Recent Storm Damage Posts

3 Ways To Protect Yourself From Flooding After a Wildfire

10/1/2022 (Permalink)

disaster recovery centers staffed with recovery specialists from FEMA Buying FEMA NFIP insurance can help you protect your home against water damage.

Three Ways to Prevent Flooding After a Wildfire

Although wildfires can be nature’s way of clearing the land to bring forth new growth, the area that is cleansed of plant life by the blaze may cause several problems for you as a homeowner. You may believe your home is safe now the fire has been extinguished, but there are other problems that can occur as a result of the wildfire. That is why there are three ways you can protect yourself from further harm, including the FEMA NFIP program.

1. Watershed
After wildfire damage near your home, the shrub, tree, and grass roots are no longer able to support the runoff and erosion rates of water surrounding your home. The possibility of soil detachment becomes much greater. There are probably also areas close to your home where the earth was baked to a point that water cannot seep into the soil and must find another area for penetration. What this means for your home is an increased possibility of flooding. Consider tilling areas at least 8 to 10 feet from your home to allow the water easier access to ground penetration. You may also want to plant vegetation to help retain the rain waters.

2. Flood Insurance
Flood insurance is not covered by most standard homeowner’s insurance policies. That is why the government developed the FEMA NFIP program. This national flood insurance can help protect your home and property should floodwaters invade the building and cause extensive flooding damage.

3. Barriers
If your home in Barton Creek, TX, is especially susceptible to the possibility of flood damage, consider purchasing barriers or creating sand bags to prevent water from invading your home during heavy rainfalls. Stone or brick walls can also help keep water away from your yard as it flows along, though gates may allow some water to get through onto your property. Contact a water mitigation specialist for questions on how to protect your property.
One of the best preventative measures you can take to guard your home against flooding is to plan ahead. Buying FEMA NFIP insurance, building barriers, and planting shrubs can help you protect your home against water damage.

3 Types of Storm Shutters To Consider

8/2/2022 (Permalink)

Rolling shutters Roll-down storm shutters are the strongest option available.

Protect Your Home With the Following Types of Shutter

If you face frequent high winds at your Bee Cave, TX, home, you want to find ways to protect your home from destruction. In a strong enough storm, even a tiny tree branch can become a powerful projectile and easily shatter a window, letting the weather into your home. Here are three types of shutters you can choose from to protect your windows during a storm.

1. Accordion Coverings
Accordion coverings are among the most popular and cost-effective choices when looking at your options. On average, they will cost you about $15-$25 a square foot, depending on what material you decide to use and whether or not you have a storm mitigation specialist install them.
Accordion coverings are well-liked because you install them once, and then they fold up alongside the windows, out of the way until you need to use them again. The one downside is that they might not look good on all styles of homes. For example, the window coverings might be too bulky and look out of place on a Cape Cod or Colonial-style home.

2. Roll-Down Storm Shutters
Roll-down coverings are the strongest option available, but they are also the most expensive - costing between $20 and $30 per square foot. The coverings are secured permanently to the framing of your home, so you never have to worry about finding a storage spot for them. When high winds hit your area, you simply need to push a button for them to automatically roll down and lock into place, protecting your windows from damage.

3. Colonial Coverings
Colonial coverings are attractive coverings that won't detract from the design of your home. The coverings are attached to either side of your window and can be closed and locked together during a storm with high winds. They can be made from fiberglass, wood, or metal and typically range from $200 to $500 per window.
Dealing with powerful weather systems can be challenging, but installing the right equipment can protect your home and keep the weather out.

Flooding Solutions: 3 Ways To Use Your Landscaping to Your Advantage

6/8/2022 (Permalink)

Hands grabbing mulch Use heavy mulch.

Three Ways To Update Your Landscaping

If your Austin, TX, home gets frequent heavy storms and you deal with flooding, you likely want to find ways to mitigate the damage. When you modify your landscaping, you protect your home from outside flooding and potential destruction and make your property more beautiful. Here are three ways to update your landscaping to help protect you in a rain storm.

1. Install Rain Drainage Driveways
Driveways are one of the most significant contributors to stormwater runoff damage in a home. The best driveway materials for helping control rainwater are spaced paving and gravel. These materials filter the water and allow it to drain into the ground instead of funneling it directly to your home. If you can't redo your driveway and already have concrete or asphalt installed, then add drainage ditches on either side to help control the runoff.

2. Reroute Rain Spouts
During heavy rains, your rain spouts are pouring water out. If your spouts drain right next to your foundation, you will find that you have problems with outside flooding, which could make its way into your home. When this flooding happens, you'll have to contact a water damage repair specialist to repair any damage sustained.
To control the deluge, reroute your rain spouts away from the house. You can use special connectors to ensure the water goes to lower ground, well away from your home.

3. Use Heavy Mulch
When you're placing mulch in garden beds around your home, you want it to be a minimum of six inches deep and to be made of large, heavy pieces that won't easily float away. The mulch will hold the soil in place and drain the rainwater, which will keep outside flooding under control. It's also important to remember to space the mulch four to six inches from the side of your home to prevent your siding from rotting.
When you use your landscaping to help control the flooding in your yard, you'll find that you don't have much to worry about when the rain starts coming down.

5 Storm Damage Situations Property Owners Frequently Experience

10/27/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: The experts at SERVPRO of Lakeway / Westlake explain common storm damage scenarios and the solutions residents need to recover smoothly from storm damage scenarios.

