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12 Tips to Keep a Roof Over Your Head

After a Monsoon Storm:

12 Tips to Keep a Roof Over Your Head

This week I have spent the week on a California beach having a little family reunion with my family, my parents, and my siblings and their families.

Last night my brother received a call from a friend who informed him that the roof on my brother’s home in Arizona had partially collapsed as a result of the latest monsoon storm.

The air conditioner, covered in dust from the latest storm, had frozen over and then the ice had melted in the desert heat.

The weight of the melted water and the frozen air conditioner was too much for the roof and the air conditioner sunk right through.

My brother was not alone.

Thousands of homes throughout the valley sustained damage in this week’s storms.

We have been dispatching crews to assess damage and mitigate losses all week and my phone is filled with pictures of the aftermath left in the wake of these powerful storms.

During monsoon season, Arizona roofs are especially susceptible to damage.

Here are twelve tips that can help you keep a roof over your head this summer.

After a Monsoon Storm:

1. Know Your Enemy

On Monday afternoon, July 9, 2018, a massive monsoon storm tore its way across Phoenix, leaving no part of the valley unscathed.

Walloping a powerful punch of rain, dust, hail, and severe winds, the storm knocked out power to over 100,000 homes and caused damage to thousands of valley homes and businesses.

More dust and rain blew in again today, in another monsoon storm just two days after the last one.

And they will likely continue to roll in, one after another, for the next month or so as we work our way through this year’s monsoon season.

It’s important to understand the cumulative and ongoing nature of the storm patterns during monsoon season.

Then carefully and regularly assess your home and property for damage after every storm to prevent escalating issues. As the storms pile up, so can property damage.

After a Monsoon Storm:

2. Understand the Threats

There are a variety of ways monsoon storms can damage your roof, including wind, rain, dust, and hail.

Roofs are designed to have a wind resistance rating of up to 60 mph, but during storms like the one we had on Monday, it not unusual to get wind gusts above 75 or 80 mph.

Winds this strong can easily loosen or remove roof tiles, damage flashings and gutters or cause debris to penetrate or damage a roof structure.

Monsoons carrying heavy rains make your roof susceptible to moisture damage.

If the water makes it past the roofing materials to your roof deck, the moisture will eventually cause rot in the wood and lead to extensive damage.

Dust is another, less obvious, threat to your roof.

The coating of dust can cover air conditioner coils causing them to freeze and leak.

Over time dust can also erode and undermine roof sealants leaving you more exposed to wind and water damage.

Additionally monsoon storms can sometimes carry hail, which can break or crack roof tiles, and even puncture roofing materials, leaving the roof and home exposed to future water damage.

After a Monsoon Storm:

3. Inspect for Damage

Some damage is obvious.

It’s hard to miss the two-story tree uprooted and relocated to your driveway, or your neighbor’s trampoline that has taken up rent-free residence in your pool.

The damage on your roof may be less obvious.

As you know, heavy rain, wind and hail can loosen roofing materials.

When the outer shingles or tiles are damaged, lifted, or cracked there is greater possibility of water damage, so it is important to check your roof after every serious storm and regularly throughout monsoon season.

Be aware that walking on your roof to check its structure and look for damage can actually cause more damage and is risky.

Binoculars are the best way to check your roof after each storm.

Look for loose or missing tiles, any cracks in the tiles, or areas where the tiles are lifted or not lying flat and straight.

After a Monsoon Storm:

4. Flat Roof Considerations

Depending on the type of roof you have, you should be on the lookout for different things during your visual inspection.

With a flat roof you want to ensure that there is no debris or branches or other large objects, blocking or plugging where the water needs to drain off the roof.

Always remove any debris or foreign objects blown onto the roof by the storm.

Check for open or vulnerable seams where water can get underneath the roofing system and into your home or business.

If you see an opening or crack, have it repaired immediately.

Many flat roof systems can be easily repaired by a professional with an acrylic or silicone coating.

After a Monsoon Storm:

5. Pitched Roof Considerations

Pitched roofs have long valleys where water runs down.

Check that these canals are clear of any debris or rubble that might block the flow of water.

Again, carefully remove any debris deposited onto your roof by the storm.

Also, periodically have the seals checked to make sure they are watertight and haven’t eroded from dust or heavy rains.

After a Monsoon Storm:

6. Check Gutters

In your inspection, be sure to inspect your rain gutters and downspouts for blockages or damage that may have occurred as a result of the latest storm.

Make sure the gutters are hanging properly and that they are clear from debris, leaves, and branches that might have been relocated and deposited by severe wind gusts.

When the next storm arrives and the rain is coming in torrents, these are the most important tools to get the water off your roof and away from your home’s structure and foundation as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Your gutters and downspouts can prevent foundation damage and flooding.

After a Monsoon Storm:

7. Check Flashings

As you conduct your roof inspection, look for missing or lifted or bent flashing.

These are the metal strips that cover the edges of the roof and areas on the roof near an AC or heating unit, vent, skylight or a chimney.

These areas are particularly susceptible to water damage if the flashing is damaged or missing and will be the first place water enters.

After a Monsoon Storm:

8. Reevaluate Landscaping

As a general rule, it is better to plant trees and shrubbery farther away from the house and roof.

While they can look attractive, trees and plants that grow too close to the home endanger the roof anytime there is a serious wind storm.

If you decide to plant your trees or shrubbery close, be sure to keep them properly trimmed and the branches lightened to reduce the chance of damage to your roof.

