For those of us living in the South, hurricanes are no uncommon occurrence. With their strong winds, heavy rains and surplus of debris, hurricanes are one of the most damaging forces that can hit your home. The peak of hurricane season is quickly approaching with June marking the start of this year’s season, so to help you prepare, here are some home improvement tips from Doug Ashy to help strengthen and protect the most vulnerable areas of your home from these violent storms.
1. Double Doors—If you have a set of double doors in your home in which one door is active and the other is fixed, it’s a good idea to reinforce the stationary door at the top and bottom to make it less susceptible to wind damage. This can be done with the addition of heavy-duty deadbolts, sliding bolts at the top and bottom of the inactive door or even replacing the original hinge attachment screws with longer screws that extend further into the door and frame; some door manufacturers even offer door reinforcing kits.
2. Garage Doors—Garage doors are one of the most vulnerable areas of your home when it comes to potential storm damage. High winds can cause your garage door to be pulled from its tracks or collapse from pressure, so it is important to ensure your garage door is reinforced at its weakest points by installing horizontal bracing on each panel. If you are installing a new door, use heavier than standard hinges and stronger center supports for doors located in hurricane-prone regions
3. Storm Shutters—Installing storm shutters are a quick and effective way to protect the glass surfaces of your home from debris and wind damage. If you do not want shutters to be a permanent year-round fixture on the outside of your home, consider installing a track or other fastening hardware for easy shutter installation in case of an approaching storm.
4. Storm Windows—Another effective solution for protecting your windows from wind and debris damage is investing in impact-resistant storm windows. There are a variety of styles on the market to fit almost any budget, but bear in mind that whatever storm-resistant window you choose needs to fit securely within the window frame to ensure complete coverage.
5. Debris-Free Yard—Hurricane-force winds can be extremely destructive to your home and property. One way to minimize the damage caused by storm debris is to ensure your yard and landscaping is free of items that could become projectiles during a severe storm. This includes pruning trees, removing fallen and dead branches, storing or securing patio furniture and other loose items that could be blown around during a storm.
6. Drainage Check—Be sure to check that gutters and downspouts are clean and clear of debris that could block flowing water from draining during heavy downpours. If draining is blocked, water could backup into your attic or on your roof causing even more damage to your home.
7. Reinforced Roof—Investigate and inspect your roof for any loose shingles or areas that look worn or insecure. Hire a professional roofing company to repair any damages or use a sturdy adhesive to ensure security and reinforce your roofing.
8. Powered Up—Power grids are often affected by severe weather causing wide-spanning power outages over the region. Investing in a standby generator—even if it’s not a whole-house system—to produce electrical power will keep your essentials running until your electricity is restored.
9. Keep in Touch—Having a battery-operated television or radio can come in handy in case of power outages for staying up-to-date on news and goings on in the outside world. Don’t forget to stock up on the proper-sized batteries to keep your technology running!
10. Plan Ahead—In case of severe weather, the Federal Emergency Agency recommends having at least three days’ worth of backup supplies including: candles, batteries, nonperishable foods and an emergency medical kit. It’s also recommended that you create a plan for yourself, your family and your pets for before, during and after a storm as early as possible before a hurricane.
While these adjustments are meant to improve the chances of protecting your property from damages during a hurricane, they are in no way a fail-safe means of ensuring your personal safety. If you are able to evacuate before a hurricane, you should.
For more tips or questions on hurricane proofing your home, please visit one of our locations.