A Tree Fell on my House: What Happens Now?
Get advice on immediate steps you need to take and what to expect throughout the tree removal and cleanup process.
Whether it was caused by root rot or strong winds, if a tree has fallen on your house, there’s a series of steps you’ll need to follow to get your house and property back to normal. Hurricanes, floods and snowstorms are a few types of weather conditions that can cause trees to fall, which could result in roof and interior damage. While older and diseased trees are more vulnerable to extreme weather and high winds, remember that even strong, healthy trees can topple under these conditions. Fallen trees are one of the main causes of roof damage, according to the National Storm Damage Center, costing more than $1 billion in property damage each year. From tree removal to roof repair and everything in between, learn what you need to do and who you need to contact to recover from storm damage.
Steps to Take if a Tree Falls on Your Home
When something of this magnitude happens to your home, there are a number of factors that will play a role in determining “how bad” the situation is, and how much storm damage your home has experienced. While you’ll need to contact a professional roofing contractor to assess the damage, there are other immediate issues that you should address first.
Certain tasks will seem obvious and more urgent than others, but because a tree falling can be so sudden, review this list to make sure you and your family have a plan and know what to do if this happens to you.
- Evacuate immediately. If you are on a second or third story, get to the main floor as quickly – and safely – as possible. If there is debris blocking a door, you may have to find a different exit through a window. Safety is first and foremost – make sure everyone is accounted for and unharmed.
- Call for help. If you are in a situation where you cannot safely exit your home, call emergency services for assistance. Also, if power lines or wires are down from the storm damage, you’ll need to call the police and contact the power company. Eventually, you’ll need to call your insurance company to make them aware of the circumstances, as well as a tree removal service and a roofing contractor, who will thoroughly assess the damage and any roof repairs your home will need.
- Protect the inside of the home. Sometimes roof damage will expose the interior of your home, making it susceptible to weather elements such as rain, wind and extreme temperatures. You can take steps to protect your home such as locking your doors and windows, securing any valuables and covering anything that could be damaged with plastic tarps or a weather-resistant material. Only enter the home and take these precautions if you are not in danger of being exposed to anything harmful – such as falling debris, exposed electrical wires or loose/shaky flooring.
Don’t attempt to deal with the tree removal or roof repair yourself. Even if the fallen branches or tree seems small, you never know the extent of the storm damage or if the framework or structural integrity if your home has been compromised.
After the storm has passed and it’s safe to return to your home, you’ll need to call a tree removal company. They offer services for storm damage including stump removal, branch pruning and debris disposal. Depending on the size of the tree and the extent of the damage, you may not be able to live in your home if it is estimated that repairs will take a while.
There are some preventative measures you can take to help avoid roof damage from fallen trees. Have an arborist or a professional tree service evaluate the health of your trees to determine if any are old and need to be removed. If large branches are too close to your house, they may also recommend trimming back the growth. It’s important to take care of these issues now to avoid further costs in the event of a tree falling because of storm damage or even old age/poor health.
A roofing contractor is the professional who repairs your roof after the tree is removed. These companies will usually address roof damage by starting with temporary repairs first – putting tarps over any holes or exposed areas, reinforcing any parts of the house that have structural damage and cleaning up water inside the home.
Remember –safety should be the number one priority for you and your family. A fallen tree and a damaged roof are not something you should take lightly, but also not something you should try and fix yourself. Let the professionals handle the situation for you – contact emergency assistance first if you need it and the power company if there are downed power lines. Then, call a roofing contractor and your insurance company to assess the destruction and help you start cleaning up the storm damage.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.