After a Monsoon Storm:

9. Look for Watermarks

Watermarks or dark spots are evidence that there is already a leak and water is sitting or was sitting in that area.

Use a flashlight to check for suspicious marks and stains in the attic and ceilings and in other areas of your home.

If you find water damage, it’s important to get the area and materials completely dry as soon as possible.

Even small leaks can lead to serious problems.

Wet and moist materials that are left untreated can deteriorate and decay easily and are extremely susceptible to mold and fungal growth.

Use fans and dehumidifiers to accelerate the drying process, especially in humid, monsoon conditions.

An experienced restoration contractor is an invaluable resource when you have water damage. At Titan Restoration, we are experts in water removal, water damage mitigation, and in-place drying.

We have decades of experience, a warehouse of the best equipment available, and we respond immediately to emergency calls.

We actually pioneered an effective, in-place drying procedure that is now an industry standard and we understand the techniques and timelines to completely dry your property.

After a Monsoon Storm:

10. Call a Professional

If you find damage or areas of concern on your roof, avoid common mistakes by hiring a professional to repair the damage rather than doing it yourself.

Many homeowners who try to do small roof repairs themselves can make common mistakes that can actually lead to more damage.

For example, if you inadvertently overlap the roofing material from the low side to the high side, the water will actually crawl underneath the loose flaps instead of merely running down the roof.

Another common mistake homeowners make is trying to seal up penetrations and accidentally sealing it so water can’t get out, causing the water to run into the house as a result.

Left unattended these “repairs” can lead to severe water damage and even a collapsed roof.

After a Monsoon Storm:

11. Avoid Storm Chasing Scams

Unfortunately, once a severe storm has blown though the valley, you can count on storm chasing scams to quickly follow.

These are generally, out-of-town contractors that do quick and often shoddy work.

Be aware of the increase in scams after a monsoon storm and always use licensed, established contractors to work on your home.

Generally, these irreputable contractors will knock at your door and use scare tactics to convince you that you need their services right away.

The storm chasing roofer will claim that they work directly with insurance companies, and they will say that it will cost you nothing. Sounds good so far, right?

However, the way the scam works is that they take the total amount paid out from the insurance while charging the insurance company for good material, but they only complete the bare minimum work with poor quality materials.

The homeowners that turn to storm chasers are left with an incomplete job, or a poorly repaired roof, done with inferior materials.

Many times these roof repairs only last a few years.

Avoid these scams by only working with contractors who have an established business in the community, with years of experience, reviews, and references for the work they have done.

After a Monsoon Storm:

12. Prepare for the Unexpected

No matter how vigilant and careful you are about inspecting your roof and watching for possible damage after a monsoon storm, it is still possible for unexpected damages to occur.

Microbursts can do incredible damage even to new roofs and flying debris or branches from the surrounding neighborhood can penetrate any roof structure.

When this happens, dust, rain and storm debris will also quickly find their way into your home.

When you find yourself in an emergency situation like this, have a plan in place. Know who to call for immediate help. The faster you can get a temporary tarp in place, the less water damage and structural harm will occur.

Titan Restoration is fully prepared to answer emergency calls and dispatch a crew to mitigate any water damage, limit your home’s exposure to the outside elements, and restore your home to pre-storm conditions.

Whether the damage is large or small, occurs on a residential or commercial property, Titan Restoration has the equipment, expertise, and experience, to prevent further damage and restore any losses.

Titan Restoration has over two decades of experience with the Arizona monsoon season. We have seen the incredible power of these storms as they have damaged roofs, homes, and commercial properties throughout the valley. From flooding to microburst destruction, from hail damage to complete roof collapse, over the years, we have seen it all.

No matter how unpredictable the monsoon season is or how significant the resulting damage is, we are ready to help Arizona home and property owners rebuild and repair. We are a dependable, qualified restoration contractor committed to restoring properties, from the roof to the foundation, exactly as they were before the storm hit.

Your roof is your biggest source of protection during a storm, but it can also be the most vulnerable to damage. Taking care of your roof and watching for potential problems, can help prevent flooding or more extensive damage when the next storm rolls through.

Given the importance of having a solid, secure roof over your head, it will be extremely valuable to use these twelve tips throughout the monsoon season to protect your property and your family, no matter the weather.

So Wrapping up for now

Conclusion

So, how were the storms in your neighborhood this week?

What are you doing to protect your home and property this monsoon season?

Tell us what’s working for you! Do let me know in case of queries in the comment section below and share it with your friends.

20 Steps to Take Before and After a Monsoon Storm

Important Things to Do in Monsoon Storm

20 Steps to Take Before and After a Monsoon Storm

Last summer we hosted a student from France who lived with us in Arizona throughout the month of July.

Unexpectedly, the biggest surprise for her was not the heat, but the lightning. She told us they rarely have lightning in Paris.

But July in Arizona is smack dab in the middle of monsoon season, which always comes with lots of lightening and even thunder. It was a whole new experience for our French friend.

One night, we were driving back from San Diego, when a huge monsoon storm rolled over us between Phoenix and Casa Grande. In addition to blinding dust, huge wind gusts, and torrents of rain, there were thousands of lightning strikes all around us as we drove back to the valley.

Our little French student’s eyes were as big as saucers as the sky flashed and cracked around us.

Monsoon season in Arizona officially starts on June 15th and runs through the summer months until the end of September.

The monsoon storm pattern is caused by high dewpoints, above 55 degrees, which come from water rising from low pressure zones in the Gulf of Mexico.

