Some hailstorm damage still not fixed

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Many homeowners and contractors are still playing catch-up after hailstorms earlier this summer wreaked havoc on Okotoks-area homes.

Hail pounded the town for several minutes June 28, leaving homes with roof and siding damage. While most have filed insurance claims to have shingles or siding replaced, some are waiting for much more significant work to be completed.

Dan Blaaberg, owner of Beaver Dam Nursery northeast of Okotoks, was forced to move out of his home because the extent of damage has warranted demolishing and rebuilding much of the interior of the house near Highway 2.

“We were dead centre on that storm,” said Blaaberg. “We had so much hail stacked up on the roof that water came in through the air vents. The water had no place else to go because of the hail on the roof.”

Water coursed through the home, soaking through the vapour barrier in the attic and running down walls, leaving a mess of wet drywall and insulation. After seeping through the floor, water settled into the basement.

Most of the drywall on the home’s interior walls has been removed, and wet and mouldy insulation was taken out. The basement floor had also moulded from standing water and needs to be replaced.

Blaaberg said he still doesn’t know how much insurance will cover. His family has been living in a hotel the last six weeks.

“They haven’t even finished the demo,” he said. “If you’ve ever been displaced by anything, two days is too long. And I know they can’t fix it that fast, but I hope this isn’t a winter project.”

To complicate matters, the second major storm that passed through the area didn’t cause any further leaks from the roof, which has made adjusters question whether the roof should be replaced after all and delayed the repair process further, he said.

“It’s not leaking after that storm despite the fact the shingles are all dented up and the air vents and eavestroughs and everything else have multiple dents,” said Blaaberg. “So now we don’t know what they’ll do with that.”

It wasn’t only Blaaberg’s home that sustained damage. Many of Beaver Dam Nursery’s trees and shrubs were shredded, stripped of leaves and bark resulting in losses of $250,000.

He said the amount of damage caused by a single hailstorm was unbelievable.

“We’ve had hail many times, but you get two or three minutes of hail and things get banged up, but nothing like this,” said Blaaberg. “It wasn’t big at all, it was just the amount of it and how hard it came down.”

The hailstorm also resulted in a busy summer for Okotoks contractors.

Chris Dorsch, co-owner of Dorsch Roofing and Exteriors Inc., said they’ve been doing a lot of roofing jobs and repairs. Though many insurance companies have preferred contractors to use for claims, he said their small operation has seen business from those who prefer to get paid out and get the work done themselves.

“We’re local, so we do get some clients that come to us,” said Dorsch. “We have been a lot busier.”

He said 90 per cent of the phone calls he’s taken in the past six weeks have been related to the June 28 storm. Many of those homeowners are from the Crystal Shores area, which took the biggest hit within the town boundaries, he said.

Dorsch said he has hired five people to join his crew. Typically, he and his brother, co-owner Tyson Dorsch, would do jobs themselves.

“We’re trying to get one crew or hopefully even two so we can break off with me and my brother leading them,” said Dorsch.

The company averages three jobs per week, but he said with the amount of work out there right now and a larger crew they could increase that to five or six jobs per week.

At the moment, they’re waiting for a lot of insurance claims to come through, he said. Roof repair and replacement ranges in cost from $6,000 to $10,000 or more depending on the size of the home, so people are waiting to be paid out or having repairs covered if possible, he said.

While the brothers usually try to take time off during the winter, he said that may not be possible this year.

“It could be a different story because there could be more jobs coming out of this, so we could be busier for sure,” said Dorsch.

Rob Dezall, owner of Rob’s Roofing and Renovations, said he’s also seen additional business this summer, though he said it may not all be a direct result of the storm.

He said much of the work he’s been doing over the past few weeks has been estimates for shingling replacement and roof repair.

“There’s more work than last year, but that’s not necessarily from the hail yet,” said Dezall. “We probably won’t get really busy from those storms for another month or so once the claims all get put through.”

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