a dark spot. That's where roofing granules have been physically knocked away. Sometimes people refer to them colloquially as bruises. The granules tend to accumulate in gutters and downspouts and will need to be cleaned away. You also want to pay careful attention to damage to your exterior and interior walls. Lastly, you want to make sure your gutters and downspouts are not dented or broken, and not full of debris.

Good luck!
posted by zarq at 11:38 AM on April 12, 2016 [4 favorites]

Once basic things like that are done, what should I be aware of as we move towards repairs?

i remember near here, a house that was hit by a tree had its occupancy certificate removed by the county, pending repairs: in a worst case scenario, you may have to contend with something like that.
posted by thelonius at 11:45 AM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Photos always. Maybe a self recording as you expose the full degree of mess, never know what will be a memory jogger for the claims.
posted by Freedomboy at 1:42 PM on April 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Update, tarp team still not here. The team with huge industrial room dryers have set up dryers in all the rooms and attic, but it's starting to rain again, and I have 4x4 holes where skylights used to be, as well as all the holes in the roof. I've called the tarp contractors, and they keep promising I'm next on the list, but it's almost 4pm here and they've been saying that since 8am. It's the company my insurance contracted, so I don't know how much leeway I have to just hire one of the teams working on neighbors. I've got a call in to usaa to ask.

I've taken a ton of pictures, but I keep finding more damage, like part of the actual structure looks damaged, and the hail hit so hard, and dug so deep that part of the irrigation system is leaking and I had to shut off the water supply at the street.

I really need tarps on the roof sort of right now, but am at a loss as to how to make that happen. (I'm in a cast from toes to knee, and even if I wasn't, the roof pitch is too steep for anyone who is an amateur to get around up there. )
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 1:59 PM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Post an ad on Craigslist offering to pay someone to do it for you. Make it clear that they need to know what they're doing.

If you have Facebook, join your local neighborhood Facebook group and post on there. There are always plenty of handypeople looking for work.
posted by Slinga at 3:07 PM on April 12, 2016

Call your insurance company that contracts with the tarp people. It's in their best interest to solve this problem quickly.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:09 PM on April 12, 2016

Update, the second. So, some guys showed up, with no materials, then a dude wearing the t-shirt of the company contracted showed up with a couple tarps,but no plywood for the windows and about a tenth of the tarp they needs for the footprint. He then proceeded to argue with me about whether all the holes in the roof needed to be covered, and then argued about whether usaa would pay for boarding up the windows and insinuated that he was going to have to charge extra for going to home depot to get materials, which in my opinion join should have been on the truck, since the interior team had already, theoretically, told them what needed to be done.

Two guys stayed in the truck the whole time, and were super skeevy vibe, so I didn't want them on my property anyway. When I called the contracting company to complain, they apologized and said they had subcontracted the job out, but they hadn't worked with these people before, etc., etc. But the guy who had to get materials for the poor guys on the roof made it clear that he worked for this company all the time, and then he leered at me and was all "ask I guess we'll be seeing each other REAL soon", referring to all the internal construction, which just creeped me right the fuck out. So, either this company sent completely unvetted workers, or they sent a completely incompetent any case, I don't want to hire them for more work.

Now I don't know what I can do to make sure this company does nothing but send someone out to get their dehumidifiers and blowers, but I don't want them in my house for the weeks it's going to take to do all this work. I'm really kinda freaked out about it. I'm going to call USAA in the morning and see if I can get another contractor assigned, or get my own bids for the rest of recovery, but I don't know how to explain that someone makes me feel incredibly unsafe, and he's a lousy contractors to boot and not have them write me off as an hysterical woman.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:35 PM on April 12, 2016

I'm sorry you are having trouble with the (sub)contractors right now. I would not be concerned about coming off as hysterical though. It seems they have acted unprofessionally from the beginning and maybe illegally/unethically with the insinuation of additional charges.

I have USAA insurance myself across many products. In my car insurance repair claims, there has always been a choice to use the recommended shop which USAA can pay directly, minus deductible, or to use a shop of my choice and be reimbursed to the limit of the adjuster's estimate. Also, those estimates can be changed if additional damage is found later on. Good luck.
posted by Talia Devane at 9:38 PM on April 12, 2016

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