Protecting your home, your valuables, and your loved ones from flooding, fire, and airborne toxins is incredibly important to the entire team at Floor Coverings International Southlake. For this reason, we got in touch with John Yerby, local Restoration 1 owner, to talk about the steps to take to prevent lasting harm and how to recover after damage. Take a look at the full interview here and learn about the most important factors to keep an eye on in your home, as well as John’s own experience restoring homes in Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

John Yerby Restoration 1 SouthlakePlease tell us a little about yourself and your business.

I found myself having that funny mid-career crisis. Unsatisfied with how I felt I was contributing to my community and really wanting to make a greater impact on my last half of my working life. I have been in the retail automotive business for 22 years, having worked with some great teams and owners during that time. I have a background in finance and ran F&I for local dealers for 10 years. Worked through buy/sells and crazy economies, then moved over to the Fixed Operations side of the business and ran the Service/Parts/Body Shop side for the last 11 years. Found that I really enjoyed working with the heartbeat of the dealership: the technicians and my service crew. Absolutely loved my experience working with the public and leading a team of hard workers.

My final year was in the role of General Manager of my own store. Loved putting it all together and had a great time with it. The only problem was it took me commuting to San Antonio for 2 years, flying home on weekends to be a husband and father to finally get my promotion to GM. I got it and then realized its hard to serve 2 masters, and after getting my Executive Platinum with AA and getting to know every UBER and LYFT driver in the Metroplex, it was time to come home. So I did what every mid-career crisis guy does. I quit!

I found myself looking for a new career that would let me bring all the parts of my life into alignment. You see, I help my wife with her 501c3 ministry and I serve as the President of a local Public Charter School. I love giving back; ministry and education are two of my passions. It was difficult to serve in these roles when I’m hanging out at the airport every week. And I didn’t want to miss any more of my daughter’s performances . She is a freshman at Colleyville Covenant Christian Academy, and I wanted to have flexibility to be there for her as she finishes up high school years.

After much soul searching and research, I found a franchise opportunity with Restoration 1. Based out of Waco, they had a great presentation and the territory I wanted was available! I completed my due diligence and made the leap. My territory goes from Roanoke, Trophy Club, Southlake, Colleyville, Grapevine, NRH, Valley Ranch, Farmers Branch, and parts of HEB and Irving. I’ve quickly realized that I was born for this work. Just the name alone Restoration tells you something good is going to come out of it. Helping people make sense of a difficult situation and get them back into  their homes safely and quickly fulfills some of the things I was missing in my previous career.

You have recently been working to rebuild homes in Houston after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Could you tell us about this experience?

Talk about timing! I was in the process of researching this when Harvey hit our state. I had already signed a letter of intent with R1 in Waco. I had begun taking my courses to become certified for Water Restoration; Fire & Smoke Restoration; and Mold Remediation when the crazy Hurricane decided to park itself over Houston for 5 days. I reached out to a fellow Franchisee owner named Shannon Plum in the Spring/North Houston area. He graciously invited me to come down and experience it first hand. I am helping Shannon dig out of a bunch of work that is storm related. We are working 7 crews around the clock on both residential and commercial jobs. My contribution is inspecting and writing estimates on 81 rental homes that were affected by Harvey in one way or another. Most were in the flood zones that took on water as the dams were opened to avoid even more catastrophic flooding and dangerous uncontrolled breaks if unmanaged.

Restored wall sealed with a primer that inhibits future mold growth, and an expanding foam that does not absorb water and is super energy efficient and bug/rodent resistant.

It has been a huge blessing to meet this family and work with them. His sweet mother answers the phone at all hours of the day and night. When emergency calls, her pleasant voice walks the homeowner through the process of calmly getting the response team on site as quickly as possible. Shannon’s wife Veda runs the office like a true Italian American Mama only can! Mathew is their adult son, and he is taking up the reins and makes mom and dad proud. I have now been adopted in the family.

Although it has taken me out of my own market for a short time, they have provided me with years of experience in a short amount of time. Imagine estimating the mitigation and build back of a home that sat in Category 3 water up to the ceiling for days (raw sewage and all the other stuff mixed with flood water). Not all of them were this bad, but some were. Even if it was 2 inches of water, the absorbent nature of drywall acts as a wick and pulls that water higher up the back side of the wall. Within 3-4 days if left untreated, that water can travel the entire 8 feet and begin to grow all kinds of nasty stuff.

Do you have any advice for homeowners dealing with damaged floors?

Don’t panic, but act fast. The sooner you get a professional in there to help pull the water from the floors the better. Many times we can save the floors and restore to pre-loss condition. Once the water loss is found, the clock starts ticking on things that like to grow in moist environments. The clock is your friend and enemy (much like in life and in your day jobs). The longer you wait, the more expensive the results and the less options you have to save the flooring.

Restoration 1 SouthlakeWhat are some things that homeowners in the Southlake area can do to prevent damage to their homes and floors?

Don’t ignore small leaks. I have seen first hand what happens when you let small stuff slide. It may seem insignificant but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Fix your plumbing!

This one is common but rarely spoken of. Have you noticed when your AC freezes up in the summer, and you get your HVAC company to come look at it? Well, sometimes the lines ice up and have to thaw out. The thawed ice then travels down the wall between your drywall and brick and right onto your flooring. Usually it goes under as it travels. Now it’s trapped under your floor, but it’s trapped and its doing stuff. Slowly it is affecting the moisture content of the wood, and it will change as it’s moisture content goes up. Moral of the story: Fix your HVAC issues!

Lastly, we are about to hit winter, and freezing temperatures will cause burst pipes. Don’t let Jack Frost sneak up on you. Purchase the insulated covers for your outside faucets today. Have them ready for that first freeze. Prepare for known weather events!

Make sure you leave enough foundation exposed. If your brick is too close to the ground, you will get water in the house. Sometimes the rain just can’t soak in fast enough. I have seen this a ton in Houston. Some houses no where near flooding still took on water because 50” of water found it’s way in around the foundation. Fix your landscaping issues!

Have you noticed a popular flooring style among Southlake homeowners?

Not sure about Southlake, but Houston is doing a ton of Porcelain and Ceramic Wood-Look Tile. It holds up better with the inevitable flooding and it looks just like wood. And coming from a guy that loves the feel of real wood, I didn’t think I would like that ceramic version, but I really do like it. You can get super creative with it. It has the textures of a real wood product and you don’t have to worry about that potted plant that made a crop circle on your real wood floor (yeah, I did that once).

More photos from Houston home restorations:

BMW that sat in the garage in 2 feet of water. The interior has multiple colonies of mold growth.

Mold likes still air, moist environment, and low light. They also need an organic food source, leather makes a nice meal apparently.

This is what happens when an air-conditioning system continues to operate during a flood and the spores of microbial activity are spread through the system.

“Time is not your friend in a flood house. The quicker you start to deal with it, the less damage occurs.” – John Yerby

Thank you so much to John and the restoration teams in Houston helping homeowners recover after the devastation from Hurricane Harvey. You can follow John and his Southlake team on Facebook.