Hurricanes and Your Home
Five Areas of Your Property to Address Before the Next Tropical Storm
Hurricane season – the National Weather Service (NWS) defines it as June 1 to November 30. Meaning that for half the year, homes along and near the coast could be subject to torrential rains, surging waves and roaring winds.
Even if a tropical storm never reaches hurricane status, it can still take a toll on your property. So, why not address some of the weakest and most dangerous areas of your home before the next storm even forms? Here are five areas of your property to address to potentially help it – and you – withstand a storm safely:
- Doors: A strong door helps keep wind and water out of your home during a tropical storm. A weak door may succumb to the elements, exacerbating water damage, turning everyday home items into airborne projectiles and even increasing the uplift force on your roof. To help strengthen doors, install heavy-duty deadbolt locks at both the top and bottom. Replace the screws in your hinge attachments with longer ones that drive deep into the doors and frames. Keep in mind that double-door entries are typically more susceptible to wind and may need further reinforcement. If your garage door isn’t rated for wind pressure, reinforce it with plywood or steel.
- Windows: Broken windows can cause the same problems as a busted door during a tropical storm. If you don’t have permanent storm shutters, use 5/8-inch exterior grade or marine plywood to board up your home prior to a storm. Boards should be cut to fit and ready to install.
- Roof: During 100+ mph winds, the uplift force on your roof can be substantial. Galvanized steel hurricane clips can help secure it to the walls of your home, as can premium flooring adhesive. Use a caulking gun to lay down the adhesive where the roof and structural supports meet. Furthermore, keep your gutters and downspouts securely attached to your home and free of debris to help minimize flooding and unnecessary weight.
- Trees, shrubs, lawn furniture: Diseased trees and overgrown shrubs are more likely to be uprooted during a storm, so regularly check on and tend to the health of all plants. Loose items, such as furniture and trash cans, can become airborne during a storm and damage property or injure people. Store them securely when not in use.
- Large indoor items: If it’s big enough to injure you if it were to fall over, it should be secured to the wall. This includes bookcases, media stands, water heaters and other heavy items.
If you’re unsure how to go about some of these home updates, don’t hesitate to call in a professional. Your professional insurance agent can further help you protect the investment you’ve made in your property by helping you select and understand your insurance coverage. For example, you may have a higher deductible for wind damage or need a separate flood policy – it’s important to know and address such things before a storm occurs so you’re covered the way you want to be covered when disaster strikes.