The Aftermath of the Storm: A Homeowner’s Guide to Storm Damage Restoration

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When a heavy storm strikes, it can leave behind serious destruction in its wake. Storm damage can completely devastate a home, from downed trees to collapsed roofs. As daunting as the aftermath may appear, taking prompt action is key to restoring your home. This guide covers everything homeowners need to know following storm damage, from documenting the initial destruction to finding qualified contractors for professional restoration services.

The Aftermath of the Storm

Understanding Storm Damage

Storms can manifest in various forms, each capable of inflicting unique damage on your home. Here’s a breakdown of the most common types of storm damage and the signs to watch out for:

Wind Damage:

Hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, and tropical storms can all generate extremely high winds that tear away roofs, siding, gutters, and other exterior structural elements. Watch for peeled back roof shingles, damaged vents, cracked windows, shredded landscaping, and toppled large trees leaning precariously after high wind events.

Hail Damage:

Large hail stones accompanying severe thunderstorms cause surprisingly extensive destruction to roofs, vehicles, and outdoor structures. Multiple small dents covering the entire surface indicate damage from a hail storm versus isolated deeper impacts from fallen tree branches, which otherwise might appear similar at first glance.

Rain Damage:

Tropical storms and even typical heavy regional rainstorms bring flooding risks ranging from a few inches in a basement to multiple feet, submerging entire homes. Signs include water stains on interior walls and ceilings, moisture under flooring, standing puddles lingering days after rain, and wet mud accumulated in yards.

Lightning Damage:

The tremendous jolt of electricity from a lightning strike can destroy home electrical and HVAC systems even without visible exterior damage. Pay attention to frequent blown light bulbs, flickering lights, or electronic devices that are no longer functioning properly after a storm.

Taking Immediate Action After a Storm

The first 24-48 hours after a storm are crucial. Here are some steps you should take to protect your property and minimize further damage:

Ensure Your Safety:

Avoid downed power lines and unstable trees after a storm until certified crews deem them safe. Wear appropriate protective gear during cleanup, such as closed-toe shoes, long pants and sleeves, work gloves, and goggles.

Document the Damage:

Photograph or video record all destruction and make detailed written notes for insurance claims and restoration plans. Where possible, date and time stamp images as documentation.

Secure Your Property:

Cover broken windows, damaged roofs, and exposed interior rooms to prevent further weather damage or theft. But avoid sealing off spaces before completing drying procedures, as mold could spawn.

Contact Your Insurance Company:

Notify them of property damage right away and ask about claim filing procedures, needed documentation, approved contractors, and timelines associated with your specific policy. If you can safely retrieve pertinent documents like your policy declaration from a storm-damaged home, do so.

Mitigate Further Damage:

Removing fallen trees, clearing debris-filled rain gutters, or pumping out flooded basements prevents the amplified destruction a delay could cause. However, extensive repairs should wait for professional assessments.

Assessing the Damage and Considering Storm Damage Restoration

When the dust settles in the days following a storm, sorting through the aftermath poses an overwhelming task for already-taxed homeowners. Determining what requires immediate attention, what can wait, and just how extensive repairs might be takes an expert’s eye. Before beginning extensive repairs, investing in a professional on-site assessment brings immense value.

Here’s what a professional assessment typically entails:


An experienced technician will evaluate the exterior and interior of your home, documenting all evident damage through notes, photos/videos, and moisture readings. They will determine safety and stability hazards that require priority handling, identify extra hidden issues not visible on the surface, and classify damage originating from the recent event versus pre-existing conditions.

Damage Assessment:

Next, the technician interprets how building systems and structural elements interconnect so that threats are appropriately flagged. For example, electrical damage may be detected confined to a fuse box, but upon tracing wires, a far more extensive rebuild affecting walls and appliances emerges.

