How to Minimize the Damage Storms Can Cause to Your Home
Global warming has brought with it increased intensity of storms and temperatures. Case in point hurricane Matthew which has recently reached category 4, blasting homes and businesses along the eastern coast of the United States and causing an estimated 4 to 6 billion dollars in damage. The number of storms that we see throughout a typical hurricane season, as well as the extremes in flooding and rainfall are on the rise. Much of the damage that hurricanes cause however can be mitigated with preparation and planning, and there are some interesting facts and ideas that will help you do doing so.
There are typically three ways that hurricanes can cause damage:
• High speed winds that blow apart structures and launch debris
• High levels of rainfall that can cause flooding, even away from the coast line
• Rise in sea level by several meters can cause additional flooding
While some damage is easier to prepare for than other types, all can be addressed to an extent to help lower the risk of damage to buildings or property.
Preparing for High Winds
The high winds, common with hurricanes, affect more people during the large tropical storms than other types of damage. Luckily, it’s possible to prepare for these winds to lower the chance that they will cause serious damage to your home. One of the key areas to reinforce when preparing for a hurricane is the roof. Loose shingles are an entryway for winds to grab onto and rip apart, so they’re an obvious place to examine when getting the house ready for potential storms. During a storm of this magnitude, there will be extreme upward pressure on the roof, while there will be different directional pressure on the remaining walls. If the roof is lifted from the structure during a storm, there will of course be less structural integrity for the remaining walls ensuring that they’ll succumb to those additional pressures causing the building to collapse.
There are now galvanized steel clips that can be installed inside the roof connecting the top plate to the rafters, significantly increasing the hold on the roof. Roofers are able to install these clips, and could also be installed yourself if you’re a little handy and can follow instructions. There are different clips that have different maximum load ratings, so ensure that you find the best clips for the types of storms that are common for your area.
Additional measures can be taken to protect windows and doors from the high winds of a hurricane as well. If you measure and pre cut plywood covers in advance, installation shouldn’t take more than a half hour or so. A common misconception about opening a window during a tornado to create a wind tunnel is a bad idea as the home or building can become pressurized. Instead, do install plywood sheets over all windows to add a layer of protection to them. There are a different types of clips available that will help bind the plywood to the window casing, increasing their resistance to being pulled away during the storm. While you’re at it, you may also want to seal the windows and doors too, which will prevent rain from getting in if the existing seals have degraded over time. If you’re going to be sealing things, remember to check holes where external wires and cables are coming into the house and seal those as well.
How Else Should You Prepare?
While ensuring that your roof is firmly attached to the rest of the structure is vitally important, as is protecting all of the windows and doors by boarding them up, there are several other things that you may not remember to consider when preparing for a hurricane level storm.
It’s usually not until it’s too late that homeowners realize that their insurance policies do not cover the full cost of rebuilding your home as a result of a storm. You will want to make sure that you’re not only covered for the cost of your home, but the rebuild cost. This is an important distinction as materials can cost more than what the home was originally insured for. While reviewing your policy, ensure that you have flood insurance as well as many policies do not include it by default.
It’s also a good idea to take an inventory of the belongings that you have in your home for insurance purposes. Having this list of items with their value will help your claim process in the aftermath of a storm when working with your insurance company. While taking a physical list is a good idea, there are also apps that you can install on your mobile device that will work as well.
If you have a carport or a porch with a roof, you will want to make sure that they’re properly anchored to the ground. During a storm, they can allow winds to take a firm hold and rip an entire hole in your home.
In all of the preparing of your home, you may forget to clear the lawn of furniture, decorations, the barbeque, things like this. All of these things can become high speed projectiles during a strong storm, so store them inside where they’ll be less likely to be picked up by the winds. Also, reinforce the garage door with a vertical beam to strengthen it which will help prevent the door itself from buckling inwards or even tearing the garage apart in the event of a strong storm.
With the right preparing you can help lower the damage to your home during a hurricane or tornado. Many of the ideas listed here aren’t too hard on the wallet, and can ultimately end up saving you much more should a hurricane ever hit your area.