Storms are a regular part of life in Texas. For property owners, storms can spell unexpected trouble in the form of floods, physical property damage, mold, expensive repairs, and more. 

SERVPRO is an experienced team of thoroughly trained restoration technicians providing comprehensive property damage restoration services, including water damage restoration, fire and smoke remediation, and mold removal in the Westlake and Austin areas. 

Their experienced technicians shared five of the common types of storm damages that many property owners in Texas may face. For more information about storm damage or storm damage restoration services, reach out to SERVPRO today.

5 Common Storm Damage Scenarios to Look Out For

#1: Lightning and thunderstorm damage 

Thunderstorms in Texas produce their fair share of dangerous conditions, including heavy rains, lightning, and more. When lightning strikes trees, homes, businesses, powerlines, or other common structures, the damage can be anywhere from minimal to disastrous. 

Lightning strikes can cause fires, falling limbs/trees, electrical hazards, and other severe issues. Storm and fire restoration companies can help repair fire, smoke, and other damages caused by lightning strikes.

#2: Hail damage 

Big storms mean significant dangers. Hail is a type of dangerous precipitation caused by rapidly freezing water, and odds are most people have experienced it in some form. The size of hail ranges from pea-sized to grapefruit, but even smaller hail can cause considerable damage. 

Broken windows, dented rooftops, bent vents, damaged siding, and other issues are typical in areas that experience frequent hailstorms. Storm damage restoration companies like SERVPRO work to restore and remediate damages caused by hail and help property owners take preventative measures when possible. 

#3: Storm-related flood damage 

Heavy storms often produce significant rainfall that can cause flooding in rivers, lakes, and ponds. When flooding occurs, property damage can happen in many forms, including ground displacement, flooding basements, commercial properties, and homes, and more. Following flood damage, mold can set in and cause further damage, making properties unsafe for use. 

Because floods happen quickly, emergency water restoration services are available to provide fast solutions to flood damage. Water cleanup providers and water restoration companies offer various services designed to make properties safe for use again. 

These experts remove water and work with clients to establish a restoration, repair, and prevention plan. In the weeks after a flood, mold remediation companies provide mold removal and mold growth prevention to help streamline the property damage restoration process.

#4: Wind damage 

Thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other types of storms can produce damaging winds that threaten both life and property. When these storms happen, property owners often face a range of damages, including: 

  •       Damage from falling limbs or trees
  •       Broken windows
  •       Damaged rooftops or lost shingles
  •       Lost or damaged siding
  •       Damage to signage, stands, or other fixtures
  •       And more

#5: Winter storm damage 

While the Austin area rarely sees heavy snowfall, winter storms can still test the structural integrity of homes and businesses. Many property owners are unprepared for below-freezing temperatures, often leading to burst pipes. Storm restoration companies like SERVPRO help property owners recover from winter storm damage by restoring structures and remediating water damage, among other services. 

Contact SERVPRO for more information about storm damage and property damage restoration, including commercial water damage restoration and commercial cleaning service in Lakeway, TX. Call 512-261-4790 today.

SERVPRO: Storm damage tips for homeowners

8/24/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: This SERVPRO article explains the initial steps property owners can take after the storms have ceased. 

Storm damage tips

A tornado, hailstorm, or thunderstorm can cause devastation for miles. These natural occurrences can lead to severe property damage, including flooding and wind damage. SERVPRO, a storm damage restoration service, shares the following storm damage restoration tips that homeowners can follow.

  • Insurance claims

Irrespective of DIY or professional restoration, insurance must be taken care of first. 

  1. Take photos of the damage as proof to the insurance agent at the earliest.
  2. Homeowners’ insurance generally covers sudden, accidental damage such as a tree falling and damaging the house roof during high winds and thunderstorms. 
  3. But some homeowners' policies may exclude windstorms and hail damage. Read the policy thoroughly or talk with the insurance agent.
  4. Since flooding from natural disasters is generally not covered in these policies, homeowners need to buy separate flood insurance from The National Flood Insurance Program
  • Assess home damage

If homeowners have evacuated the house, they must receive the safety clearance from the local authorities before returning to the house. Basic safety precautions must be followed after the storm such as avoiding fallen power lines and standing water.

  1. Plumbing - Water damage is highly likely after a storm due to the flash floods and sewage backup.

  • Inspect the pipes inside and outside the house (irrigation systems).

  • Switch off the water supply. If not possible, at least turn off the water valves to toilets and sinks. 
  • Sewage backup in the shower or under the toilet indicates a clogged or broken sewer line. This is an issue best managed by a professional team. 
  1. Roofing - A damaged roof is a candidate for further water damage.

  • Inspect the roof for missing shingles. However, some roof damage may not be visible from the ground and would need an expert inspection. A professional roofing team such as SERVPRO can help. 
  • Often there may be a need for a temporary solution to prevent the water from seeping in. A professional team can address this until a permanent solution is found and applied. 
  • A professional team has the expertise and the equipment to address roofing issues and prevent any further damage.
  1. Electrical

  • The electricity supply must be switched off.
  • Appliances exposed to water must be serviced by an expert before being used. 
  • Watch out for frayed wires and sparks.
  • Exposed wires are a danger and require the attention of an electrician. The power should remain off until the electrician has assessed the situation. 
  • Exterior breaker boxes, although rain-tight, may succumb to a major storm. Any water infiltration in the box must be addressed by an electrician and only then should the power be turned on.
  • Avoid metal fences as they may be an electrocution risk due to dangling utility wires.
  • Branches or trees that have fallen on power lines must be cleared or cut by a professional team.  

