Like many unsuspecting Berowra Heights residents, a massive storm hit the home of Todd and Jo Chapman, their two kids and dog Cody – just before Christmas on 20 December 2018 – the worst gift you could possibly receive at this festive time.
To make things worse, the Chapman family were a week into a five week European holiday, so were not there to make safe their home. But according to Todd this is where his local community of Berowra stepped in, and a true Christmas spirit prevailed.
“We saw the best of the Berowra community at this time who helped secure our home in our absence,” said Todd.
“Our 72 year old neighbour, Pete, was just amazing and was up on our roof until 3am in the morning putting on tarpaulins and helping the SES cover our house as soon as possible. Our community is just like a country town, they really shone through and we are so grateful.
“Pete also continued to help us by liaising with the SES and our insurers, which all did a great job and responded as best they could.”
However it was not all plain sailing as the tarpaulins kept blowing off – about seven times in the ensuing three months.
“It was frustrating because the insurers kept having to get contractors back to make safe the house again, but because we live in a windy area they just kept blowing away, letting the rain in and ultimately causing more damage,” said Todd.
Todd heard about Stormseal via the Berowra community Facebook page where information about this unique Australian designed and born product was being discussed.
“I became aware of Stormseal when we returned from Europe, thanks to the social media chatter on the Berowra Facebook page, and I immediately wanted our house covered because I was sick of the traps being reapplied and the further damage caused. In my view, it was also in the best interest of the insurers for this to happen,” he said.
“I would conservatively estimate that the original damage has now increased by 50% because of the inadequacy of the tarps to stay in place whenever a storm occurs. So Todd arranged with his insurer for the installation of Stormseal. “It’s a no brainer for the Insurance companies to go with Stormseal. The endless re-application of the tarpaulins are a fools pursuit and only lead to more damage and stress. This equates to cost exposure for the Insurance company and frustration for the home owner”
Todd makes some interesting observations between the effectiveness of his experience with tarpaulins against what he is currently enjoying “Stormseal has been described like a shower cap for your house, it tucks under the eaves and gutters, so seals underneath, just like your hair under the elastic of the cap. I like that metaphor, it really works like this!” he said.
“The other night we had some really heavy rain and I did a lap around the house to check, but it was perfectly dry and the very problematic areas around our bay windows in the kitchen had not a drip was coming in. If it had been when we had tarps I would have gathered 20-30 litres of water in buckets.”
Todd is no longer worried about how long he has to wait for his new roof.
“Our roof was written off and we are awaiting a full replacement. But now thanks to Stormseal I can relax and be patient as we are fully watertight and storm proof. Stormseal has taken away our anxiety as it gives us a genuine temporary roof until the fix time.
Although the Chapman’s now have Stormseal and feel comfortable, the installation was delayed nearly four weeks after booking, which highlights a frustration in the contractor process, but not in the availability of Stormseal contractors.
“The frustration was that although we had four weeks for it to be installed and in those four weeks there were storms and things got worse. The insurer was fantastic but I think some of the subcontracting methods of the make safe process need a review.”
The good news is that now the Chapman’s have a secure roof over their heads and the tarps are gone.
“Tarps only work until you need them – they just look like they’re doing something when their over your house, but when the storm comes they fail. I like my new orange, temporary roof, which I know won’t blow away and doesn’t leak!” Todd concluded.