This water combined with our high temperatures creates the unique monsoon weather pattern.

The monsoons can bring rain with them (but they don’t have to) which can cause flash flooding and water damage, but they are especially characterized by high winds, dust storms, microbursts, and even tornados all resulting from the high dewpoints recorded here in Arizona during the summer months.

With monsoon season upon us and the first storm already on its way, there are some important steps you can take to protect your home and yard and ensure you are prepared for both before and after the storms.

Here are the 20 steps before and after the storm hits

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

1. Tree Care

It’s hard to predict when a monsoon storm will hit, but it’s wise to be prepared all season long for the possibility one will develop.

A little work before the storm, may save you big repairs and costly problems after.

Before storm hits the first step is to take care of your plants and trees.

When you drive around town after a monsoon storm, there are downed trees everywhere.

These fallen trees can cause additional damage to property, homes, and power lines.

Because high winds are one of the biggest factors during a monsoon, you need to prepare the trees on your property to better withstand their heavy gales.

Always loosely double-stake small and newly-planted trees.

The support should be loose enough to allow the tree to bend in the gusts, but staked securely to give the young trees added support and prevent them from being uprooted or snapped off in the wind.

Trim and thin branches from mature trees to reduce the weight of the limbs.

Branches that are too heavy are especially susceptible to strong winds and microbursts, as the trunk cannot bear their weight under the force of the blowing wind.

If a limb comes off a tree, it can cause damage to nearby houses or vehicles and large trees can even be uprooted when their limb structure is too top heavy.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

2. Check the Soil

During monsoon season the ground can quickly become oversaturated especially after several consecutive days of rain.

This leads to much higher chances of runoff and flooding.

Unmonitored, automatic sprinkler systems can exacerbate the problem.

You can check the moisture content of your soil by pushing a screwdriver into the dirt.

If the screwdriver easily slides into the soil, turn off the water system to your sprinklers until things dry out a little more.

This not only saves water and money, but it can help diminish the chance of flooding by reducing oversaturation of the ground.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

3. Inspect Windows and Doors

During monsoon season, huge dust clouds engulfing the Phoenix valley are not uncommon.

Check all your windows and doors before the season starts to make simple repairs that will prevent water and dirt from entering your home.

If there is space around the seals on your doors, or you can see light around the door frame, replace the worn weather stripping to completely seal the door.

Even small amounts of water that come through the cracks in your doors or windows, can cause water damage to wood and drywall, which is more difficult to dry out completely when dewpoints and humidity are high.

This dampness can lead to warping and encourages mold and fungal infestation.

Additionally, by sealing off cracks and spaces, you can prevent large amounts of dust from getting inside your house and covering your furnishings and contaminating your inside air.

Dust can irritate the skin and lungs, and the dirt and allergens kicked up by the monsoons frequently cause allergies and breathing difficulties for many people.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

4. Examine your Roof

Regularly examine your roof for loose tiles and shingles both before and throughout monsoon season.

You can have a professional give you an assessment or you can visually inspect it yourself.

Tiles can easily shift or loosen due to high winds, leaving you exposed to additional wind damage and water penetration.

Checking for loose tiles can prevent collateral damage from falling roof tiles and obviously thwart any water from entering the home.

Monsoons are notoriously good at creating and exploiting roof damage.

In the middle of a fierce storm, you won’t be able to climb up onto your roof and tie a tarp in place. Do what you can before they hit to make sure your roof is in good shape.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

5. Install and Clean Out Rain Gutters

Rain gutters and downspouts divert the rain from a monsoon downpour or microburst away from your home and your home’s foundation.

Make sure the gutters are clean and free of obstructions so that they can do their job and prevent pooling and flooding around the perimeter of your foundation.

The more barriers you have in place to prevent flooding, the better off you will be.

Monsoon rains can be very intense, dropping as much as 2 inches of rain an hour.

Blocked gutters can quickly be overwhelmed by this much water, causing water to pool on the roof or overrun the gutters to collect at the foundation of your home.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

6. Assess your Home's Drainage Patterns

In addition to having properly working rain gutters, you can reduce the chance of flooding by evaluating the current drainage patterns in your yard.

If you’ve noticed any drainage issues that causes water to pool and gather, make sure you have it attended to before the monsoons arrive.

Flood damage is not covered by your standard home owner’s policy and you want to do everything you can to prevent water from entering your home.

You can regrade, add a new drainage system, or even plant and build barriers to ensure the water flows away from your house rather than pooling next to it.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

7. Clean Out the Garage

Before the monsoons come, it is the perfect time to clean out your over-stuffed garage.

Parking your car or bicycles outside the garage, in the driveway or street, puts them at risk of flying debris and falling trees.

Clear out enough space in your garage to park your cars and bikes where they will be better protected when the wild winds and choking dust start blowing.

Go through the boxes in the garage.

Rally the kids and sort through the stuff that has accumulated. Have a yard sale.

Donate unwanted items. Remove the items you no longer need, use, or want, to make room to protect more valuable items like your cars and bicycles.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

8. Move Furniture

Microbursts and high winds are very powerful and can easily move light patio furniture or yard equipment and send it flying into your neighbor’s yard or even through your kitchen window.

Over the years we have lost more than few pool umbrellas and towels to an unexpected storm.

Unbelievably, last year my neighbor’s full-sized trampoline was picked up in a microburst and dropped into the yard of the house behind his like it weighed nothing at all.

Move or secure light patio furniture, umbrellas, pool toys, and other unsecured property into the house or garage before the storm hits.