3. Flooding

A flooded house is best addressed by a professional restoration company such as SERVPRO with its state-of-the-art equipment, experience, and IICRC certifications.

For a DIY restoration, homeowners must use protective gear such as boots, gloves, eye protection, and a respirator.

  1. Mitigate the water damage by removing standing water as soon as possible.
  2. Use a pump or squeegee the standing water.
  3. Use a vacuum only if it’s a true wet-dry vacuum.
  4. Remove all contents that may have absorbed the contaminated floodwaters such as carpeting, carpet padding, furniture, and drapes.
  5. Use air movers and dehumidifiers to dry out the area. Homeowners may have to purchase or rent this equipment. 
  6. Dispose of all medicines, cosmetics, and foods that have been submerged in floodwaters.
  7. Inspect the walls and floors for hidden moisture, and remove the damaged portions to prevent mold growth. However, a thorough detection of moisture requires sophisticated devices that homeowners may not have access to.
  8. Clean floors and cabinets with detergent and then disinfect them.  
  9. Keep photographic documentation of the damaged items that are being disposed of, for insurance purposes. A professional team may have a more discerning eye when it comes to identifying items that are salvageable.
  1. Automobiles 
  1. Automobiles may get easily damaged by floodwaters, tree branches, or debris.
  2. An insurance agent must be notified of any automobile damage.
  3. Temporarily cover broken windows to prevent further damage.
  4. Create an inventory of valuables that are lost or damaged in the car. 
  1. Beware of scams

It is not uncommon for scams to emerge during these catastrophes. However, by following certain criteria during the hiring process, homeowners can ensure they are not taken advantage of. 

  1. Work with local and renowned contractors. Ask for reviews and recommendations.
  2. Pay when the task is completed and is at par with industry standards. Preferably pay with a check or a credit card.
  3. Beware of any “now or never” offers from contractors.
  4. Ask for a written estimate of damage and cost. 
  5. Hire companies that are licensed and certified by IICRC.

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lakeway / Westlake is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lakeway, West Lake Hills, or anywhere else can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire the regular IICRC-industry certification.

For storm damage restoration services, in Austin, TX, and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Lakeway / Westlake today at (512) 261-4790.

SERVPRO Busts Five Storm Damage Myths for Homeowners

6/23/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: SERVPRO gives details on the myths floating around about storm damage that usually leads to further losses for homeowners. SERVPRO shares the truth about storm damage in this article.

Debunking the myths about storm damage

A storm forecast is a sign to gear up and prepare for the worst-case scenarios. After the storm is past, there are damages that every homeowner needs to review and mend. But there are a lot of myths surrounding storm damage that cause homeowners immense loss simply due to misinformation. SERVPRO debunks certain myths around storm damage that can help homeowners make the right decisions at the right time when it comes to storm damage restoration.

Myth #1: No evident sign of damage means there is no damage

Fact: Once the storm is over, a visual survey of the property is the next step homeowners need to take. A roof that has not collapsed or isn’t showing visible signs of damage does not indicate it is undamaged. A minor crack, small puncture, or dent can grow bigger and cause considerable water damage if not addressed as soon as possible. The hidden signs of roof damage can be:

  1. Shingle bruises

A loose roof shingle is easily spotted but a shingle bruise can be seen upon closer inspection only. Bruises are small, dark spots on the shingles where an impact of hail causes the granules to come loose.

  1. Nicks & dents in soft metals

Hail can damage the roof by causing nicks and dents in the soft metals. These dents are indicators that the roof must be closely examined for shingle bruises as well.

  1. Loose granules

Roofs generally lose granules over time. After a storm, roof damage is indicated by a marked increase in the number of granules that may go undetected as they will be found on the ground or in the gutters.

A professional roofing expert can detect these unnoticeable damages to the roof and save the roof from further disintegration. 

Myth #2: All storm damage is covered by roofing warranties

Fact: There is a common misconception that a new roofing system means all storm-related damage is covered in the warranty. In fact, most roofing companies and manufacturers exclude storm and hail damage from roof warranties. Even with an updated coverage, a roofing warranty will be redundant if the storm damage is undocumented and left unchecked.

Myth #3: Not filing a claim won’t raise the premium

Fact: After a storm, an insurer is likely to raise the home insurance rates whether a claim is filed or not. A property in a storm-prone area and a history of filed claims increase the likelihood of the premium going up. So a timely claim is a wise move even in case of minor damages as it allows a prompt restoration of the house. 

Myth #4: Minimal damage means there’s no need to file a claim

Fact: Even minor damage to a roof is a strong ground for insurance claims. If this minor damage is left unaddressed, there are possibilities of major roof damage which may not be covered by insurance due to negligence. 

Myth #5 Insurance company will cancel a policy if the homeowner files a claim 

Fact: If a homeowner is paying premiums on time, insurance companies cannot cancel a policy as per law. 

A professional storm damage restoration team such as SERVPRO of Westlake/Lakeway has the experience and the expertise to assess the storm damage accurately, take precise actions to correct the damage, and even advise the homeowner in matters of insurance.

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lakeway / Westlake is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lakeway, Westlake, or anywhere else can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire the regular IICRC-industry certification.

For storm damage restoration services in Lakeway, Tx, call SERVPRO of Lakeway / Westlake today at (512) 261-4790.

