How to find a contractor for building damage?

A windstorm blew a large tree onto my garage on 11/4/2022, crushing it. I hired a tree service to remove the top of the tree, which was hanging over the house, on 11/7/22. They left the lower part of the tree for the insurance adjuster to see.

The insurance adjuster finally came yesterday (11/14/22). He took photos and also used a drone to film the property.

I would like to have the damage fixed before winter, if possible. How do I go about finding a contractor? Should I look under “builder” or “carpenter” or what? I want to get some estimates.


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If you have a neighborhood Facebook group, ask for recommendations from neighbors.

You can also get suggestions by asking on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. If this is a source, get 3 recommendations and talk to them.

Your realtor should know several good contractors in your area. If it’s been a long time and/or you’ve lost touch, it can’t hurt to just cold call a couple and ask. They are always glad to get someone’s name in their Rolodex (pardon me while I show my age) because the smart ones develop relationships with people long before the “For Sale” sign goes up.

Unfortunately you’re looking at a bad time, the housing boom, now deflating, has most contractors rushing to finish up before the market dries up completely. If/when a recession sets in they’ll be begging for work.

Around here a couple of the home builders also have divisions for renovations. You might find one of those for your “renovation.”

Hang around the Home Depot parking lot and chat up some of the contractors who come in? Look for the nicer trucks :wink:


I would ask insurance company for a recommendation. They are up to date on contractors in your area and know which ones do good work at fair prices.

Various recovery services such as Service Pro may handle the whole job for you.

Also for some kinds of damage a registered professional (civil) engineer might be helpful (to assess structural damage and recommend extent of repairs).


No, no, no, Contractors using HD or Lowes are the low level folks to pick up work without the filter needed by licensing, permitting, insurance, etc…

Better to stick with word of mouth from local family, friends, insurance agents to be the best judge of the work done. If others in the area have damages, talk to them, see who they are working with, how it worked out…

Over the years I’ve maintained a contact listing of various contractors, made note on them and share with family and friends as they have as well…

Last one, a major event for us, remodeling 2 bathrooms, was good, but had areas where I either cleaned up or did some of the work myself after seeing who they brought in as subs… Will never recommend that contractor to anyone, in fact, point folks elsewhere. We picked them after 3 or 4 bids, some were clueless on adding a linear drain in the new shower, this guy’s tile sub, knew and did a great job… Wanted to hang onto him for any future tile work, but he was leaving the state, so…

Anyway, friends and family, or even a commercial lumberyard, not the big box stores, will also know who the good guys are…


Every contractor, big or small, uses HD or Lowe’s from time to time because the just need a PVC shower drain and they’re not gonna drive farther to wait at the counter at the plumbing supply place to get it.

They may not source their major materials there, but it’s guaranteed you will find their trucks in the parking lot at all hours of the day and night. But, as I say, look for the professional trucks, not the beaters.


Likewise if they need something at an odd hour, after the stores for the real professionals are closed. I ran into this recently on the automotive side. My brother saw our sister’s van needed new wiper blades, and, being a real car guy and retired engineer, he bought them at NAPA. That evening we discovered they were the wrong ones. He was ready to give up because they were closed. I told him the places the pros used were closed, but the chains regular folk use have to be open in the evening because that’s when people with jobs can go shopping. There were a couple of chain stores handy, no problem getting the correct wipers.

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Decent contractors have materials on hand, on their truck.van. It’s us DIY’rs that take 3 or 4 trips to do a project. Even as the packrat I am, I do head to the local hardware shop if I can’t find what I need, on the other hand I’ve also provided stuff for some contractors onsite. At my age it’s now a headache to be rid of all that ‘might need it someday’ stuff…

But for serious rebuilding, remodels, there are plans, all materials should be called out, item by item… No surprises, inventoried before the Start Date! One mistake I made with our bathroom remodel was to not store and inventory ALL the material here onsite.

The doofus contractor, ours, when it came tome to do the linear drain, couldn’t find it in his warehouse, had to reorder, cost a lot of time. Also one medicine cabinet mirror was cracked, unnoticed, yet another delay… the other medicine cabinet had a scratch we found after we’d cleared the contractor out, but a call to the manufacturer had a new one in my hands that same week. Too many irritations with that contractor. Also the one where I had to replace the pocket door hardware because he use cheap tracks and rollers, I opened the wall, put in the good stuff, soft open/close, quiet. /rant


Well, I’ll disagree to disagree. I’ve done multiple home remodels, everything from busting out entire rooflines to add rooms to pouring foundations for additions; at the moment I have a contractor finishing a bathroom in a space that used to be a crawl space and which was excavated using heavy equipment including dozers and hydraulic excavators and such while holding up the house on 2x4s 6x6s and 8x8s. I’ve used the most professional home builders and small contractors, I’ve hired structural engineers and architects, and I have yet to have a project where they haven’t run to the store for something.

Heck, I just bought $24k worth of awnings from a company which does nothing but, but because I have a cedar shake roof it required many special adaptations, and the guy had to run to Ace Hardware twice to find the right type of bolt to attach the structure to the solar mounts (solar mounts being the only way to safely drill through the shake roof.)

Seriously, I can’t believe you believe this. Spend an afternoon (actually 6-8am is best, but all day works too) and you’ll see contractors from the biggest, baddest firms running into get that one thing “that came up.” I have yet to have “a plan” which didn’t need some adjusting somewhere along the line.


I referred to the crawl space excavation upthread, I found a few of the photos from the project. They are so far back in the camera roll and it’s hard to import so there’s not much sense to be made of it all, but a couple exteriors, deck held up with 2x4s, wall held up with 4x4s and 6x6s while excavators got under the the structure; temporary support pillars installed and moved around as necessary to let the excavator move, I think there’s one picture of the interior mid-project, etc.

If you think you think you can “pre-plan” every jot and tittle (as grandma used to say) for this kind of thing, well, good luck. This company is a branch of one of the largest home builders in our area. It’s their “concierge” service for major remodels; been around for decades doing this sort of thing.


My main opposition to cruising for contractors has more to do with HD and it’s owners political contributions this last few years. At one time they were the only game in town, well 9 miles up the hiway, since then Lowes came in, and now our local owned, small chain or maybe 5 stores has opened back up here in town, so I direct my needs to them or the commercial distributors on the area. Furnace guy has his own shop, makes his own sheet metal parts, roofers, plumbers as well. Anyway, I am really down on supporting in any way, HD in particular…

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As an aside. Pella makes great products. My dad did some IT contract work for them a few decades ago, and they mentioned to him they they had a particular issue with calculating certain sizes for custom windows (nothing to do with the IT business stuff he was doing for them). My dad mentioned it to me (I was just out of college at the time!) and I visited him in the office and wrote a quick BASIC program on their early IBM PC to calculate the window sizes. They were so happy with it and apparently used that ancient “junk” program for many years thereafter. They even gave us a good discount on new windows for our house at the time. I loved those windows, they were the first models with the blinds sandwiched between glass to avoid getting much dust on them!


Sometimes you have to look around a long time to find the right guy to do the job… Today in the Cout, 3 of my neighbors had contractors in, one finishing up a pavers and fake lawns in her back yard, another starting out by tearing up old concrete deck space and getting ready for landscaping, another across looking for a plumber to fix an underground water connection he’d messed up earlier in the year… Me, I was wondering how my AAA tow truck was going to maneuver with the half dozen trucks and trailer in the way, but it alll worked out… Hectic day… Then I spotted this, felt the need to share…