(Yet another reason to clean out that garage!) Winds during a monsoon storm can range anywhere from 40-100mph, with violent updrafts, and are extremely strong and powerful.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

9. Prepare for Power Outages

Prepare ahead of time for power outages by storing enough water, non-perishable food items, and energy sources to sustain you and your family for three days.

Make sure your kit includes:

  • #1.
    3 gallons of water in clean, closed containers for each person and pet
  • #2.
    A first-aid kit
  • #3.
    Food for three days that requires no cooking or refrigeration
  • #4.
    Flashlights
  • #5.
    Batteries
  • #6.
    Charged auxiliary power packs for cell phones
  • #7.
    Necessary medications and back-up power sources for life support or other medical equipment

Extended power outages are less and less common as the old wooden poles and above-ground lines are systematically being replaced by underground lines.

In 2008, parts of the Willo neighborhood in Phoenix was without power for three days due to all the power poles in the area going down.

Microbursts can cause the power lines to snap and generally wreak havoc with above-ground utilities.

Power can also go out from lightning surges or the monsoon storm can cause a transformer to blow or catch fire, so it’s good to always be prepared.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

10. Update your Electrical Panel

Clearly label or relabel the different sections of your electrical panel so that you can easily identify the circuit breakers for each room or area of your house during a storm or while using only a flashlight.

Monsoon storms are generally accompanied by large amounts of lightning and if a breaker trips during a storm you can easily reset it when the panel is properly labeled.

You can also consider hardwiring a surge protector directly to your electrical panel.

This device keeps appliances and electronic equipment, like computers and televisions, from being damaged by electric surges or other power problems.

You can also use power strips for additional protection inside your home where expensive and sensitive electronic equipment is plugged in.

AFTER THE STORM HAS PASSED

11. Get Rid of the Dust

The one good thing about monsoon storms is that they are usually fast moving storms.

They can leave a lot of damage in their wake, but they rarely hang around for long.

Once the rain and the wind and the lightning have passed, what do you need to do to clean up and prepare for the next one?

Get Rid of the Dust

First, clean up.

After a storm, the air will be full of fine particles of dust.

It’s a good idea to change the air filters on your air conditioning ducts.

Normally, you change your air filter about every three months, but during monsoon season, we’d advise you change it every 2-3 weeks because the storms will kick up lots of dust and allergens.

The air filter’s job is to trap dust and dirt to protect your air conditioning system.

When a filter gets too clogged with dust, air can’t pass through it easily.

This makes it so that your air conditioner has to work harder and longer to cool your home, running up your energy bills.

Too much dust clogging the filters can cause the condenser coils to freeze and stop working, and can even cause a premature breakdown.

And as long as you’ve got the hose out, wash down the patio and the outdoor furniture as well.

Preventing accumulations of dust and dirt will help your furniture last longer and allow you to still enjoy your patio between storms.

AFTER THE STORM HAS PASSED

12. Clean the Pool

Monsoons storms carry large amounts of dust, pollen, and debris. These can turn a pool green very quickly.

You need to brush and clean your pool quickly after a storm passes to remove dirt and prevent the growth of algae.

Treat the pool with the appropriate chemicals to prevent the growth of biologic materials.

Remember to empty the skimmer baskets regularly after storms when there is a significant increase in leaves, foliage, and other foreign materials floating in your pool.

AFTER THE STORM HAS PASSED

13. Wash Your Car

As trivial as it seems, and as silly as it can feel when another storm may hit the very next day, be sure to wash your car after a dust storm.

Even if you’re car was in your garage during the storm, the garage has more cracks and openings than your livable space and is more susceptible to filling with dust.

The dust particles sitting on your car can cause fine scratches and damage the paint or short out sensitive electronic components that could be costly to fix.

AFTER THE STORM HAS PASSED

14. Report Flooded Areas

If your neighborhood or city streets flood, contact your city officials. Most cities in the valley have monsoon information, phone numbers, and emergency procedures on their websites.

Report any fallen trees or large debris on roads or sidewalks to city officials as well so they can be safely removed.

Do not ever approach or touch downed power lines.

Consider any downed power line to be energized and dangerous.

High voltage can actually travel from the line through the ground, so stay at least 100 feet away and call authorities.

After THE STORM HITS

15. Do Not Drive through Standing Water

If you do find flooded streets, never drive through the standing water. According to the National Weather Service, nearly half of all flood fatalities are vehicle-related.

Cars, and even SUVs, can stall and float in as little as 10 inches of water, ruin the engine, and leave you stranded.

Do not ever attempt to drive through moving water either, as it is impossible to accurately assess the rate and power at which it is moving, and you can be easily swept away.

Every monsoon season there are people who have to be rescued from their stalled cars when valley streets and washes have suddenly turned into raging rivers.

A few years ago, my son was trying to drive to school one day after a night of heavy monsoon rains.

Knowing that he shouldn’t drive through deep water that was covering the roadway, but still wanting to get to school, he decided to drive across the dirt lot next to the road and avoid the standing water.

I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

Even though the dirt lot was wet, it looked passable.

But, remember, it had been raining all night and the ground was completely saturated.

In a matter of seconds he was completely stuck, the car slowly sinking into the mud.

He called me from the car, stranded and unable to extract himself from the mud.

That car wasn’t going anywhere.

Eventually, we had to have a tow truck with a winch pull the car from the mud.

Lesson learned.

If the road is covered by water, turn around and go home.

We’ll just call it an Arizona “snow day.”

