After the Storm

What to do when spring showers bring disaster

By Amy Neeley

While spring is the season when nature comes back to life, it's often ushered in by storms, followed by expensive home repairs.


Carrollton homeowners Stan and Sherry Kessel know all too well what nature can do. His 2,000 square-foot  house sustained nearly $36,000 in hail damages in 2003.


"The roof had to be replaced. The solar heater was completely destroyed. We had 300 and some odd holes in the greenhouse," he says. "It literally broke so many things; it was unbelievable - the trim on the windows, the glass on the windows... the furniture in the back yard... the gutters."


The homeowner's contractor hired Ron Williams, of Ron Williams Construction.  He has seen a wide variety of damage caused by North Texas storms.  "High winds can cause shingles to blow off and then, in turn, water will enter the house," Williams says. Lightning can "knock a chimney right off" and melt wiring inside of walls. 


After torrential rains and flooding hit Dallas last spring, Ross Morrell, owner of Fire and Flood Repair in Plano, witnessed the devastation. "I had three or four jobs [where] literally the basements filled up with water," Morrell says.  "You could've swam in four, five, six feet of water."


After water damage has occurred, "ninety percent of the time, we may have to remove most contents out of the house,"  Morrell says. From there, he lists which items are destroyed, and items that are salvageable go into a storage unit.


Depending on what type of water damage occurs, extracting units, fans and blowers are used to dry out the house. Morrell says he does not try to repair or clean items that are unsalvageable. If a belonging is worth saving, he then refers the homeowner to repair/refurbishing companies.


Whether it's a destroyed roof that needs to be boarded up, water removal or other types of serious damage, immediately contact a contractor or restoration service to "mitigate the loss" and prevent further damage, says Ray Dettmer, president of Skillful Improvements and Restoration in Mesquite. He also recommends that if the house has water accumulation in the walls or on the floor, the homeowner needs to turn off the circuit breakers to avoid possible electrocution.


Once the immediate emergency has been contained, a homeowner should contact his or her insurance company for an adjuster to be sent to the home so an estimate can be written, and repairs by a contractor can begin.


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