Tornado Update: Assessing the Damage


storm damage progress header

July and August have been a little crazy, to say the least. Here’s a little update to where we are in assessing the storm damage and moving forward with repairs.

Things might look bad, but really it’s nothing compared to the hurricane damage people in Texas are experiencing, so we’re counting our blessings. If you have the means to support them financially or give blood, just do a quick google search for the best organizations to provide relief.

Roof Damage

I’m sure I’m oversimplifying and breezing through all this, but here’s a quick rundown.

Initially, when our insurance company came out, we had already cleared off the tree debris and tarped the roof. They cut us a check with their estimate and said to let a contractor determine the scope of work and damage. After meeting with several potential contractors, we heard quite a few different theories. But we wanted to know exactly what needed fixing. We were told everything between, “just slap a couple 2×4’s up there.” to “the entire roof will need to come off.” Rather than blindly signing a contract, we wanted to do our homework first.

tornado damage roof

So we started getting under the hood to determine what we’re working with.

tornado damage roof

Goodbye part of roof.

tornado damage roof

Here’s where our answer was found. These trusses are cracked. But exactly how bad and where? And most importantly, what can be done to fix it?

tornado damage roof

Some soft spots in the shingles that need replacing.

Calling in the Experts

Because of the variation in opinions received, we asked our insurance company to send out a structural engineer to give us the facts. It would be helpful to hear from an objective expert to tell us the right way to fix our house and be sure it’s safe going forward.

tornado damage roof

Our chosen contractor also said before starting anything, we’d need a structural engineer’s report. Ding ding ding. So we petitioned with our insurance company for one and finally got the approval for someone to check it out. Looking up into the attic and climbing on the roof, he could tell this would not be a quick fix like some had promised us.

tornado damage roof

The news was not what we were expecting, to be honest. We truly thought it would be a minimally invasive repair based on a bunch of contractors’ feedback. Only one person previously gave us the doomsday report, and we figured he was trying to pad the claim and his pockets…

But it sounds like the whole vault on this half of the house will have to come off. These newer trusses are engineered and not handmade, which means the whole triangle-shaped sections come as one piece and as such, need to be replaced as a unit. I’m not an engineer, and I’m not great at math either, so sorry for totally butchering that description.


Yes, this is our newly remodeled bathroom. The water that leaked in through the roof and attic dripped down through the walls and landed down in the basement bathroom.

tornado damage roof

We had a mold expert out almost right away and walked us through the remediation process. We dried everything out the best we could, but a lot of drywall and insulation will need to be replaced.

tornado damage roof

Hello crack.tornado damage roof

Water made its way gracefully out the ceiling lights. The electrical all seems fine thank goodness.

tornado damage roof

This back wall needs to be ripped out, at least a few feet up to be sure there’s no mold. Even my bamboo plant is feeling the hurt.

tornado damage roof

Replacing this whole panel will be easier than a patch job. But we need to wait to fix the roof before putting the bathroom back together to be sure additional water doesn’t creep in.

tornado damage roof

Sooooo. This bathroom will be out of commission for awhile. And if our upstairs ceiling needs to come off, we may not be using that bathroom either. Or bedroom. Not yet ready to think about worst case scenarios. I’m picturing us living in a hotel room in December right before Christmas :'( Joe, we’re not sleeping in the garage.

Yard Walkabout

Here’s the state of the roof.

tornado damage roof

Tarp in the wind

tornado damage roof

There’s also a rumored wasp next down there somewhere. Please don’t nest in the attic.

piles of fire wood

More firewood

Joe using our tree stump as a photo spot.


Hopefully we’ll get rolling on repairs soon. The engineer may need to whip up some drawings for our insurance company (1-2 weeks) and then we need to revisit the estimate. It’s really just a race against the clock and weather right now. We obviously want the job done right, and also fast. There are still claims from the June storm that was before ours, so everyone’s pretty busy in the storm damage industry.


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