After THE STORM HITS

16. Do Not Play in Flood Waters

Often after a monsoon, there are greenbelts, canals, and other runoff areas filled with water.

Do not play in this water or allow your children to play in it either.

The water carries nasty germs and dangerous debris from whatever it came into contact with on its way from hitting the ground to pooling in the flooded areas.

You can get very sick or injured playing in this murky water.

Generations of Arizona children have taken their boogie boards and pool noodles out to happily play in the flooded greenbelt only to end up with an ugly, itchy rash all over their skin.

After THE STORM HITS

17. Remove Standing Water Around Your Home

As you walk around your yard after a storm, remove any standing water left from the rain that has pooled in empty pots, bird baths, garbage cans, or other areas.

These are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and germs.

Take note of any large areas of standing water on the ground.

These indicate low points in your yard that need to be regraded and properly addressed to avoid possible flooding.

Consider picking up sandbags if the ground cannot be regraded in a timely manner.

Sandbags are the best way to divert water from doorways and help to protect your home from flooding during a monsoon storm.

Free sand is provided at many fire stations throughout the Phoenix valley.

In some cities, the stations also provide bags and shovels for use, but others only have sand available and require their residents to bring their own shovels and bags.

Call your local fire department or check its website to see what is provided in your area and what you will need to get sandbags for your home.

Be sure to remove any water that may have pooled by your foundation.

Rain water collecting near the foundation of a house can, believe it or not, enter the concrete.

Concrete foundations are porous, and the water moves through it, filling any pores it can find.

Over time, water that seeps into concrete foundations can cause the foundation to break down and eventually the foundation can crack.

Once a foundation cracks, you can get shifts and the home can become unsettled.

Siphon any standing water away from your foundations after a storm.

After THE STORM HITS

18. Assess Any Damage

Take a tour of your property. Look for any obvious damage or noticeable concerns.

Does your roof need repair? Did you lose any trees or branches? Is your vehicle damaged?

Conduct an informal inspection to assess any damage to your property. Make note of all damages and document everything with pictures.

In 2010, a monsoon storm dropped 3-inch, golf ball-sized hail on parts of the Phoenix valley, causing severe damage to rooftops, cars, and even shattering windows.

The extensive damage made it the most destructive storm in Arizona history, with claims over $3 billion dollars.

More than 150,000 homeowners made claims and used pictures and video to catalogue the destruction.

Take special note of your roof in your inspection.

Look for missing tiles or shingles.

Be on the lookout for water penetration or seepage in your ceilings.

Check the eaves for signs of water staining or damage.

If you see any spots where the ceiling has bubbled, put a bucket under the bubble and pop it so the water won’t travel through the porous building materials across the entire ceiling.

After THE STORM HITS

19. Contact your Insurance Company

If you have damages to your home or property, contact your home owner’s insurance company to start the claims process.

An adjustor will usually be assigned to inspect the property so that repairs can be started.

Especially in cases where the damage has left the interior of your home exposed to the elements or vulnerable to the next monsoon, it is important to get started immediately on repairs to prevent further damage.

If you have any water damage, these areas need to be dried out as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth or further deterioration, so it’s important to act quickly.

After THE STORM HITS

20. Hire Reputable, Licensed Contractors

If you have property damage that needs repair or restoration, research and find an accredited company with highly rated customer service and ethical standards.

Make sure the company is licensed to perform the work on your home.

Unfortunately, Arizona residents have been victims of out-of-town, unlicensed companies that take payment and then disappear and leave town before work is completed.

Sometimes these shady contractors will go door-to-door after a storm and insist that you need the work done immediately. Be wary of any company that you did not personally seek out.

You can always check reputations, track records, and customer reviews with the Better Business Bureau and Arizona’s Registrar of Contractors.

You can request a list of references from any contractor and obtain multiple estimates for the work you need done.

An honest contractor will assess the work, and then give you a written, itemized estimate and a job schedule with an anticipated completion.

Monsoon season is busy for restoration, plumbing, and roofing contractors.

Make sure you choose a company with the resources and manpower to handle all their jobs.

You don’t want to be waiting endlessly for repairs as storm after storm rumbles its way through the valley, compounding your problems.

Titan Restoration of Arizona has been helping homeowner’s recover from monsoon storms for over two decades.

We have the experience and knowledge to get your property back to its original condition, quickly and painlessly.

We have a proven track record of excellent work with thousands of satisfied customers.

Over the years we have seen everything from missing roofs to flooded basements to patio furniture coming through the sliding glass door.

At Titan Restoration we are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We know that monsoon storms hit any time, day and night, and we are equipped to immediately dispatch crews to emergency calls all over the valley whenever they are needed.

Last year, we received a call from a family in Chandler.

A microburst hit their front yard, uprooting a pine tree and effortlessly tossing it though their roof into one of the bedrooms.

The ceiling caved in exposing the eaves and dumping insulation, rafters, and drywall into the room.

Water, dust, and debris from the storm soon followed.

Where there was once a bedroom ceiling and protective roof, there was now a kind of indoor arboretum, exposed to the elements, with pine branches reaching down into the room.

The microburst had instantaneously transformed their house into a wrecked treehouse of sorts.

Our team immediately got to work, first taking steps to reduce the home’s exposure to the elements in the case of another storm. The family had collectables and memorabilia in the room that we carefully removed and safeguarded so they wouldn’t be damaged. The tree and building debris were removed and hauled away. Temporary tarps were systematically set up and to protect the home from further damage, and fans were set up to dry the saturated wood.

