Expert advice on steps you can take now to prepare your home for hurricane season, including installing storm shutters, battening down the roof, installing appropriate doors, selecting a hurricane-proof garage door, and more.
How safe will your home keep you in the event of a hurricane? If you live in a hurricane-prone region, such as the state of Florida, don’t put off considering this question.
Research has shown that many owners of homes that are susceptible to hurricane damage are not taking recommended measures to protect their properties. Findings from a survey by Origin Global suggested over half of Florida’s homeowners are not properly safeguard against the impact of hurricanes, despite data highlighting the cost of failing to act.
But what measures can you take to enhance your home’s stability in extreme weather conditions?
Storm Shutters for Windows
Storm shutters are an option that under a fifth of survey respondents admitted to investing in—yet they could be considered the most important protection for your home, cushioning it from high winds. You can install shutters yourself. Please see How to Install Hurricane Shutters.
According to the survey findings, few people (14.6%) have protected their roof, in spite of the fact it will often bear the brunt of a hurricane. However, there are relatively simple and inexpensive ways of reducing your roof’s vulnerability to wind damage. If you’re a competent and confident DIYer, you can tackle some of these tasks yourself.
Good places to start are replacing damaged or missing nails in the shingles and applying roofing cement beneath the edges of shingles. If you’re building a roof, apply construction adhesive to rafters or trusses before fastening down the roof deck.
Metal “hurricane anchors,” available on Amazon, connect the roof to your home’s walls on the inside and provide additional structural support. This is a job that is often best handled by a contractor.
If your home has a gable roof, note that it is especially susceptible to wind damage. You can add stability by attaching wooden cross braces to the rafters. Also seal-up the vents at the edges of the roof with plywood when a hurricane is forecast.
Installing durable, impact-resistant doors is another important measure that relatively few homeowners (13.2%) admit to taking. However, many of the latest bi-fold doors are manufactured with high-strength aluminum frames and toughened glass, and are even subjected to rigorous hurricane testing. Of course, these also offer a great way to update the look of your home while adding value.
It’s worth noting that poorly installed bi-fold doors could lead to drafts. Good quality doors will feature an insulating material, such as polyamide, between the two faces of the doors, which offers a thermal break between the outside and inside, helping to keep your energy bills down. Professional installation is usually included in the cost when you purchase such doors.
Because of their large size, garage doors are highly susceptible to wind damage. Unless you have a tested hurricane-resistant garage door installed, high winds can force it out of the opening.
According to FEMA, if the garage door is lost during a hurricane, internal pressure can uncontrollably build up, allowing massive winds to blowout the home’s roof and supporting walls. Please see more about Hurricane-Proof Garage Doors.
You Need More Than Hurricane Insurance
Joe Halsall, digital marketing manager at Origin Global, which conducted the survey, said: “Our findings show that, despite the severity of last year’s hurricane season and the susceptibility of Florida to the elements, a surprising number of residents have not protected their homes against damage which could potentially cost them thousands of dollars to repair.
“And although hurricane insurance provides some peace of mind, your policy will only cover so much — with a high proportion of claims going unpaid.”
Since data from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation shows that around a third of the 610,166 claims made by homeowners after Hurricane Irma were closed without payment, it’s worth noting that insurance will not cover you in every eventuality. What’s more, many insurers offer discounts on hurricane insurance policies to property owners who have taken steps to minimize storm damage.
So we recommend doing an assessment of your home to establish which elements could be better protected against the elements. Considering many of the smaller adjustments could be made yourself, choose a fine day and dust off your tool belt. Your home will thank you for it.
Next: If a hurricane is bearing down on your area, please see Emergency Hurricane Preparation.