Storm Damage Cleanup Checklist: 10 Sure Steps to Recovery

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: July 25, 2019

As you follow the massive hurricane cleanup efforts in Texas and Florida, you look around your Chicago home. We all remember the severe storms this past summer that caused so much damage. Residential and commercial properties were affected all across our city especially in the northern suburbs.

Facing the aftermath of destructive weather can seem overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to start. Do you have a storm damage cleanup checklist ready for the next time it happens here?

We know from years of field experience that you have to organize quickly and stay on track to get the job done. As the leading storm damage restoration company in Chicago and the suburbs, we can help.

A 10-Step Storm Damage Checklist: Your Home Recovery Guide

When the rain stops, the winds die down and the skies finally clear, it’s time to go to work. You want to make sure the house is safe as you start the cleanup process. Call your insurance agent right away, and follow these 10 steps.

storm damage cleanup checklist

1. Assess Your Home’s Exterior Damage

Inspect your home’s exterior, and determine what needs to be taken care of first. The roof is a priority, but check windows, gutters and downspouts too. Take a look at siding for any damage that might allow moisture into walls.

roof storm damage

Power Tip: When you climb the ladder, always have someone on the ground watching out for your safety.

2. Check the Yards and Porches

Look for broken tree branches that pose a danger around power lines or threaten your home’s roof and windows. Secure unstable fences, and inspect decks, railings and stairs around porches and patios.

Power Tip: As you work through your storm damage checklist outside, be careful, and watch your step around debris like broken glass and splintered wood.

3. Inspect Outside Connections

Check your home’s water, gas and electric lines. If you think there might be an issue with any utilities, contact the city immediately. Make sure heavy outdoor equipment like the AC unit or the swimming pool’s electrical system are still running safely.

4. Look for Attic Leaks

Problems with flashing and shingles might not be obvious, so look for signs of roof leaks inside the attic. Wet insulation and damp spots on beams are sure indicators of a storm damaged roof.

5. Follow the Moisture Inside

After a heavy rain, moisture in the attic can move down into your home’s framing and crawl spaces and set the stage for mold and mildew growth. Inspect walls and ceilings for staining especially around electrical outlets and light fixtures. Start drying out damp sheetrock as soon as possible.

6. Take Pictures and Make Notes

Document everything on your storm damage cleanup checklist with pictures, and take notes too. Include repair quotes, replacement cost estimates and receipts for cleanup supplies.

Power Tip: Turn your photos and notes into digital files that you can share with the insurance company.

7. Don’t Throw Away Anything

Don’t throw away things that can’t be salvaged. Stack ruined furniture, appliances, belongings and samples of soaked sheetrock, carpet and flooring in the yard. It all serves to show your adjuster the scope of your loss.

8. Secure Your Property

Protect your property by securing broken doors and boarding up shattered windows. Very few insurance policies cover vandalism or additional storm damage that could have been prevented by securing the house.

Power Tip: Most cleanup and restoration contractors offer emergency board-up services.

9. Be Ready for the Adjuster

Organize your digital photos, documentation and storm damage checklist on your smartphone or tablet. When the adjuster begins his inspection, your information helps ensure a fair and accurate assessment. The inspection process can take several hours, so be patient.

10. Contact an Experienced Restoration Contractor

If you don’t already have a cleanup and restoration company to call after a storm, take a few tips from commercial property owners. Ask your insurance agent for a recommendation, and confirm the prospective company’s capabilities by contacting references. Check with the Better Business Bureau too.

Power Tip: Tell your agent you want to hire a restoration contractor with established Preferred Vendor status.

Standing as Your Partner

storm damage expert

As the city’s most trusted storm damage restoration company, we want you to be prepared when dangerous conditions threaten your home. Print out our checklist, and share copies and ideas with your neighbors. We value your input too, so let us know how we’ve helped through our Comments Section.

ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba stands as your partner through good weather and bad. We’re proud of our reputation as the leader among storm restoration contractors across Chicago and the suburbs. When you need the best, call us first. We’re here for you 24/7.