The section of the roof damaged by the tree had to be rebuilt with new beams and rafters and then reinsulated. The room itself was restored including new drywall, paint, repairing the closet, and replacing and casing the damaged windows. When we finished, the house and room were beautifully restored and completely dry and protected from the elements.

The reality is that while there are steps we can take to get ready for monsoon season, these storms are unpredictable and extremely powerful. You can’t foresee or prevent all the destruction the monsoon season can cause to your personal or commercial property, despite your careful preparation. But if the monsoon storms damage your home or property, no matter how large or how small the job, Titan Restoration has the experience and skills to help you clean up and rebuild. We’re there, whenever you need us, to put things right and restore your property to its original, beautiful condition.

THE 17 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO WHEN YOUR HOUSE FLOODS

THE 17 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO

When Your House Floods (And Your Life is Underwater)

I have a friend who went on an amazing Hawaiian vacation.

He and his wife were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. They took all the kids and spent seven glorious days on the sandy beaches of Maui.

They snorkeled, kayaked, sun bathed, and ate their weight in shaved ice.

They came home, however, to find the remains of their water heater along with gallons and gallons water soaking into the flooring, walls, and furniture of their beautiful home. The aloha spirit was gone in an instant.

Because we live in a world where there is indoor plumbing (thank you!) and natural storms and disasters (no, thank you!), it is possible that at some point you could find yourself dealing with a house flood.

In fact, statistics show that nearly 37% of U.S. homeowners claim to have had some type of water damage, and nearly 14,000 people experience a water disaster every day, just like my friend.

Whether it is caused by a burst pipe, a sewer backup, a faulty appliance, a heavy rain or monsoon storm, or even rising floodwaters, there are important steps you should take to protect yourself and your property and get things clean and dry and back to beautiful as soon as possible.

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Here are the 17 most important things to do when you find your property underwater:

1. Breathe and Grieve

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed in the situation of house flood.

The mess, the clean up, the possible mold complications, the destruction of property and valuables, and the disruption in your life all take a toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing.

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First, take a deep breath. Everything is going to be okay. Calm your fears and recognize that while today might feel terrible, things will get better.

In the case of severe and catastrophic flooding, the stress may also be accompanied by a deep sense of grief over the widespread damage. That is perfectly normal. The property that you have loved and care for has sustained substantial damage. Let yourself grieve and process the loss.

Understand that this may take time. As painful and as hopeless as it feels now, as you move on and recover things will improve and return to normal. It will take time and it will take work, but, again, everything is going to be okay. Just breathe and grieve.

2. Think Safe first and always

There are many hazards in a house flood and the most important thing to think about is safety.

Start by making sure the power to your home is turned off, even if there is a widespread power outage.

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Find your fuse box and turn off the main breaker as well as all the individual fuse switches. Standing water and electricity do not mix and you do not want the risk of life-threatening dangers when and if the power is restored.

In the case of serious flooding, a qualified electrician will need to inspect, clean, and dry the power box before the power can be turned on again.

3. Dress for Success

When you turn off the power to your home and whenever you enter a flooded home, be sure to wear protective clothing like rubber boots and gloves.

You will not only be wading through the water itself, you will be walking through whatever the water has come into contact with including chemicals, sewage, garbage and debris.

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Flood water can be highly contaminated or even toxic. You will not always be able to see these contaminants or hazards, so it is important to wear protective gear.

Do not touch your mouth or nose with your gloves or hands or anything that has come in contact with the water.

The water can be polluted with bacteria, mold, or chemical substances that can be harmful to your health.

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4. Stop the Water Source

One of the first things to do in the case of a house flood is to stop more water from coming in, if possible.

If the flooding has been cause by a burst pipe or a broken appliance, immediately turn off the water supply to your house.

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If the flooding is caused by storms or natural disasters, you can call your city to make sure the storm drains are open and cleaned out to ensure the water recedes faster.

Obviously the less water that enters your property, the less you have to remove later.

Many appliances can now be equipped with automatic shutoff valves to prevent leakage and stop further water damage.

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5. Make Sure the Property is Structurally Safe

In cases of intense flooding, you need to make sure the house is safe to enter before you do so.

Look for buckled walls or floors as indicators that structural damage has occurred and do not enter when there is risk of collapse. You should also watch for warped or cracked foundations.

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Immediately contact your utility companies if you suspect any damage has occurred to water, gas, electric, or sewer lines.

Safety is always more important than salvaging household items, so be wise as you assess the structural integrity of your property.

6. Call Your Insurance Company

Homeowner’s insurance coverage varies depending on the type of policy you have, but in many cases insurance companies will cover flooding due to burst pipes or broken appliances, even backed up city sewers or storm drains and some acts of nature.

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You will need to call you insurance company as soon as possible to speed up the restoration process and return to normalcy. The insurance company will send an adjuster to look at the damage and determine if you are covered for any losses.

Be sure to follow the instructions from your insurance company about the clean up and restoration process.

Do not start any repairs or demolition until they have sent an adjuster or they have authorized you to move forward.

Document all the damage and make reports of conversations with your insurer as you move through the process. Clear communication is key in covering your loss and the restoration.

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7. Find Honest, Reputable Contractors

Many times when a house flood is caused by a broken appliance or burst pipe, one of the first calls people make is to a plumber.

The plumber will use his expertise to stop the leak, fix the pipe, or solve whatever plumbing issue is causing the flood.