Tips to be prepared for hurricanes and winter storms

5/18/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO discusses in detail the various steps to take in preparation for a storm and how the SERVPRO helps in storm restoration services.

Preparation is the best defense

Hurricanes

Hurricanes are accompanied by storm surges and inland flooding, which have historically been the number one and two causes of loss of life. As a result of high winds and water from a storm surge, homes, businesses, and crops may be destroyed or damaged, public infrastructure may also be compromised, and people may suffer injuries or loss of life.

Additionally, hurricane-related hazards don’t disappear when the weather clears. There is an aftermath that lasts for weeks and maybe even months.

  • Before the storm - Prepare

The best way to combat a storm is to be prepared with an emergency plan before disaster strikes. SERVPRO suggests some Hurricane and Tropical Storm Emergency Preparedness tips in the event of a weather-related disaster. These can protect human life as well as property.  

Build a basic emergency supply Kit 

A basic kit should be stocked to supply each of the family members with water and food for at least three days. Consider including food for pets, as well as any necessary medications in the kit. 

  • Water (one gallon/person per day)
  • Three-day non-perishable Food supply
  • Manual Can Opener
  • Battery-operated radio, preferably an NOAA Weather radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Local Maps Important Documents, such as copies of Insurance Policies, identification, and Bank Account information Matches (in a waterproof container)

2 . After the storm surge

Storm surge could be life-threatening. If the water does enter the structure through the flooding of a creek, stream, or river, or if it has filtered through insulation during its intrusion, it is considered to be black water and could cause health effects. Here are some dos and don'ts suggested by SERVPRO until the disaster recovery team arrives: 

:

  • Avoid contact with contaminated items as much as possible.
  • Take the greatest caution while entering the property.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and protective clothing when dealing with flooded areas.
  • Do not attempt to operate any electrical equipment while standing in wet or damp locations.
  • Throw away all foods—even canned goods—that have come into contact with floodwaters.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and pillow cushions for drying.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • If the property has a crawlspace, beware of excess moisture that can foster mold growth in that area.

Winter storms

These are precipitation that is mainly snow, sleet, or freezing rain. Often coupled with strong winds and below-freezing temperatures, winter storms can be dangerous.

Before the storm - Prepare 
  1. Weatherproof the property - During the year, checking and maintaining the property would prove worth the effort and enable a prepared response:
  • Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so the water supply will be less likely to freeze.
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Insulate walls and attic.
  • Install storm or thermal-pane windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
  • Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on the house or other structures during a storm.
  1. Get chimney or flue inspected every year

If a fireplace or wood stove is expected to be used for emergency heating, make sure the chimney or flue is inspected yearly, without fail. The local fire department can make a recommendation or one can be found online.

  1. Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector
  • These two gadgets must be installed near a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater if there is a possibility of the heating to be used. The gadgets must be tested monthly and the batteries must be replaced twice a year.
  • Keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby.
  • All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside.
  • Every winter, get the furnace system and vent checked by a qualified technician to ensure optimum functioning.
  1. Keep a thermometer indoors
A human body’s ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age and therefore an easy to see thermometer can be very handy. Since older adults are more susceptible to health effects caused by cold, check the house temperature often during the winter months.
  1. Prepare the car 

Traveling is best avoided but in emergencies, the car must be ready. Therefore the following steps must be taken: 

  • Get the vehicles serviced as often as the manufacturer recommends.
  • Get the radiator system serviced or check the antifreeze level with an antifreeze tester. Add antifreeze as needed.
  • Replace windshield-wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture.
  • Replace any worn tires and fill low tires with air to the proper pressure recommended for the car 
  • Keep the gas tank almost full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Keep the car in good working condition. Be sure to check the following: heater, defroster, brakes, brake fluid, ignition, emergency flashers, exhaust, oil, and battery.
  1. Create a car emergency kit
  • Cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries
  • Items to stay warm such as extra hats, coats, mittens, and blankets
  • Windshield scraper
  • Shovel
  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Water and snack food
  • First aid kit with any necessary medications and a pocket knife
  • Tow chains or rope
  • Tire chains
  • Canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair
  • Cat litter or sand to help tires get traction, or road salt to melt ice
  • Booster cables with a fully charged battery or jumper cables
  • Hazard or other reflectors
  • Bright colored flag or help signs, emergency distress flag, and/or emergency flares
  • Road maps
  • Waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water
  1. Tune in to weather forecasts, and check supplies.

Listen to weather forecasts regularly and check emergency supplies, including emergency food and water supply, whenever a winter storm is expected. Weather forecasts provide several days of notice to prepare.

  1. Bring the pets indoors

If pets can’t be brought inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they have access to unfrozen water.

These steps must be followed until help arrives. When a storm damage restoration company like SERVPRO arrives, the highly qualified technicians will assess the damage and create a report. Based on this report, technicians will be appointed to deal with water, fire, and mold damage besides any requisite building and cleaning services.

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lakeway / Westlake is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lakeway, Westlake, or anywhere else can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire the regular IICRC-industry certification.

For storm restoration services, call SERVPRO® of Lakeway/Westlake today at (512) 261-4790.

Storm Damage Restoration: 5 Immediate Steps to Take Right After a Disaster

3/26/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO, a damage remediation company serving Austin, TX, and surrounding areas, offers five practical tips on what to do after storm damage to a home or business.

