Local News

Rebuilding tornado-damaged homes is slow process

Posted July 6, 2011 6:02 p.m. EDT
Updated July 6, 2011 6:33 p.m. EDT

— In many cases, repairing tornado-damaged homes takes longer than building a house from scratch, contractors said Wednesday.

The process involves a lot of patience and sometimes requires making a stand.

Danny Bonds said he experienced one roadblock after another in trying to rebuild his home on King Charles Road in east Raleigh.

"It was really frustrating at the beginning," Bonds said Wednesday, as a contractor finally started on repairs.

His insurance adjuster initially gave him a check for $35,000 for repairs, but he maintained that his losses were triple that.

"They sent other people out, and things just changed. I mean, it was like night and day," he said.

The insurance company eventually gave Bonds more than $100,000 to fix his home.

"It's absolutely wonderful," he said of seeing a crew working on his home. "This is what we've been looking for – to get back in our house."

The process has been slow going for a lot of tornado victims even after they get the insurance check.

"A lot of paperwork is involved," said contractor Bob Smith, who has three homes in the McKinley Mill neighborhood in northeast Raleigh in the pipeline.

For some homeowners, Smith said, it could still be months before work gets started on their houses. One of the McKinley Mill homes will likely take two months to fix, he said.

Bonds' contractor, Marcellin Hodge, said mold has developed in many storm-damaged homes since the April 16 tornado. That requires tearing apart homes before rebuilding them.

"You're taking the bad off, but you're also trying to save the good," Hodge said.

He said repairs to Bonds' home likely won't be complete until late September. Still, Bonds said, watching the crew at work makes him feel better.

"To see them on the job just working hard, working hard, working hard, it's indescribable. It is truly joy for my soul," he said.