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Some plumbers will then recommend or refer specific restoration companies to help you remove the water and restore your property.

Occasionally there are unethical business agreements between the two, where the restoration company pays the plumber a kickback for the referral and then recoups that kickback in you restoration bill.

Do not sign any contracts or let any restoration company start any demolition work before your insurance company has sent an adjuster to look at the damage and assess your claim.

There are unsavory contractors that will do unnecessary work and you can get stuck with the bill. You should never sign a contract that removes you as the claimant and gives the restoration company ownership of your payout from the insurance company.

Reputable contractors have transparent, honest business practices and don’t receive or pay kickbacks for referrals. Their businesses are built on excellent customer service, fair pricing, and clear and honest estimates.

They will help you file your claims but they will never insert themselves as the claimant and they will make sure your insurance company has authorized their work.

8. Take Pictures of Everything

Before you start removing the water or arranging for cleanup from a house flood, be thorough about fully document all flood damage with pictures or video.

These photos and videos will be important to submit to your insurer as you begin the restoration process and file claims.

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Take as many pictures as possible and continue photo documentation throughout the entire clean up. The more information you can provide, the better; and photographic evidence tells the story better than any other way.

You will need pictures of structural and property damage as well as household items and furnishings that have been damaged or destroyed.

Keep careful documentation so that your insurance adjuster can make an accurate assessment of your loss.

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9. Remove standing water

Once the flood levels and the damage have been documented and photographed and you get authorization from your insurer to begin cleanup, you can start removing the water.

Depending on the amount of water you need to remove you can use buckets or hoses to bail or siphon the water.

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If you have to bail the water with buckets, keep in mind that water is heavy–a gallon of water weighs 7 pounds–so be careful not to injure yourself in the process.

You can also rent or buy a sump pump to remove large amounts of water or a wet vac to suck up small amounts of standing water from carpets and floors. If the flooding is minimal, you may be able to simply mop up the water with towels.

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The faster you can get the water out the better. In many cases if the water can be removed and drying can begin quickly, we are able to avoid extensive demolition or additional repairs. The length of time the water is allowed to remain is one of the biggest factors in overall damage and restoration costs.

10. Find and remove the "hiding water"

Water damage can be deceptive. It is easy to recognize and remove standing water, but water can also penetrate into structural cavities in homes and buildings, creating trapped pockets of moisture saturation.

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Because of the nature of the water itself, it can travel through the structural materials of floors, ceilings, and walls, sometimes without notice until it accumulates in low points or pockets.

The detection of water in structural cavities can often only be found with sensitive moisture meters. Be aware that undetected moisture will eventually lead to the formation of mold and other damage as building materials delaminate, split, shrink, and deteriorate over time.

Be sure to have your house or property inspected with moisture meters to ensure that all the water–hiding and standing–has been removed.

11. Minimize Loss

After a flood, remove any damaged possessions that may be salvageable as soon as you safely can and start airing and drying them out, documenting as you go.

According to FEMA, mold can set in as soon as 24 hours after a flood, so the more quickly you remove salvageable belongings, the better chance you have of saving them.

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Document every item as you remove them from the property, in case they cannot be saved. Create lists of ruined items, noting when they were purchased and the approximate price and value.

If items have been exposed to water for over 48 hours, they are not safe to keep and will likely already have mold spores that can be dangerous and hazardous to your health.

Additionally, never save or eat food that has been contaminated by flood water or even if it has been in close proximity to the flood area for any period of time. If the water reached your refrigerator or any pantry cupboards, it is safest to throw out all the food.

Food contamination is dangerous and can even be deadly. Thoroughly sanitize and wash any dinnerware, glassware, or flatware before you use them again.

12. Dry Things Out

After the visible, standing water has been removed and you have identified hidden moisture pockets, it is time to dry things out.

Mold and bacteria cannot grow on clean and dry materials, so getting things as dry as possible should be a top priority. But be aware that it takes time to get everything dry, particularly if conditions are humid.

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You can and should employ many methods to dry your property including opening the windows (if it is dry and not humid outside) and running the air conditioner or heater to start. Large industrial fans and dehumidifiers can also be set up to target specific areas or rooms.

Keep in mind that any materials that remain saturated for more than 24-48 hours will need to be removed because of the risk of mold growth. Speeding up the drying process in any ways you can will mitigate further damage.

The flooring should be removed to expose the subfloor so it can start drying as soon as possible. Wood subfloors can take months to fully dry out. Carpet padding should be discarded and replaced.

Carpets and vinyl flooring that were under water for less than 24 hours can only be salvaged if the floodwater was not contaminated. They will need to be professionally cleaned and dried.

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Hardwood floorboards need special care and need to be dried slowly to prevent cracking and buckling. Even cement foundations can hold water and will need time to dry.

If you have to remove baseboards and drywall, be sure to take pictures before you start so that the insurer can see the height of water damage to the walls. You can also carefully poke holes at floor levels in the drywall to allow water trapped behind it to escape.

Large, wet pieces of furniture will likely be difficult to dry before mold growth begins and will usually need to be discarded.

After flooding, there are industry standards and health recommendations regarding the dryness and moisture content of building materials. Before renovation can begin, the wood and other materials need to be dry enough to meet these standards in order to ensure that mold will not grow.

In many cases the materials may also have to be disinfected or treated to prevent bacterial and fungal growth. Be patient and careful and you will save yourself further complications down the road.

13. Mitigate Mold

One of the greatest hazards after a flood is mold. We have all heard horror stories about mold growing unseen and unchecked until serious health conditions alerted homeowners to the problem.