The aftermath of a major storm can be overwhelming. Personal safety and the safety of loved ones naturally come first, but after everyone is safe, what comes next? The 24-hour emergency response team at SERVPRO of Lakeway / Westlake, TX, recommends home and business owners take these five steps right after a disaster to speed up the restoration process.

SERVPRO is a locally owned storm, fire, and water restoration company with the resources of a national franchise. They’ve served North Austin for over 20 years.

Storm Damage Restoration: 5 Immediate Steps to Take Right After a Disaster

Step 1: Evaluate Safety Concerns

Before taking any other action, check that it is safe to enter or remain in the building or call a professional to do so. Disconnect power to any electrical devices that may have been damaged by water. Watch for broken glass, and be sure to wear shoes with adequate puncture protection. 

Look for any signs of damage to the electrical wiring, such as frayed wires, sparks, or signs of fire damage around electrical fixtures. Do not attempt to fix damaged wiring yourself. Cut power to the building and call for help.

Step 2: Call a Storm Damage Restoration Company

Once it’s safe to do so, contact a storm damage restoration company. After a major disaster, many companies book up quickly. The sooner an inspection is set up, the faster the restoration process will get started. Quick action is vital to prevent safety risks and more extensive damage. 

Step 3: Take Steps to Prevent Further Damage

While waiting for a storm damage restoration company, take steps to minimize the damage to the building. Check for any active leaks. For plumbing leaks, turn off the water. For roof damage, place something under the leak to catch as much water as possible. 

Cover any broken windows. A tarp, shower curtain, or even trash bags will suffice if a sturdier option, such as wood, is not available. 

Step 4: Document the Damage

Take photographs or videos of the building, paying close attention to damaged areas. A visual record of damage will be important during the insurance claims process. While a storm damage restoration company will also help supplement that record, having photos from immediately after the damage will provide proof the damage was incurred in the storm. 

Remember to fully document the loss, including things like lost food due to power outages or wall art damaged by flooding. 

Step 5: File an Insurance Claim

After the building is safe and secure and a storm damage restoration company is on the way, beginning the insurance claims process is a solid next step, especially if the structure is uninhabitable. Many homeowners insurance policies will cover the cost of a hotel or short-term rental during the restoration process. 

About SERVPRO

SERVPRO offers a comprehensive range of building restoration and cleaning services, including water removal, mold remediation, and more.

To learn more about storm restoration services in the Lakeway and Westlake area, contact SERVPRO at (512) 261-4790 or follow their Facebook page for news and updates on storm damage and damage restoration.

Contact Information: 

SERVPRO of Lakeway / Westlake

12600 Hill Country Boulevard
Building – 5 Suite R-275
Bee Cave, TX 73738

www.SERVPROlakewaywestlake.com/

An In-Depth Guide to Navigate the Tricky Insurance Claims Process

1/19/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Inform yourself and stay resilient with this compilation of professional insider advice for navigating insurance claims for storm damage. SERVPRO offers guidance on recovering from a natural disaster to reconstruct residential assets.

For over two decades, storm after storm has crashed into the Austin/Lakeway area, disrupting everyday life and damaging homes. To help adjust to these storms, the professionals at SERVPRO have devised a strategy to resolve residential storm damage in Bee Cave, Texas and surrounding areas.

A Homeowner’s Guide to Storm Damage Insurance Claims

Know what types of damage insurance companies cover

Homeowners do not typically plan for a catastrophic storm to lay waste to their property. They might not carry the right policies, whether knowingly or not. 

The types of damage most insurance companies will cover:

  • Hail storms
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Winter storms
  • Lightning strikes
  • Frozen water damage
  • Excessive snow pile-up
  • Fallen trees
  • Power outages

Lastly, the homeowner must not have caused the damage due to negligence. Be sure to pay attention to any hazards to minimize the risk of losing coverage.

If any amount of loss or damage occurs from a natural event, an advisable first step is to check with the insurance company. Some may define storm damage differently than others, but the underlying cause for damage must originate from an uncontrollable natural event.

Note that many insurance companies do not include earthquakes or floods under the storm damage umbrella. Separate policies exist to cover earthquake or flood damage.

Take advantage of loss of use or similar programs

Damage of any kind can cause headaches in the aftermath. In the worst-case scenario, resources exist to assist if storm damage has rendered a residence unsafe. 

Some insurance companies can provide assistance for unexpected living expenses. Such programs will only come into play given that storm damage has barred a homeowner access to essential needs. This situation is called loss of use.

If a case qualifies for loss of use assistance, funds provided can assist with costs like hotel lodging, meals, laundry, and other expenses outlined in the insurance policy. Be sure to verify the types of expenses allowed under loss of use so you don’t try to bill the wrong items to the insurance provider.

Find a reputable company for storm damage restoration

After filing an insurance claim, the next step involves finding and hiring someone to repair the water damage. You never want to take on this task yourself. Not only is it complicated, but it can be unsafe. 

Water removal might seem simple, but it can pose hidden dangers. First, you can come into contact with live electrical wires during flood cleanup. Next, standing water can allow mold to form. If this happens, you will need a professional mold removal team to ensure no trace of the bacteria remains. 

Work with your insurance representative to find a company compatible with the current insurance provider. You can also ask friends and family who have needed building restoration in the past.

Find a team with experience dealing with storm damage commonly encountered in Texas. Storm damage restoration can encompass many different situations. If your home has standing water, you might need to work with mold remediation companies. If you have leaks in the ceiling, you will want to contact water restoration companies. 

Finally, sort companies by their quality of work. Word of mouth will provide the most honest evaluation of a company. Check out customer reviews to examine the types of experiences other customers had with a particular company.

