How to plan ahead, find a contractor for home repairs during 'extremely busy' storm season

ByMichael Finney and Renee Koury KGO logo
Saturday, January 14, 2023
How to find a contractor during 'extremely busy' storm season
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Homeowners sitting in flooded rooms, or under leaking roofs, are getting emergency help right now. But what about permanent repairs?

WINDSOR, Calif. (KGO) -- Homeowners sitting in flooded rooms, or under leaking roofs, are getting emergency help right now.

But what about permanent repairs?

Contractors talked to 7 On Your Side about what's in store for weary residents.

The contractors tell 7 On Your Side that supply were already scarce for materials and skilled labor before the storms. And the wild wind and rain exposed problems homeowners never knew they had, like solar panels piercing their roofs, or trees weakened by the drought. It may take awhile to get major repairs done, but they say, start now.

"Once this rain stops, I mean, contractors across the board are going to be extremely busy," said Nicole Humber of Bravo Restoration.

MORE: How to find a contractor to fix storm damage

Nicole Humber of Bravo Restoration in Windsor says the powerful storms were too much to bear for roofs, trees and drainage systems, many long neglected during the drought.

"Heavy rains in the middle of the night, the winds pushing water in two directions, and it's going into every little nook and cranny of everyone's homes that nobody was prepared for," said Humber.

Thousands suddenly need repairs, straining the system.

"There's not as many contractors and tradespeople, men and women out there like there used to be, and so everybody already had a waitlist to get repairs done or to get things done. And now that's just, I mean, it's crazy right now," said Humber.

Roofer Adrian Contreras, owner of Diablo Roofing, says folks didn't think about maintaining their roofs during the drought, and are now paying the price.

VIDEO: Here's a breakdown of what damage is covered (and not) by insurance in a major storm

"I've been doing this for almost 30 years. And I never seen anything like this," he said. "We can come out, put a tarp, but it's tough."

Image Tree service's Jeff Kowell says folks didn't realize the drought had weakened their trees. "So these trees that sit out there, and they haven't been pruned for years. It acts as a sail and the wind just pushes against it," he said.

Experts say it may take months or more to get your repairs done, but line up a contractor now.

The Contractors State License Board website can help. Just type in your city and the type of work you need. It will show all licensed contractors in your area.

For example, Geyserville has zero licensed roofers, but nearby Santa Rosa has 42.

MORE: Is there any way to get repaid for food lost during a power outage?

Most repairs can't be done till the rain stops, but you can take steps now.

"We want to get standing water out as quickly as possible. And then we want to open up the drywall because mold spores are everywhere," said Nicole Humber.

First, prevent more damage: tarp your damaged roof, inspect trees on your property, and get a contractor's assessment of damage, before showing it to your insurance agent.

The CSLB has a list of all licensed contractors on their website.

  • Santa Clara County Builders Exchange
  • Marin Builders Exchange
  • North Coast Builders Exchange
  • Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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