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Homeowner Checklist for Storm Preparation and Hiring a Storm Damage Contractor in Dallas (DFW)

Howdy! Chris Bishop here of Bishop Builders. With 30 years of construction experience I have seen many years of severe weather in Texas. As the saying goes, "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst." And that's precisely why we've created this homeowner checklist for storm preparation in Texas. Whether you're a seasoned resident or new to the area, being proactive and taking necessary precautions can save you from potential headaches and costly repairs.


These are the essential steps to protect your home from storm damage. From inspecting your roof and gutters to securing your outdoor furniture and landscaping, you can take the steps fortify your property against.


I also know that even with the best preparations, storms can still cause significant damage. That's why we'll also delve into the process of hiring a reputable storm damage contractor in Dallas and the greater DFW metro area. We'll share key considerations, traits to look for, and steps to take before signing a contract.




Understanding the Risks of Storms in North Texas

In North Texas, it’s the tornado season in the spring that brings the worst storms. Springtime means more than just flowers blooming and birds chirping – it also means the possibility of the threat of tornadoes. Tornado season begins in March and runs strong through August. Hurricanes hit the coast from June through November, sending strong winds and heavy rains throughout much of the rest of the state.


The Dallas and Fort Worth Metro area is no stranger to severe weather conditions. Thunderstorms are a common occurrence in DFW, bringing heavy rain, lightning, and strong winds. These storms can cause flash flooding, power outages, and damage from falling trees or branches.


Hailstorms can bring hail ranging in size from small pebbles to large golf balls, and its impact can cause damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles.


Tornadoes are the most destructive type of storm and can cause widespread damage in a matter of minutes. The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is part of "Tornado Alley," a region known for its high tornado activity.



Storm Preparation for Homeowners in Texas

When it comes to storm preparation, many homeowners underestimate the importance of being proactive. However, investing time and effort into preparing your home can make a significant difference in minimizing damage and ensuring the safety of your family.


Create a Visual Record Before the Storm Season

Create a visual record of your home, possessions, and important documents using pictures and videos for insurance purposes in case of damage. Be thorough. We suggest taking video of every wall in your home, especially around doors and windows. This will protect you if there are any issues with your foundation due to high winds or a tornado.


Take photos and video of the outside of your home including all exterior walls, windows, doors, and roofing. For valuables, take photos and notes including the approximate value and date purchased. Upload the digital files to the cloud, and/or store them on a portable USB flash drive for redundancy. Here is a helpful Home Inventory Checklist from the Texas Department of Insurance.


Read Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

Read your homeowner’s insurance policy carefully and make sure you have a current copy saved as a digital file. You need to ensure that your insurance policy will provide the coverage you need. Specifically check to see what is covered, excluded, and check your deductible.


The Texas Department of Insurance suggests that to be fully protected, your policy should have replacement cost coverage not actual value coverage. Most insurance policies cover “sudden and accidental release of water”. You may want to consider adding flood insurance if you’re concerned that might be an issue for your property.

Preparing for a storm: Landscaping Maintenance and Debris

Landscaping Maintenance Before a Storm

Any debris left lying around your yard could become a projectile during a tornado. Make sure there are no tree branches near your roof and have any dead trees or dead branches removed. Make sure there are no tree branches near your roof.


Tree branches hanging over your house may damage the roof either by breaking off and crashing into it or by swaying back and forth and scratching off layers of asphalt and gravel.


Clean Out Your Gutters Before Severe Weather Season

Another important way to protect your home during storm season is to clean out and inspect your guttering system. If gutters are stuffed with leaves, sticks, and dust, they could back up during a storm and cause a leak.


The water could also cause fascia boards and the edges of your roof decking to rot or mold. If gutters are leaning over, loose, or need more gutter caulk at points, be sure to make all necessary repairs promptly.


Prepare for a storm: roofing and cleaning gutters

Get the Roof Inspected Before the Spring Storm Season in Texas

Roof maintenance is an essential task when it comes to preparing for storms. Getting a roof inspection done in early spring may reveal problems and weak points. It is recommended that a home’s roof is inspected twice a year. Once in the Spring and again in the Fall.


Hiring a roofing professional is the best way to ensure any small problems are addressed before they may cause larger ones, especially with a strong storm. Binoculars can also be used to inspect your roof safely from the ground. Be on the lookout for:


  • missing, loose, or cracked shingles

  • shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering

  • cracked caulk

  • cracked and worn rubber boots around vent pipes

  • missing or damaged flashing

  • rust on flashing

  • damage to the chimney


Know How to Shut Off the Utilities Before a Storm Hits

I'm always surprised by how my homeowners don't know how to shut off the utilities to their home. This is a must to prevent further damage after a storm.


In case of a power surge or ruptured gas or water lines, it may be necessary to shut these off. Locate all of your cutoff valves and switches and know ahead of time the tools you may need and the proper steps to take. You can contact your local providers if you need guidance on how to do this.