About SERVPRO

SERVPRO has helped Texas homeowners and businesses for decades. In addition to storm damage repair, the team offers commercial cleaning, fire damage restoration, and air duct cleaning throughout the 78738 area. When you need help in Bee Cave, TX, call SERVPRO of Lakeway / Westlake at (512) 261-4790

Be Aware and Prepare Ahead

12/26/2020 (Permalink)

If you live in an area prone to storms or flooding, you are aware of the water damage a storm or flood can inflict to your home. Preparing for a storm or flood before it happens will minimize the amount of damage your home in Bee Cave, TX has to withstand. When you need to prepare for a severe storm or flood utilize the following safety tips. 

  1. Sign Up for Flood Alerts.

The golden rule of flood safety is to keep your eyes and ears open for danger. If you don't know it's coming, you can’t prepare. Signing up for local and national weather alert systems helps to stay in the loop prior to a storm.

  1. Install and Maintain Your Sump Pump.

Installing a sump pump to prevent flooding by collecting and redirecting excess ground water can be handy. However, if you install one, you need to ensure it is properly maintained and in good working order.

  1. Elevate Electrical Devices.

Flood water can destroy electronic devices, and enhance the danger in your home by electrifying standing flood water. Therefore, all electrical components, including switch boards, circuit breakers, wiring and more should remain elevated at least a foot above the projected flood level. 

  1. Waterproof and Relocate Valuables.

Place all valuable possessions, such as important documents, family heirlooms, photos and portable electronic devices in sealed waterproof containers and store them on high shelves on the top floor of your home.

  1. Build an Emergency Supply Kit.

Flooding can leave your household stranded for hours, or days. Always keeping a stocked emergency supply kit could potentially save your life. This should include, but is not limited to, items such as handheld two-way radios, a flashlight, extra batteries, bandages, gauze, non-perishable food items and plenty of fresh water for the family and pets.

Storm safety is a serious matter. The above safety tips can help reduce the amount of damage your home sustains, but doesn’t guarantee complete protection. Contact experts in flood restoration if your home has recently suffered any type of water damage.

Flooding: The #1 United States Natural Disaster

12/19/2020 (Permalink)

Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States annually. Many homeowners are confronted with the possibility of flood damage. Water disregards the precious memories and possessions inside a home, and the furniture and equipment in a business.  Water damage occurs from many sources, but flood damage remains the number one reason to call a water restoration expert.

A flooded home quickly begins to deteriorate. In very severe floods, the water in the home can reach upper levels. Flood water is the most toxic to physical objects. It contains bacteria, mud, and various toxic chemicals picked up on its journey into the home. If you've got flood water in your home, there's no time to waste in calling a flood restoration company. Water cleanup in a flooded home is a massive project and not something that should be taken lightly by homeowners.

A  professional restoration company will:

  1. Respond quickly
  2. Access the damage and make a plan
  3. Begin water removal using specialized equipment for extraction
  4. Use industrial grade air movers and dehumidifiers to dry the home or business completely, checking moisture levels to ensure drying is complete. 
  5. Clean and Sanitize the affected area and restores salvageable items. This prevents secondary damage such as mold.
  6. Restore the property to its preloss condition

Any invasion by water should be treated seriously, especially if the culprit is contaminated flood water. The moment you know that flood water has entered the home, it's time to call a restoration company.

Visit https://www.SERVPROlakewaywestlake.com for more information on water damage.

Solar Panels: Will They Survive a Storm?

12/18/2020 (Permalink)

If you are a homeowner with solar panels, and consider them to be a great energy solution for your house, you may feel anxious about what panel damage may occur during inclement weather. These modern pieces of equipment are highly resilient and designed for outdoor use. You should be primarily concerned about the panels being ruined in situations where extensive roof damage is likely.

Situations in which damage may result include:

  • Temperature extremes that come with certain storms
  • Contact with heavily falling hail
  • Stress from the panels’ own operation in situations where high voltage is present
  • Hurricane conditions

What to Do After Damage

After a storm, if you notice any damage to your panels, check with your insurance provider to see if the solar panels are covered by your policy. Contacting a local storm damage restoration company is also a good idea, as they can usually handle various types of destruction and help you clean up any wreckage. Most storm recovery specialists will be able to arrive on scene fairly quickly and assess existing damage. If they cannot help you recover certain losses, they may have suggestions on what you can do to restore your property to its normal state.

Panel damage is not something any energy-conscious homeowner wants to think about, but it is important to know what could possibly happen in the event of a natural disaster. Keep in mind that, even though most panels will withstand an impressive amount of pressure, it is good to understand your restoration options if tragedy should strike at your place of residence.

A Residential Preparation Guide to Reduce Storm Damages

12/15/2020 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Texas is no stranger to devastating weather conditions that cause homeowners thousands of dollars in storm damage repair. Here, SERVPRO of Lakeway/Westlake, Bee Cave, TX,  discusses how to prepare a residential home for upcoming inclement weather to reduce storm damage. 

A Residential Preparation Guide to Reduce Storm Damages

Texas weather often leads to unfortunate storm damage that can devastate a residential home. If you have advanced warning of inclement weather, you can prepare your house. These steps will reduce storm damage that can weaken the building’s foundation, promote mold growth, destroy building materials, and create water damage. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Texas could experience between 19 to 25 damaging named storms this year.

