Summer is usually a hurricane season in many coastal areas. As communities brace for potentially destructive tropical storms, as a homeowner, you should start thinking of ways to minimize damage. One of the critical things you must do is to ensure the structural integrity of a home and the safety of your family. While hunkering down is the only way to protect yourself from the wrath of a hurricane, there are some renovations you can make to prepare your home, so it can be more resilient to the elements.
1. By Fortifying the Exterior
The first line of defense for your home against hurricane-strong winds and rain is its exterior. The best time to hurricane-proof your home is now before it lands. Start by thoroughly inspecting your home and repair anything that needs to be repaired. Attend to roof issues immediately as it’s the home’s most vulnerable part. If there are damaged or missing shingles, replace them. Also, inspect the flashing around chimneys and vents.
With over 5 million new roofs being installed annually in the U.S. according to Forbes, replacing a damaged or aged roof will bolster hurricane resilience. Inspect entryways, garage doors, windows, and skylights and repair them if damaged. Trim trees or overgrown vegetation that’s likely to be dislodged and blown into your house by strong winds.
2. By Assessing Its Vulnerability
Before upgrading your home, get a professional to inspect it thoroughly. The inspection should involve examining your roof, windows, doors, and the foundation to identify areas that are vulnerable to hurricane damage. Consult with a structural engineer for advice on reinforcing weak sections to ensure compliance with hurricane building codes.
3. By Reinforcing the Windows
Windows are another critical vulnerability during hurricanes. Prepare by installing tested and approved storm shutters on all exterior windows, or precutting plywood, so it is ready to quickly board up windows when a storm approaches.
By Installing impact-resistant windows made of tempered or laminated glass to defend against wind pressure and flying debris that can penetrate standard windows. According to EGS International, windows and doors reinforced to withstand winds between 105-130 mph can endure hurricane-force gusts exceeding 100 mph.
Garage doors reinforced with lateral bracing, impact-resistant materials, and stronger hardware provide some measure of protection. Another option is applying a security film, a strong adhesive that keeps windows from shattering. Look around for window coverings you may need and get them before the start of hurricane season.
4. By Preparing for Flooding
Flooding from heavy rains and storm surge is a major threat during hurricanes. There are several steps you can take to flood-proof your home. Elevate the house itself and all electrical/HVAC utilities if you live in a high-risk flood zone.
Install backflow valves and sump pumps to prevent sewer backups. Strategically slope soil and position downspouts to improve drainage away from the home. Waterproof basement walls and use sealants in any cracks or openings.
You can improve drainage around your home by digging trenches, grading the slope away from your house, pumps, and French drains to prevent flooding from heavy rains and storm surge.
5. By Reinforcing the Garage
The garage is often one of the most vulnerable parts of the home during storms. Reinforce garage doors by bracing them with angled wood beams or retrofitting them with horizontal braces. Get valuable items off the garage floor in case of flooding. Install flood vents to allow rising water to flow out rather than applying pressure to the walls. Also, if you live in California and were involved in a car accident just before a storm landed, the law requires you to report the incident to the police in 24 hours if anyone was injured.
6. By Reinforcing Safe Rooms
A reinforced safe room provides the best shelter during high winds and flying debris from a hurricane. Work with a contractor to design and build a safe room that adheres to FEMA specifications. The room should be constructed using high-impact-resistant materials. Conduct drills with your family, so everyone knows where the safe room is located and the protocol to follow before a storm hits.
7. By Conducting Regular Home Maintenance
The key to effective hurricane preparedness is proper home maintenance and regular inspections year-round. Check to see if there are repairs needed before and after hurricane season. Keep trees trimmed, gutters cleared, exterior surfaces sealed, and emergency provisions fully stocked.
Preparing your home thoroughly before the hurricane season helps minimize damage, keeping your family safe. Taking preemptive measures before hurricane season begins reduces risks to your home and family. Consult local building codes and insurance providers for recommended resilience upgrades. With thoughtful preparation and strategic home improvements, you can weather the storm with less worry about your house.