Hurricanes cost an average cost of $20.5 billion per event in property damage. While even the best-built homes may not be able to withstand the most powerful tropical storms, there are several things you can take to secure your home from natural catastrophes.
Wind, rain, and floods are the most dangerous aspects of hurricanes. The wind is a major factor here, with gusts exceeding 160 mph in category 5 storms. Florida construction codes mandate that structures can withstand winds of up to 180 mph.
The windows and roofs are the most vulnerable. Knowing how to hurricane proof your home should be your top priorities during hurricane season.
Here are tips for protecting your Florida home from the damaging effects of storms.
Install Hurricane Impact Windows
Windows are always the most vulnerable parts of a home during a storm or hurricane.
Therefore, you must consider installing hurricane impact windows made using heavy frames that can resist breakage. These windows not only withstand projectiles moving with a speed of 150 mph but also prevent water intrusion, thus reducing the overall damage.
In Florida, especially across many coastal cities, homes must be built with hurricane impact windows. If your home is an older version, you can consider upgrading to impact-resistant windows. You can still explore other ways to hurricane-proof windows, such as:
Installing Film to Your windows
The film doesn’t increase the impact resistance of the windows. However, it holds the glass together and thus prevents dangerous shattering in the event of a storm.
Add Storm Shutters
Hurricane window shutters can withstand high winds and flying debris. Additionally, shutters can be installed or removed as needed.
Installing hurricane impact windows, adding storm shutters, or installing window films can give you peace of mind in the event of a storm.
Install Hurricane Impact Doors
Garage doors are always the most significant entry into your home but are also vulnerable to hurricane damage. However, you can install hurricane impact doors that can resist heavy winds and pressure buildup.
But, if you don’t have enough money to invest in hurricane resistant doors, you can still protect your home doors by:
Using Removable Metal Panels
Garage doors are weak spots for hurricane wind; if they give away to pressure, the wind will enter your house and rip off the roof. Thus, you must install metal panels, especially galvanized steel or aluminum panels, to the garage door before the storm approach.
Go with Fiberglass on the Front
Fiberglass is the best material you can use to hurricane proof your front door.
Typically, doors made from fiberglass are more rigid than average doors made from wood. Apart from resisting high winds, fiberglass doors won’t scratch, peel or warp under extreme weather conditions; it is thus suitable for hurricane proofing.
Thus, invest in impact and wind-resistant doors to protect your home from a hurricane.
Reinforce Your Roof
If you live in hurricane-prone areas, you probably know roofs are among the most susceptible areas. Thus, you make your roof strong to protect the integrity of the whole structure. Here are ways you can make a hurricane-proof roof:
Install Metal Roof
Metal roofs use tin, aluminum, steel, copper, or zinc.
Though expensive, a metal roof can withstand high winds and torrential downpours. A metal roof is often made using interlocking panels that have unique strength.
Additionally, a metal roof is more durable than traditional asphalt shingle roofs.
Install Architectural Shingles
Architectural shingles are also suitable for hurricane-prone regions. They are usually thicker and heavier than asphalt shingles, enabling them to resist a storm.
Install Hurricane Straps
Hurricane straps are galvanized steel support systems secured to your house’s frame. Most of the new homes in hurricane-prone regions have hurricane straps, but if you live in an older home, you can consider installing them.
Clear Your Gutters and Downspouts
You must consider gutter when preparing for a windstorm or hurricane.
Thus, ensure all the screws and brackets hold in place, and your entire gutter system is immovable. Additionally, clear the gutters of the various debris; in doing so, stormwater will easily flow without wrecking the roof.
Landscape and Maintain Your Yard
Landscaping your yard will also be a great way to prevent damage and destruction of your home during a storm.
Thus, be sure to prune all trees and bushes in your yard. They may destroy your home exterior in the event of a storm. Additionally, cut loose tree branches and remove coconuts from palm trees.
Removing weak or dead trees is essential since they are likely to topple during a storm.
Follow the Mandated Construction Code
It is also essential to follow the mandated construction code to ensure your structure is sturdy even under force or hurricane-force winds.
In Florida, the mandatory building codes were imposed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Such measures have improved hurricane resistance, especially in new construction. Some of the requirements include the installation of impact-resistant windows and doors.
Poor design, shoddy construction, and inadequate inspection can make your building vulnerable to hurricanes. Thus, hire only licensed professionals who will follow the local building code.
Protect and Secure HVAC System
A hurricane can easily destroy your home HVAC system if not protected. However, some expert tips can help you protect your AC.
Before the storm, use a protective cage or hurricane straps to secure your HVAC system from falling debris. Additionally, remove any bushes or foliage that may damage your system.
During the storm, shut off the thermostat and circuit breakers to protect your HVAC unit from damage.
Do Last-Minute Hurricane Prep
You must also get ready for the hurricane minutes or hours before the event. This can also help minimize the damage inflicted on your home.
Last-minutes hurricane pre may include:
Closing Doors and Windows
This is a simple action, but it will eliminate 30 percent of the pressure buildup on your roof. Thus, closing interior and exterior windows and doors give your roof a better chance of staying intact during a storm.
Hurricanes often bring strong winds, and when they find an open door or window, it will create more pressure on your roof. Ultimately, this will cause your roof to cave in, allowing water into your home.
Secure Exterior Décor and Furniture
You probably have items like exterior patio furniture, planters, pet houses, sheds, trashcans, deck boards, and mailboxes. You must secure these items to minimize the chances of being blown by the wind and thus cause damage to your home structure.
Seal Vulnerable Parts of the Roof
No matter how sturdy your roof is, you must protect vulnerable parts like chimneys and pipes that lead into your house.
Additionally, if your chimney is unstable, it can compromise the integrity of your home. Thus, always inspect your chimney for any structural issues that need remedy.
A chimney cap is also essential for rain and hurricane defense. However, it should be secured tightly.
You must use hurricane straps on your chimney if you expect high-speed wind. This will prevent it from collapsing and thus damaging other parts of your home.
If you live in n areas that experience flooding whenever a hurricane hits, it is essential to prepare beforehand to minimize the risk of flood damage. Keep these necessities at hand to control flooding:
Your basement is more likely to flood during hurricanes. Thus, always have a sump pump read and a battery back-up in the event of a power outage.
Create a Water Barriers
You can use sandbags, water diversion tubes, or expanding flood barriers to divert water from your property. Water accumulates in your yards and can find its way to your basement or crawl space.
Get the Right Insurance Coverage
Updating your insurance is also a great way to ensure that your home is fully covered for storm damage.
If you want to shop for hurricane insurance, do it before the storm hits. The majority of the insurance company will stop selling covers during the hurricane watch days.
Understand How to Hurricane Proof Your Home
Hurricane is one of the risks you face, especially when you own a home in Florida. Thus, you must understand how to hurricane proof your home to protect your loved ones if your property is in the path of a storm.
At The Window Experts, we offer hurricane impact windows products designed to compliments South Florida hurricanes and tropical storms. We have partnered with Simonton Windows to ensure you get the best windows in the industry.
Contact us today to book an appointment.