Whether you’re riding waves at the beach or lounging poolside, summer should be relaxing and carefree… so go ahead and eliminate the uncertainty that often comes with hurricane season by preparing your home now! Readying the physical exterior of your home now will give you peace of mind for the rest of the season—and, of course, will protect both your home’s look and safety.
Here are a couple of steps you can take now to prepare your home:
Secure your roof. Roof damage is the biggest reason for hurricane insurance claims unrelated to storm surge, so be sure to place protecting it at the top of your to-do list! You can do a few things to make sure your roof is as secure as possible—start with caulking or nailing down loose shingles. You may not notice loose shingles on a regular day, but in a hurricane, high winds can turn even small shingles into debris that can damage your home. Secure your roof to your home with hurricane straps, and ensure that the edges of any gables (the triangular “faces” of a sloped roof) are braced as well. Finally, look out for potential leaks or weak spots for water damage—you can always add a secondary water barrier under the roof (from inside your home/attic space) if you need to.
Cover all your windows... and maybe doors, too. When most people think of hurricane protection, window protection—complete with plywood, aluminum or steel shutters—is usually the first thing to come to mind. That’s for good reason! Hurricane shutters provide the obvious benefit of sparing your home’s windows and interior from damage—but they also prevent the buildup of pressure in your home should a window be broken or blown in, which can cause bigger structural problems.
Now, when it comes to protecting your home’s windows (or other fragile openings, like French doors), you have a few options. The first is a preventative one—get storm resistant impact windows. These windows are custom built and designed to withstand wind and debris, but look like regular windows and don’t require any pre-hurricane hustle to work.
A quicker solution exists for those who rent a home or, for other reasons, do not want to switch out their home’s current windows, and that’s the installation of basic hurricane shutters. These can do just as much to protect your home, and you can reinstall them every year. You can skip covering your windows with tape—while a somewhat common practice, this step won’t protect your windows on its own, and won’t increase the effectiveness of your shutters or impact windows anyway.
Be sure to cover all of your home’s windows, not just the big ones. Even small windows, when broken, can cause big changes in pressure… and you don’t want that! Opt for the sturdier shutter materials like steel or aluminum, and save plywood for last minute provisions.
Look to the outdoors. Finally, don’t neglect your home’s backyard, patio or front lawn, because these spots require just as much attention when it comes to hurricane preparedness. Secure all your furniture—big and small—to avoid having your tables or couches turn into flying debris. The same goes for kids’ toys, potted plants, gardening tools, trash cans and other loose items—try to place them in the garage, shed, mud room or other indoor space.
Like many Floridians, you might have a backyard pool you want to keep safe during the storm. While after the storm you will probably want to shock the pool and work to get it back to its ideal chemical balance, you just need to remember one thing before the storm: don’t empty your pool! This practice is suggested here and there to prevent flooding, but as long as your pool is at its proper water level you should be fine. Emptying it can cause the foundation below the pool to crack or buckle, causing bigger issues for you down the line.
If you have overgrown branches, now is the best time for some much needed pruning. Even if your branches don’t hang directly over your home or car, cut them so that they don’t turn into a debris problem for your neighbors.
With your home protected, you can focus on preparing you and your family for any possible storm. Stay with us as we continue to post helpful storm preparedness tips!