We’re well into the season this year and so far, so good, right? For the most part, we just take hurricane season in stride around here. However, there’s always that tiny “what if” thought that makes its way into our heads every so often. We’ve got a list of steps you can take to better protect your home. It’s never too late to consider beefing up your home to withstand a hurricane should one come roaring toward the coast this year.
The weathermen stay on top of the forecast telling us days in advance if we need to prepare, but that’s a little too late to take on a new project. The odds are slim to none that you would get a contractor to the house in time to get the job done. It’s best to take on larger projects before the storm clouds are building on the horizon.
Speaking of staying on top of things
The thought of a hurricane ripping our roof from our home is bleak indeed. If that happens, our entire house can go down. And, even if it doesn’t, odds are there won’t be much left to salvage.
Taking steps now to strengthen your roof’s wind resistance could make all the difference if a storm ever makes landfall here.
Holding it together
An inexpensive step that nearly triples your roof’s wind resistance is using construction adhesive. That’s right. Glue. Head for the attic and run a thick bead of construction adhesive down each side of the rafters where it meets the plywood roof deck.
If your home is under construction, adding hurricane clips is a good idea. They strengthen the connection between the rafters and walls. This step also greatly increases your roof’s wind resistance. However, it’s tough to retrofit them. An experienced contractor can do the job, but it is costly. It usually involves cutting out a section of the siding and the wall sheathing at every spot where a rafter rests on the wall.
Braces aren’t just for teeth
If you have a gabled roof, it is more susceptible to wind damage. Bracing it from the underside is something to consider. The braces are merely 2x4s that run the length of the roof. Install them 18 inches from the ridge, in the center span and at the base. Gabled end bracing is achieved by using 2x4s placed in an X pattern from the top and bottom centers of the gable to the top and bottom center braces of the fourth truss.
See what’s coming at you
Hurricane windows are a sight to behold! These windows are constructed of tempered glass that is adhered on either side of a sheet of high-tech polymer. The high-tech polymer holds the glass in place so that the window doesn’t fly apart. Even if hit with the force of a 2×4 slamming into the glass end on, these windows stay together. The glass may crack, even spiderweb, but it isn’t going anywhere.
“Once the wind gains access to your home through shattered windows, there’s an increased chance that you can lose your roof. Our homes aren’t airtight. Winds rush upward to the attic and force their way out through the tiniest spaces. This causes pressure to build inside. All the while, the storm is pounding away at your roof from the outside. This can literally rip your entire roof right off. Our windows are built to withstand the force of wind-tossed debris. If the wind can’t get in, the chances of your home surviving are measurably increased.” explains Chris Gardner, General Manager and VP at Reece Windows.
In addition, unlike most storm shutters, hurricane windows provide a light source instead of leaving you in the dark. Moreover, there’s no putting them up and taking them down. Once you install these windows, they are at the ready 24/7.
Keep the door closed
Like our windows, if our exterior doors fail, the hurricane is coming in full force. Installing hurricane resistant doors is certainly an option. However, reinforcing the ones you have will be much less expensive and provides added protection. You can purchase kits to do the job or simply install brackets above the door and purchase metal rods the proper length to reach from the brackets to the floor.
Don’t forget your garage door! The same technique is used. However, since a garage door is so large, it’s suggested that you drill holes in the garage floor to insert the metal rods into before fastening with the brackets above the door. It’s estimated that up to 90% of homes that are destroyed by a hurricane lost their garage door first allowing the wind to access the home in a big way.
Batten down the hatches
Secure any pool screen enclosures or your lanai with tie-downs. Tie-downs secure your enclosures to the base to keep them in place. Moreover, don’t skimp on the number of tie-downs you use. The more you use the better!
Also, while we’re on the subject, don’t drain your pool. Groundwater can accumulate and float your pool right out of the ground. The water weighs it down.
Look at your landscaping
Trees containing heavy foliage blow over easier. Therefore, pruning trees allows the wind to pass through decreasing the chance of them toppling over. Also, if planting trees in the future, check with your local nursery to see what types they suggest to better withstand storms.
If you have fruit trees, you should pick the fruit. Leaving it in place is not a good idea. The winds will rip it from the branches and turn it into projectiles.
Wrapping it up
If you find yourself in the path of a hurricane and local authorities suggest you evacuate. Please, evacuate. Staying puts your family at great risk. Stay tuned to updates because things can change in an instant. Having an evacuation plan in place could save your life.
Providing added hurricane protection for your home now will have a lasting effect for years to come. Your family will be safer if ever you do need to weather the storm.