How to repair storm-damaged homes in Dallas
Scaling homes to repair leaks, damaged soffits and shingles comes with the territory for restoration teams who defy heights after storms roll through Dallas. Every year, crews from highly rated DCT Roofing Solutions repair storm damage on Dallas-Fort Worth area homes.
Kris Howard, owner of the Krum-based operation that predominately fixes or replaces roofs, says hail causes the most frequent damage, along with strong winds that wreak havoc on roofs, siding, paint, fencing, windows, screens, soffits, A/C units and gutters. “If you get hit by a tornado, you can sustain 100 percent total loss,” he says. “Hail won’t total your house.” After storms pass, homeowners should check their property and contact highly rated providers if they suspect problems, experts say.
In addition to the destruction tornadoes threaten, Dallas-Fort Worth area residents frequently experience large hail and damaging winds, says Walt Zaleski, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “Every thunderstorm has a straight-line burst of wind,” Zaleski says. “At 50 to 60 mph, you start seeing damage to homes — trees toppling, power lines coming down, debris blown from your neighbor’s house, all of these are from straight-line winds.” While storms most frequently hit the Metroplex in April, May and June, the 2012 Christmas Day tornado proved a reminder that they can strike any time, and homeowners hire experts to inspect and repair damage all year long, sometimes discovering problems long after storms pass.
Experts say hail frequently totals roofs, while wind leaves more minor damage behind. After a home inspection unveiled hail damage to member Moneeca Langley’s home in Krum, she hired DCT Roofing Solutions to make repairs the following January. “They put my mind at ease,” she says. “They were easygoing, knowledgeable, and had a proven track record.” In addition to a roof replacement, her home needed new rain gutters, several new sections of fence and seven window screens, which cost about $22,500. The roof repairs totaled $15,000 to $17,000 of the overall project, she says. “I have no experience in this process and had no idea what to do,” she says. “[They] made sure that all of the damages were accounted for and that my insurance company fairly compensated me to have them repaired.”
Homeowners with storm damage should seek a company with a strong claims department in addition to experienced repairmen, says Jeff Ogle, owner of highly rated Radiant Roofing & Contracting in Fort Worth. The average roof costs about $13,000 to replace, he says, but homeowners should pay their deductible. Ogle warns that Texas prohibits contractors from paying your deductible, so beware of any company that offers to do so.
Most homeowners don’t upgrade and replace what they have with traditional asphalt shingles, Ogle says. Tougher products such as metal or composition shingles resist hail damage more than traditional shingles. They cost more than asphalt but insurance companies might offer discounts, Ogle says. Experts recommend homeowners keep an eye on their houses year-round and be proactive. Radiant offers free home inspections all year long, Ogle says. After these inspections, nearly 100 percent of the time when damage occurs, his crews end up replacing the entire roof, not just one or two places on the roof, he says. “It’s the most expensive part of your home that needs to be replaced,” he says. “It’s protecting every single thing that you own.”
The most expensive damage Dallas-area residents experience comes from hail and wind, including tornadoes, says Jerry Hagans, Texas Department of Insurance spokesman. “Hail is a very costly type of weather event because all of our buildings have roofs, and cars get damaged,” he says. “You’d want to be covered for the kind of events we’re prone to have here.” Typical Texas homeowners insurance policies also cover loss from wind and hail, along with other year-round hazards such as fire, lightning, smoke, explosion, theft and vandalism, according to the insurance department.
For homeowners who want additional protection from storms, some companies offer installation of underground and interior safe rooms, such as highly rated Texas Tornado of Arlington. Most customers who live in the city opt for steel interior safe rooms costing $5,000 to $7,000 in their home or garage, says owner Sandra Kuykendall. “[After] the  storms, we had more than 1,000 calls,” Kuykendall says, adding most hold six to 24 people. “We make them easily accessible, so they can walk out the kitchen door, take two steps and they’re inside the safe room in the garage.”
Mike Maxwell of Henderson has an underground shelter at his home and recently hired Texas Tornado to install an above-ground shelter at his office. “The one at our home we’ve probably used three times in 15 years, but you only need it once,” he says. “After seeing everything that’s happened in Oklahoma and the Fort Worth tornado [in May], I felt like I needed that.”