When the skies clear and the storm subsides, the aftermath of a storm can be overwhelming. The unpredictability of storm damage can range from minor issues like broken tree limbs to major structural damages from hurricanes or blizzards. As the dust settles, it’s crucial to assess the damage and take immediate action. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the challenging path of storm damage repairs.
Understanding the Unpredictability of Storm Damage
Storms are unpredictable, and their aftermath can be devastating. Whether it’s a tree limb crashing through your window, structural damage from a hurricane, or the weight of snow causing a roof collapse, the threats are real and varied. Once you’ve ensured the safety of your family, it’s time to evaluate the damage and decide on the next steps.
The Immediate Aftermath: Assessing the Damage
Post-storm, the first step is to ensure the well-being of yourself and your loved ones. Once safety is confirmed:
Inspect for Water Damage: Check for any signs of water intrusion, which can lead to mold growth and structural issues.
Evaluate Structural Damage: Look for cracks in walls, damaged roofs, or broken windows.
Document Everything: Take photos and notes of all damages. This will be crucial for insurance claims.
When to Call in the Professionals
While minor damages might be manageable, significant issues require expert attention. Here’s when you should consider professional help:
Extensive Water Damage: If multiple areas of your home are affected, it’s best to call in experts who can efficiently dry out spaces and prevent mold growth.
Structural Concerns: If there’s damage to the foundation or load-bearing walls, it’s crucial to get an expert opinion.
Electrical Issues: Water damage can compromise electrical systems. If you suspect any issues, call a professional before turning on lights or appliances.
Minnesota Restoration Services: Your Trusted Partner
In times of distress, having a reliable partner can make all the difference. Johnson Exteriors is a trusted name when it comes to storm damage repairs. Johnson Exteriors ensures rapid response and efficient solutions.
The Repair Process: What to Expect
Once you’ve decided to seek professional help, here’s a brief overview of the repair process:
Assessment: A team will inspect the damage, providing a comprehensive overview and suggested course of action.
Quotation: Based on the assessment, you’ll receive a detailed quote for the repairs.
Restoration: The team will begin the restoration process, ensuring your home returns to its pre-damage state.
Documentation: Johnson Exteriors will provide all necessary documentation for insurance claims, ensuring a smooth process.
Protecting Your Home from Future Storms
While we can’t control the weather, we can take steps to minimize potential damage:
Tree Maintenance: Regularly trim trees and remove dead limbs.
Roof Checks: Ensure your roof is in good condition, replacing damaged shingles or tiles.
Gutter Maintenance: Clean gutters regularly to prevent water buildup and potential roof damage.
Secure Outdoor Items: Before a storm, secure or store outdoor furniture, decorations, and other items that could become projectiles.
Remember, while nature’s fury can be overwhelming, with the right precautions and a trusted partner like Johnson Exteriors, you can navigate the challenges of storm damage repairs with confidence. Stay safe and prepared!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What are the common types of storm damage?
Storms can cause a variety of damages to structures. Some of the most common types include:
Flooding: This can lead to saturated building components below an identifiable water line, structural/foundation instability due to soil washout, and structural displacement from hydrostatic forces.
High Wind Speeds: Damage can range from detachment of exterior finishes or cladding, interior water damage due to storm-created openings, to structural instability or collapse.
Other Conditions: These can be misidentified as storm damage, such as cracks due to normal building movement, interior water damage at pre-existing openings, or damage from previous events.
2. How do I determine if my building is in a flood hazard area?
To determine if your building is in a flood hazard area, you’ll need to identify the applicable flood zone. This designation is established by FEMA and translated to local jurisdictions through the publication of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). You can find digital versions of FIRMs at the FEMA Map Service Center.
3. What should I consider when repairing or replacing windows and doors after storm damage?
When damage occurs to openings in the building envelope, the replacement window and door units must meet the current building code requirements. This could include resistance to high wind loads or protection from debris impact, depending on the geographic location of the structure. Protection of the new or replacement window and door openings are required when the structure is located within the “wind borne debris region.”
4. How do I determine the repair cost after storm damage?
When calculating the cost of repairs, most expenses associated with the repair work should be included, such as labor, materials, finishes, fixtures, appliances, HVAC equipment, and the contractor overhead and profit. These values must be calculated at fair market value. However, certain expenses, like costs to produce plans or building permit fees, are not included in the calculation.
5. How do I know if my building is historically significant?
A building being old doesn’t automatically make it historic. To determine if a building is historically significant, it should be accredited as having historic significance by a recognized federal, state, or local agency having authority to do so. Contacting the local or state historic preservation office (SHPO) can provide more information related to historic structures and their designation.
6. What steps should I take if my building has sustained substantial structural damage?
If it’s found that the damage rises to the level of substantial structural damage, the structure will need to be restored to its original code with the potential for an increase in the original environmental design loads. It’s essential to engage a licensed design professional to determine the extent of the damage and the necessary repairs.
7. Are there specific requirements for roofing repairs after storm damage?
Yes, the International Existing Building Code identifies the requirements for repairs to damaged elements. However, in the event of a full replacement or a roof recover, there are additional requirements in the Alterations Chapter. Some states or local jurisdictions may also have additional requirements regarding repairs to roof systems.
8. What is the difference between Substantial Structural Damage (SSD) and Substantial Damage (SD)?
Substantial Structural Damage (SSD) is related solely to the structural condition of the building, while Substantial Damage (SD) is related to the financial cost to repair structural and non-structural items. It’s crucial to understand the difference and how they apply to a damaged structure.
9. How do I determine compliance with the minimum flood elevation?
An elevation certificate or survey is needed to determine if the building meets the minimum flood elevation requirement for its respective flood zone. Depending on the applicable zone, the lowest elevation of the finished floor level or the lowest horizontal member will need to be identified and compared to the minimum required flood elevation.
10. Can I repair my historic building using alternative methods?
Yes, with the approval of the local building official, alternative repairs can be made to preserve the character of historic buildings. However, the code still requires that whenever strict compliance is not achieved, the alternative must provide equivalent protection.
For any further questions or if you need assistance with storm damage repairs, don’t hesitate to send us an email or give us a call. We’re here to help!