Hurricane season is going strong. Do you know how to prepare your home for a hurricane?
When Hurricane Irma hit, more than a million people were affected. You can’t prevent the arrival of a hurricane, or move your home out of its path. But you can minimize the damage by taking steps to prepare your home for a storm.
Wondering what you’ll need to do?
In this guide, we’ll break it down. Keep reading to learn how to get ready for the worst.
Basic Home Storm-Guarding
There are some steps you can take to protect your home. Some of them are surprisingly easy. For example, you can make any necessary repairs, and clean out your gutters so they can remove rainfall effectively.
Make sure to make space so you can move any outdoor furniture inside before the storm hits. Otherwise, you could lose it, or it could blow into your home and cause more damage.
A generator is a good investment since a power outage is likely during hurricanes. Make sure to figure out how to turn off your propane, electricity, and gas before the moment arrives.
Other storm-guarding work is a little more involved, but still well worth your time. Here are a few of the best things you can do to keep your home safe.
1. Secure the Roof
Buy hurricane clips or straps to secure your roof to your home’s frame. Having the roof blow off of your home isn’t just expensive – it can be incredibly dangerous if anyone’s still inside. It’s not too difficult to have a hurricane-ready roof, and it’s well worth it to avoid the alternative.
2. Bolt the Doors
Protect all your entry doors with head and foot bolts. This will help keep them closed against the wind.
3. Cover Your Windows
You can make or buy window covers, or install storm shutters to protect this vulnerable part of your house.
If you don’t go with commercial storm shutters, you can cut window covers so they’ll fit each window in your home. Look for marine or exterior grade plywood that’s five-eighths an inch thick or more.
If your home has bigger glass pieces like sliding glass doors, buy a thicker reinforced plywood to protect them.
4. Caulk Windows and Doors
To protect your doors and windows further, add caulk around the edges. The rain will be driven sideways by the high winds, so it can more easily get into your home and cause water damage. Even if the rest of your home stays intact, water damage can be expensive to fix.
5. Protect Other Structures
Your home may not be the only building on your property. Make sure your deck, porch, carport, shed, and canopies are all secured and protected.
6. Test Drains
Make sure your home’s drains are working well before the storm hits. You’ll want to know that water can escape rather than build up.
As you prepare your home for a hurricane, you can also take steps to keep your landscape safe from the elements.
Trees, plants, rocks, and other elements of landscaping can get uprooted and damaged by the hurricane. They can also cause more damage to your home and other structures if left unsecured.
To protect your landscape, trim any shrubs and trees. This will help them stand up to the wind better, and also reduces the chances that windblown or fallen limbs will cause damage.
If your landscape includes gravel, consider swapping it out for shredded bark. Windblown gravel is heavier and more damaging than soft bark.
If you can, hire an arborist to take a professional look at the trees around your home. They can tell you if any of them are likely to come down during the storm, so you can get those trees removed. A crashing tree can do severe damage to your car, your home, and any other structure nearby.
Finally, tie down any smaller shrubs or trees to reduce the chances that they’ll get uprooted.
No matter what steps you take, you can’t guarantee that the hurricane won’t cause damage. You can just minimize the extent of the damage.
Standard homeowner’s insurance automatically includes wind damage in Florida, luckily. However, you can talk to your insurance agent to find out if you should change or upgrade your current policy in any way before a hurricane hits. Get this taken care of early, so you’ll be prepared for the next storm. If you wait until there’s news of a storm, it might be too late.
In addition to wind insurance, it’s important to have flood insurance in the event of a hurricane.
Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. You’ll need to take out a separate insurance policy and make sure the government backs it. Find out if your community is part of the National Flood Insurance Program to see if insurance is available where you live.
In fact, if you live in a flood zone, you have no choice – you have to buy flood insurance. But even if you’re not required to, it might be a good idea to purchase flood insurance anyway. Again, your insurance agent can help you figure out what’s right for you.
Ready to Prepare Your Home For a Hurricane?
The time to prepare your home for a hurricane is now – not when the weather channel starts talking about the storm’s potential power.
These hurricane-proofing tips are highly useful, but they take time. Don’t get caught in the storm. Start doing the work today.