SERVPRO of Lakeway/Westlake in Bee Cave, TX, offers helpful storm damage prevention tips below.

Storm Damage Prevention for Your Yard and Home Exterior

Before the storm, you need to ensure that the water can drain off your roof and away from your home to prevent flooding. Ensure that you:

  • Schedule gutter cleaning twice a year to prevent clogs that can back water onto your roof and into your home
  • Inspect your roof for loose or missing shingles that can let water into your attic, and replace them when necessary
  • Contact contractor to seal small foundation cracks with masonry caulk to prevent water damage in home’s lowest level
  • Trim trees near the house to prevent branches from falling on the building from heavy winds or torrential rain.
  • Remove loose debris, including trash cans, toys, bicycles, and lawn furniture to reduce the risk of wind-induced projectiles from flying into or onto your home.

Storm Damage Prevention for Your Home’s Interior

The entryways to your house are highly susceptible to storm damage, but you can secure windows and doors by:

  • Making all necessary repairs to doors and windows
  • Preventing water damage by using caulk around window interiors and exteriors or installing a plastic film to prevent water seepage
  • Replacing broken glass windows

Wind surges and fallen trees can down power lines, resulting in loss of electricity to your home. To combat this issue, you may use a portable generator or home generator to provide enough energy to keep your sump pump and refrigerator running. If you intend to use a generator, remember to:

  • Have a functional CO detector in your house
  • Keep generator away from windows, doors, and crawl spaces
  • Never add fuel to a hot or running generator

Seek Assistance from Storm and Water Restoration Companies

In some situations, you may not have enough time to prepare your home against an impending storm. Once the storm hits, you may need water or flood cleanup to deal with water damage.  

If your home has water damage and you don’t take care of the water removal, you may have harmful levels of mold growth, which can begin 24 to 48 hours after a flood. Mold remediation companies offer mold removal services and can restore optimal mold levels in the home, but a building restoration service may include this feature within their restoration package.

Why SERVPRO

SERVPRO of Lakeway/Westlake is the premier residential and commercial cleaning service in Bee Cave, Texas. Serving clients for over two decades, their highly trained team offers water cleanup and storm damage restoration with 24-hour emergency services. They will quickly respond to a disaster of any size to ensure that your home is habitable after an unfortunate weather event.

To learn more about how these experts can restore your home from storm damage, call (512) 261-4790 or follow them on Facebook for their most up-to-date news.

Contact Information:

SERVPRO of Lakeway / Westlake

P: (512) 261-4790

12600 Hill Country Boulevard

Building – 5 Suite R-275

Bee Cave, TX 73738

Expediting the Recovery Process After Flooding

12/9/2020 (Permalink)

If you live in or around Texas Hill Country sometimes referred to as, Flash Flood Alley, you know floods happen. You have probably experienced or know someone who has experienced flood damage. Flood water doesn’t care what is in its path, and can destroy everything it comes in contact with. Saving your home after a flood requires a quick response and ruthless action. 

Many believe, “It isn’t that bad.”or “Everything will dry.” They may think only new carpets, repainting, and new wallpaper is all that is needed for recovery.

Unfortunately, this is all incorrect. With water damage, time is working against you. Water from a flood is unsanitary, and moist conditions promote quick mold growth. In as little as 48 hours, you may already have an early-stage mold problem. If it becomes visible, the real problems begin, and restoration costs can go through the roof. 

Flood damage restoration is best handled by professionals in storm damage or water restoration. If you are going to attempt flood cleanup remember the following.

Flood Recovery Begins at the High-Water Mark

This mark on the indoor walls of your home is the starting point for your restoration efforts. When the mark is on the wallboard, you can assume that the damage extends above this mark and behind the wall. Flood cuts are a simple and effective way to deal with this wallboard damage.

Flood Cuts Speed Up Drying and Save Money

These cuts remove wet and conserve undamaged wallboard. It keeps the repair costs low. A horizontal, straight and clean flood cut simplifies late-stage wallboard repairs. The flood cut is the first of a three-step recovery process.

Where to Make a Flood Cut

Mark a horizontal line one foot above the high-water mark and cut along that line. Tear out and dispose of all wallboard below the cut. If the damage extends above the line, draw a higher line and cut again. Continue until the damaged wallboard removal is complete.

Remove and dispose of all wet insulation behind the wall. Leave the space open until it is dry and time to install new wallboard.

Drying

Deploy fans and other drying equipment to dry studs and other structural components. Also, evaluate other features behind the wallboard. They may include electrical, plumbing and HVAC equipment. 

Be Aware of Contamination

Finally, be aware that contamination is frequently an issue with flooding. Sewage, pesticides and other chemicals are common in floodwater. Cleaning and disinfecting may be required.

When your home is in need of flood recovery, remember there are flood recovery professionals ready to respond in the Westlake Hills, TX, area. They have the equipment, training and experience to deal with your flooding problem quickly and thoroughly. It all begins with a simple phone call.

Outdoor Maintenance to Prevent Storm Damage

12/9/2020 (Permalink)

When preparing for an upcoming storm, protecting your home is your priority and something to take seriously. Outdoor maintenance goes a long way to assist in minimizing damage resulting from a severe storm. 

While storm damage restoration experts can help with storm and water cleanup after the fact, prevention will save time and money.The following outdoor tasks can help protect against wind damage and water intrusion to your home.

Secure or Store Loose Items

Severe storms often come with high winds. To prevent damage from wind blown items all loose such as  outdoor furniture, trampolines and building materials should be stored or secured.

