Life After the Storm

Tornadoes have always been one of the most feared catastrophic events for those living in the United States Midwest and surrounding areas. The devastation that they can cause in a matter of seconds is alarming and unimaginable for most. In the past twelve days, over 200 tornadoes have touched down in the Midwest, destroying countless communities and homes.

Those living in the areas affected are currently still under severe storm watches and are at risk of experiencing even more devastation. However, once the storms pass and the dust settles reality begins to set in. How will these communities rebuild? Where do you start when your entire town has been flattened in a mere matter of minutes?

After The Dust Settles

The restoration process from storms of this magnitude is extensive. Some homes can be completely destroyed while the neighbouring home may only have minor exterior damage. The damages caused by a tornado are completely random and unpredictable. Because of this, every rebuild is different and requires a specified, case by case repair scope.

The damages often seen after a tornado, if a home has not been completely destroyed are; roof, siding/brick, windows, exterior doors, and decks or sheds. However, some homes have their roofs or walls completely ripped off, causing interior damages to the areas that those structures protect. These type of damages can require framing, drywall, insulation, and ceiling repairs. Structural damages like these can be very costly and complex. In addition to structural damages, a home can incur severe water damage from rain and sleet, especially if there is wind damage to the roof or siding.

Homes that are completely destroyed cannot just start fresh from the ground up. There is rubble, a home’s foundation and the homeowner’s personal belongings that still remain. The family will likely return to the site of their home to collect personal items that are recoverable. The rubble and any remaining structural components (walls, stairs, garage, flooring) will then have to be removed from the site to clear the way for a newly built home. Depending on the severity of damages to the foundation of the home it may have to be demolished and repoured. If the foundation is still in good condition, it could be restored and be used as the foundation for the newly built home.

In our experience dealing with tornadoes, the demolition, and debris clean up is always a massive job to undertake. It is never just rubble from the home itself, but other surrounding homes, trees/shrubbery and miscellaneous items that have all been picked up from the strong winds. On top of that, we must remove the debris with care because the homeowner’s personal belongings are mixed within the piles of rubble. This all must be done before the process of a complete or partial rebuild even begins.

A Sad Reality

The tragedy of this, however, is many people may not have adequate insurance to cover the costs of a complete rebuild. If this is the case, the home will likely remain in the post-storm condition. If the family doesn’t have the funds to pay for a contractor to rebuild their home (which many do not), they may lose their property and what they once called home altogether. Our hearts go out to the families affected by this week’s tragic storms and those who are working to clean up the mess these tornadoes caused.