Cost Estimate:

With a firm grasp of the scope of restoration needed, technicians generate a detailed damage summary with projected costs for each phase, from emergency repairs through long-term rebuilding efforts. This allows homeowners to plan financially and make strategic decisions on contracting services within insurance coverage limits. Based on policy provisions, technicians can direct homeowners on the best routes for filing claims or self-funding restorations.

Scheduling Services:

With authorization from the homeowner, the company schedules skilled crews to initiate restoration procedures based on the assessment report and identified priorities. Projects range from quick emergency cleanups like tree removal to extensive, months-long rebuilds.

Ongoing Project Management:

Throughout the repairs, the company serves as a liaison between insurance adjusters and various contractors required for the multifaceted repairs. They ensure seamless handoffs between phases, facilitate payments and paperwork, and assume responsibility for delivering a fully restored home by projected deadlines, barring unforeseen circumstances out of their control, such as weather delays or shipping issues.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional Restoration Company

While it may be tempting to tackle storm damage repairs yourself, there are several advantages to hiring a professional restoration company:


Professional technicians regularly encounter residential storm damage, and they possess knowledge beyond that of a typical homeowner when it comes to constructing lasting repairs that meet modern safety codes and requirements.


Contractors have extensive equipment, from loud drying machines to hazardous materials supplies, that are costly and unnecessary for an average homeowner to own for a one-off event.


Storm damage restoration comprises various specialties—cleaning teams, drywall installers, structural engineers, mold remediation crews, and so forth. A general contractor coordinates seamlessly between them, preventing improperly sequenced work that homeowner-orchestrated piecemeal hiring might inadvertently yield.

Insurance Claims:

Contractors routinely handle claims, providing the right documentation for maximum coverage, meeting adjuster inspection appointments, and ensuring repairs adhere to insurance-outlined specifications.

The Storm Damage Restoration Process

The storm damage restoration process typically involves several key steps:

Emergency Services:

The first priority is clearing safety hazards through tree removal, roof tarping, and water extraction before irreversible damage sets in. Simultaneously, drying equipment is installed to inhibit mold growth.


With hazards stabilized, technicians perform holistic interior and exterior inspections to ascertain the extent of the damage. This shapes a strategic plan for repair processes given unique circumstances like lead paint, asbestos, or historic building restrictions.

Water Removal and Drying:

Using specialized hydro vacuuming trucks and drying technology like air movers and dehumidifiers, crews systematically extract standing floodwater and accelerate moisture evaporation throughout dwellings, down to the substrate beneath flooring and behind walls, where untended moisture enables mold, bacteria, and structural decay. Monitoring with infrared cameras ensures thorough drying.

Content Cleaning and Restoration:

Belongings like furniture and other possessions get carefully inventoried, transported offsite to cleaning facilities if necessary, and treated to halt contamination using techniques like ozone treatment for smoke removal and deodorization.

Structural Repairs:

Foundation, load-bearing, and framing repairs take priority before patching walls, ceilings, or ancillary spaces reliant on the underlying structural stability. Officials inspect the building at completion before permitting the closing of the walls.

Walls and Surfaces:

Insulation, drywall, plaster, or paneling gets removed and replaced along with finishes like trim, paint, and wallpaper. Floors may also need sanding or replacement if damage penetration proves too extensive.

Roof Repair or Replacement:

Most storm damage requires roof replacement, although less catastrophic damage might qualify for intensive repairs. This extensive project involves coordinated staging with structural enhancements mid-process. It must be timely and require favorable weather that service pros schedule judiciously.


Storm destruction can instantly upend orderly lives in aggravating ways. But just as the climate delivers unpredictably fierce conditions, so too can skilled disaster recovery teams help transform ravaged homes into restored sanctuaries yet again. Launching quickly into informed action minimizes additional household chaos. By understanding common damage patterns, strategically addressing immediate safety issues, thoroughly documenting destruction origins, and summoning the experience of qualified restoration contractors for lasting repairs, storm-weary homeowners recover their breath and, ultimately, their beloved abodes as well.

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