Tree Maintenance

If you have trees around your home, make an assessment and trim back any branches that could fall on the house, and remove any trees where the root system is weakened.

When planting trees, make sure you are planting for when the tree is mature to ensure the root system won’t encroach into the foundation, but has space to anchor the tree securely. Heavy rain and winds can cause a tree with a compromised root structure to fall over.

Roof and Gutter, Storm Drain Maintenance

Making sure your roof, gutters and downspouts are clear of leaves and other debris will help to keep them functioning properly and reduce the likelihood of water overflowing into the roof cavity under the eaves.

Check your roof and replace or secure any broken, loose or missing shingles. This will help to prevent water saturation and additional roof damage. If you are replacing your roof, consider shingles rated for the highest wind speeds in your area.  

If you have drains on your property make sure those are not obstructed by potted plants, other items or debris  as it will prevent water from properly draining away during heavy rain storms or floods.

Storms are unpredictable, and there is no way to guarantee you will never experience damage to your home resulting from the water or winds of a severe storm. Should you need assistance dealing with storm restoration, SERVPRO of Lakeway / Westlake has trained professionals to respond quickly to any size loss.

Storm Damage Prevention using Horticulture

1/1/2019 (Permalink)

Storm damage prevention and treatment: reducing damage from storms with preventive action using horticulture

Damage to trees from storms can be minimized by designing and implementing a tree management plan. Designing and executing a plan can help prevent problems.  There is no doubt trees can cause damage and be damaged in storms. However, appropriately placed and well-maintained trees can help to reduce storm damage to structures by deflecting wind, as well as reduce damage to the tree itself. Appropriate actions include: proper placement and planting, structural pruning prior to the storm, and proper species selection. Actions in the weeks and years following a strong storm can help bring damaged trees back to health.

If your home or business is affected by a storm, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of West Austin and Lakeway.

Source: https://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/stormy.shtml

Austin area - Are You Storm Aware?

1/1/2019 (Permalink)

Austin Area - Are you Storm Aware?

As we continue to see storms throughout our Austin area cities, we at SERVPRO® of West Austin and Lakeway want you to be aware of what the different threat levels mean so that you can be prepared for whatever happens. 

Flash Flood Watch

A Flash Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flash flooding. It does not mean that flash flooding will occur, but it is possible.

Flash Flood Warning

A Flash Flood Warning is issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring.

Flood Watch

A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.

Flood Warning

A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

If your home or commercial building ever suffers flood damage, call the SERVPRO® West Austin and Lakeway experts.

What Secondary Damage can occur after Storm Damage?

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

What Secondary Damage can occur after Storm Damage?

After roof leaks or flood damage, if not properly dried and treated, a home or business can develop mold from the moisture left on: wood, tile, carpeting, windows, concrete, and/or other materials/items that were affected.  SERVPRO of West Austin strives to prevent secondary damage every time we remediate water damage. Building material and flooring are dried and treated to prevent mold and other allergens/contaminates using specialized equipment and cleaning products.

If water damage is not properly treated, the perfect environment is created for mold spores to grow in your home and to contaminate the air that is breathed.

Should you ever suffer water damage due to: excessive rain, storm damage, leaky roof, flood damage, a water heater leak, sink overflow, fire, refrigerator leak, or any other reason water has invaded your home or business, please know that SERVPRO of West Austin is here to help.  Faster to Any Disaster

Contaminated Water after a Storm

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

Contaminated Water after a Storm

Should you experience a flood in your home after a storm, our team of technicians will inspect your home or business to determine the appropriate plan of action for the type of water encountered.

Category 3: "Black Water"

Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death if ingested and any contact should be avoided. Examples include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.

  • May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
  • Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup

24 Hour Emergency Service

Water contaminated with sewage backup should be considered an emergency situation and dealt with as quickly as possible. Our technicians at SERVPRO® of West Austin and Lakeway are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for any emergency situations that arise. We have been a trusted name in safety and properly restoring homes and businesses for almost 15 years! We are here to help!

Lightning During Storms and House Fires Resulting

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

Lightning During Storms and House Fires Resulting

Unlike other types of house fires, which occur more frequently in the winter months, fires in the home caused by lightning are more likely to happen in June, July and August in the late afternoon or early evening. From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.  Lightning is responsible for a number of wildfires as well.

Lightning during storms poses the greatest risk outdoors and frequently strikes the highest point on a structure.

Safety tips During Lightning Storms: 

  • When possible, stay away from doors and windows during an electrical storm.
  • Do not use corded phones, computers, TVs or other electrical equipment during storms.
  • Unplug major electronics – TVs, stereo equipment, computers and microwaves to minimize damage if there is a lightning strike close by.
  • Avoid plumbing such as sinks, baths and faucets during a thunderstorm as metal plumbing is an excellent conductor of electricity.

Source: http://www.propertycasualty360.com and National Fire Protection Association

One Year After Hurricane Harvey

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

One Year After Hurricane Harvey

August 25th marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, the category 4 hurricane that deeply affected the great state of Texas one year ago.  Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain in parts of the Houston area, flooding thousands of homes and killing more than 80 people. The devastation was swift, and the recovery is far from over.  SERVPRO® was proud to come to the aid of the people whose homes and businesses were damaged by the hurricane.  The water damage was catastrophic. The professionals at SERVPRO® worked especially hard during that hurricane and will always be here for you during any Texas storm...faster to any disaster to help you through any type home flood or storm damage.