Mold can cause serious respiratory problems and other health issues and needs to be treated as a hazardous material by professionals who are trained in proper removal techniques.

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Obviously, preventing its initial growth needs to be a top priority. Your home needs to be completely cleaned and disinfected after a house flood because mold spores can easily spread and cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Every surface should be cleaned with hot water and a heavy-duty detergent or pine oil, then disinfected with a 10% bleach solution to kill germs, bacteria and fungi.

Proper disposal of wet building materials is vitally important as well as completely drying the area and making accurate assessments of how far the water actually spread through the property.

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14. Replacing the Irreplaceable

As you’re cleaning up, if items have been wet for less than 24 hours they may still be salvageable, but you must evaluate if it is worth the cost.

In some cases, the sentimental value of an item may outweigh the cost to dry and clean it properly and it may be worth keeping. Other more disposable items are probably not worth the cost and effort of saving.

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Don’t buy replacement furniture or home furnishings until your home is completely repaired. Bear in mind that this will probably take longer than you think.

When it comes to your photographs, memory books or other important papers, they need to be dried carefully and slowly. You may not have time to do this in the aftermath of a flood, but they can be frozen and cleaned later.

Wash any mud or debris off the items you want to save, and then store them in plastic bags and put them in a freezer to prevent the growth of mildew which will cause additional and permanent damage. These items can stay frozen until you have time to thaw and properly dry and clean them or take them to a professional.

15. Restore What's Been Lost

Once the house or property is clean and dry you can begin the rebuilding process. The extent of the flooding will determine how much work this will take.

For small floods with minimal water damage, this may only require mopping up the water and drying everything completely.

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For extensive flooding, you many need a complete remodel accompanied by considerable mold treatment, and will face many weeks of construction ahead.

Before you begin construction and restoration, you should receive information regarding the final amount of reimbursement from your insurance company. Keep your payout numbers in mind as you make decisions and choices to rebuild your property and make possible upgrades.

In addition paying for the rebuilding materials and labor costs, you will also need to replace furniture, electronics, and household items that were lost or damaged in the flood. Put together a plan that takes all the potential costs into account as you put your home back together again.

If you are living in your home while reconstruction is underway, you can set up dust barriers between the construction areas and the living spaces, but remember that even with these in place, if you are using your kitchen, cooking in a construction zone can make all your food taste a little bit like dust.

16. Be Patient

You might have noticed that there is a lot of waiting in this process. Wait to enter the flooded property until it is safe. Wait to start demolition and reconstruction until after your insurance appraiser comes. Wait for authorization to begin work.

Wait for things to dry out. Wait for things to be rebuilt. Wait to purchase new furniture. And the list goes on.

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This, of course, can be difficult when you just want to get back to “normal,” when you just want to walk into your home and not worry about the smell or the moisture saturation or the mold or the mess. Particularly if the flooding is severe and you have to be displaced for several months, everyday, regular life seems like it might be gone for good. Remember, this too shall pass.

House floods and the resulting restoration process require patience. The first tip on our list may be useful here too…breathe and grieve. Breathe and wait so that things can get done the right way. Grieve the loss of your normal life and your peace (at least for a little while).

The more you can accept that waiting and time are a part of the process–sometimes critical parts that you can’t just skip over–the less frustrating the whole experience will be.

17. Remember You are not alone

A house flood is, admittedly, a difficult experience. Floods can range in severity from a small annoyance to an overwhelming, traumatic event.

But either way, it is difficult. It is easy to look at all the damage and destruction around you and be paralyzed by the enormity of the loss and the work ahead of you. It can be daunting and overwhelming.

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But you are not alone. There are professionals with years of experience and hours of training that know exactly what to do to restore things to the way they were, clean and dry.

Restoration contractors will help you through the process from start to finish, from water removal to drying to rebuilding. They are experts at mold detection and removal and they will take all the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe and healthy. They will help you file claims and answer your questions and alleviate your fears. They will be your partner in the aftermath of a house flood.

At Titan Restoration, we know about flooding. Over the years we’ve seen almost every situation from dying water heaters and broken sump-pumps to gale-force winds and monsoon rains that leave feet of standing water in their wake. We’ve waded through more mud and water (and much worse) than you hopefully will ever have to and we know exactly how to walk you through the process to restore your property and your life.

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Our technicians are experts at their jobs. They will work hard removing standing water and monitoring building materials and structural cavities for hidden saturation.

They know exactly what to look for as they dry out your property, they know how to safely handle mold and prevent regrowth, and they do their work at the highest standard of excellence.

We are proud of our ongoing, continuous training efforts and we keep up on and adopt the newest and best industry practices.

When things are clean and dry and it’s safe to rebuild, our reconstruction work is impeccable and beautiful.

We value our customers and do everything we can to ease the stress of the restoration process through communication and absolute honesty.

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In every way, we strive to minimize loss–for you and for your insurer. We do this for our customers by responding quickly, working efficiently, and preventing further damage. We do this for insurance carriers by providing outstanding results on every job and using the latest techniques to solve problems and mitigate costs.

We also do this by providing excellent customer service and communication to minimize the headaches, delays, and worries of the restoration process. Every day, on every job, our whole team works hard to minimize your loss.

If the forces of nature or the random acts of Murphy’s Law cause a flood in your home or property, Titan Restoration of Arizona has the skills, the experience, and the expertise to put things right again, and we’re here to help.

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Conclusion

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