Since the ’70s, extreme weather in the U.S. has become more frequent according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Because of this, we must prepare for the worst and ensure we have a storm-proof house before hurricane season hits. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here are tips on how to storm proof a house.
When you’re aiming to hurricane-proof your home, start with the yard. Toys, patio furniture, and hanging baskets strewn across it might turn into flying objects when a storm passes through.
Make sure you cut away dead branches so they don’t break during the storm. If you have a large tree, that’s dying or broken, hire a professional removal service so nothing breaks off and shatters a window.
Not sure how to hurricane-proof your home?
Ensure you have a brace to keep the garage door’s individual panels horizontally and vertically. These will prevent the wind from breaking through the door and damaging your home.
If there’s still space between the edge of your garage door and the cement underneath, slide 2 inches by 4 inches boards taller than your garage door in the space to secure it.
Once you’ve done that, service the garage door opener by lubricating the chain and checking its tension. You should also change the batteries in the electronic opener in case you need to get into the garage during the storm.
All hurricane-proof houses have ensured their roofs can withstand the most extreme elements. Before you can reinforce it, you must determine the type of roof and the environmental dangers likely to occur.
For example, gabled roofs are more likely to suffer damage from high winds so you’ll have to add braces in the trusses.
Most houses have shingles, tiles, and metal roofs and it’s important you inspect every tile to ensure they’re all fitted properly.
Call in a qualified builder to install galvanized metal hurricane straps and clips to secure the roof to the walls. This is to transfer wind loads by keeping joints in your home connected, such as the walls to the floor. Or you can install plywood sheathing to the roof rafters by using nails or screws.
Another aspect of your roof to consider is lightning rods. If it’s the highest point on your property, then grounding rods can prevent lightning strikes which can trigger power surges and outages.
Before taking the plunge, consult a professional so they can determine how many rods you need and how to best install them.
Every hurricane proof home has a seamless gutter system. Ensure gutters and their downspouts are firmly attached to the house because if there’s heavy rain, they may overflow and the weight of the water will pull them away from the house.
Your gutters must be free of dirt and debris to ensure the water flows easily away from your home.
It’s also an important time to check for leaks in gutter seams that could result in wood rot. As you check, ensure the downspouts are still connected and unbroken so the runoff is directed away from the home’s foundation.
Your hurricane proof house must be a place where you can weather the storm comfortably.
Invest in battery backups and an electric generator so you can still power refrigerators, freezers, lights, and electronics. Call in a professional to help you wire generators that will start automatically during a power outage.
Before the storm hits, check the exterior around doors, windows, and trim to ensure seals are still in good condition.
Poke the wood where pieces join to see whether they’ve developed wood rot. If the wood is spongy, it needs replacing.
Your main priority as a homeowner is to keep moisture out, especially when winds drive rain into your home at every angle. Water penetrating your home’s exterior can create mold and mildew which can cause irreversible damage.
Also, ensure your home’s crawl space is protected from dampness otherwise you’ll end up paying the cost of crawl space repair. A great way to do this is to get paint or stain structures that maintain a moisture shield.
You must check vulnerable areas to ensure rain, hail, or sandstorms haven’t worn away paint and if so, give them a fresh coat.
If severe storms are frequent in your area, consider hurricane shutters. You can prepare them by getting pre-cut plywood boards to cover windows before the storm hits.
To do this, position plywood and ensure it’s larger than the window. Don’t secure the board to the window frame as it can cause damage so instead, bolt the plywood inside the window for extra support.
And, before you bolt it tight, leave the window partially open during the storm.
To fully storm-proof your home, make sure the chimney is cleared because if the power is out, it can be a valuable heat source so it must be safe to use. You should also check the attic for water stains, the light coming through the roof, and whether animals have chewed on wiring.
It’s possible to get a storm-proof house when you follow a checklist of things to look for. Make sure every slab on your roof is fixed and install braces to prevent them from flying off in a storm.
Your drains, yard, and windows must also be thoroughly checked so that all water flows away from your house and you have reinforced everything. Good luck!
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