Before Severe Weather, Secure Outdoor Furniture

Heavy winds can cause items like patio furniture and large toys to damage the exterior of your home. It’s a good idea to anchor outdoor furniture or bring it indoors before a storm hits. You should also move anything in your yard that can become flying debris inside your house or garage.


Storm preparation: secure furniture

Move Cars to Safety Before a Storm

Windblown debris during hurricanes and tornadoes can damage your car, so park inside your garage and close the garage door. If you do not have a garage, park your car close to your home on the leeward side of the wind and keep it away from trees and power lines to reduce the risk of damage.


Personal Safety and Preparedness Before Severe Weather in Texas


Identify the Safest Rooms in Your House

As part of your overall prevention plan, your family should determine the safest room in the house, usually an interior room without windows.



Keep Electronic Devices Charged

Focus on communication devices in case the power is out after the storm passes. You could also invest in a portable charger or a 12-Volt battery charger that can help you charge your devices from your car if there is a blackout.


Storm prep: keep electronics charged

Understanding the Storm Damage Repair Process

Even with the best storm preparation, storms can still cause significant damage to your home. When faced with storm damage, it's important to understand the process of repair and restoration.


The first step is to assess the damage and document it thoroughly. Take photos or videos of the affected areas, as this will be useful for insurance purposes. Contact your insurance provider to report the damage and initiate the claims process. An adjuster will be assigned to assess the damage and determine the coverage.


Next, you'll need to hire a reputable storm damage contractor to repair and restore your home. Look for contractors who specialize in storm damage repairs and have experience working with insurance companies. Look out for storm damage contractor scams and fly-by-night contractors.


Before signing a contract with a storm damage contractor, ensure that they are licensed, insured, and bonded. Request a detailed estimate that includes the scope of work, materials to be used, and the timeline for completion.


It's also important to clarify payment terms and ensure that you understand the contractor's warranty policies. Throughout the repair process, maintain open communication with your contractor. Regularly inspect the work being done and address any concerns or issues promptly. Keep all documentation and receipts related to the repairs for future reference.


Insurance considerations for storm damage repairs

Dealing with insurance claims can be a complex process, especially when it comes to storm damage. To ensure a smooth claims process and maximize your coverage, there are several considerations to keep in mind.


First and foremost, review your homeowner's insurance policy to understand your coverage limits and deductibles. Familiarize yourself with the specific coverage for storm-related damage, including wind, hail, and water damage. If you have any questions or need clarification, contact your insurance agent for assistance.


When filing a claim, provide your insurance company with as much documentation as possible. This includes photos or videos of the damage, a detailed inventory of the affected items, and any receipts or invoices related to repairs or temporary accommodations. Keep a record of all communication with your insurance company, including dates, names, and summaries of conversations.


Hopefully, you have documented your possessions and your home prior to storm damage. It can be really helpful when there's a dispute about wear and tear versus storm damage, and when you have lost personal items from inside the house.


It's important to note that insurance policies often have specific time limits for filing a claim after a storm. Be proactive and initiate the claims process as soon as possible to avoid any potential issues. Work closely with your insurance adjuster and provide any additional information or documentation they may require.


Tip for Hiring a Storm Damage Contractor in Dallas and DFW Metro Areas

Hiring a reputable storm damage contractor is crucial to ensure quality repairs and a smooth restoration process. Here are some key tips to consider when selecting a contractor.


1. Experience and expertise: Look for contractors who specialize in storm damage repairs and have a proven track record. They should have experience working with insurance companies and be familiar with the claims process.


2. Insurance: Ensure that the contractor is insured, and bonded. This protects both you and the contractor in case of any accidents or damages during the repair process.


3. Estimates and contracts: Request detailed estimates from multiple contractors and compare them. The estimate should include the scope of work, materials to be used, and the timeline for completion. Review the contract thoroughly before signing and clarify any terms or conditions that you don't understand.


5. Communication and professionalism: Choose a contractor who communicates effectively and is responsive to your questions and concerns. They should be professional, punctual, and respectful throughout the entire process.


6. Warranties and guarantees: Inquire about the contractor's warranty policies for their workmanship and the materials used. Ensure that you have a clear understanding of what is covered and for how long.


By following these tips and conducting thorough research, you can hire a reputable storm damage contractor who will ensure a successful restoration of your home.


We hope this checklist helps you to prepare for the upcoming storm season. Has your home been damaged by a storm? Bishop Builders is ready to help. We offer expert advice and quality, professional construction services.


Contact us at 1-817-221-0873 or info@bishopbuilders.com to get started on your next home improvement project!

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The Bishop Builders Team

Chris Bishop and Dennis Hall

Chris Bishop brings over 30 years of expertise to the construction industry in Texas. With a comprehensive understanding of construction techniques, materials, and project management, Chris oversees every aspect of the building process, ensuring exceptional quality and attention to detail.

 

Dennis Hall is the strategic business operations specialist. Dennis plays a pivotal role in the success and growth of Bishop Builders with his adept handling of contracts, seamless communication with clients, and financial management. Together, Chris and Dennis form a dynamic partnership, combining construction expertise with astute business acumen to deliver outstanding results.

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