Tips for Protecting Your Home from a Hurricane or Storm

Hurricanes are powerful natural phenomena that can wreak havoc on homes, causing extensive damage and posing significant risks to residents. While it’s impossible to prevent hurricanes, homeowners can take proactive measures to minimize the impact of these storms on their properties.

What You Can Do To Prepare Your Home Before Hurricane Season

Strengthen Your Roof

Your home’s first defense against hurricane-force winds and flying debris is your roof.

To strengthen your roof:

  • Invest in hurricane straps or clips to secure the roof to the frame of your house.
  • Consider upgrading to impact-resistant roofing materials, such as metal or asphalt shingles designed to withstand high winds and hail.
  • Trim overhanging tree branches that could fall onto your roof during a storm.

Stock Up on Plywood

Plywood is an affordable solution to protecting windows without shutters from airborne projectiles. Once you have the plywood, you’re ready to start boarding up your windows on the exterior side of your house before an approaching storm.

Have Tarps on Hand for Unexpected Leaks

Tarps are inexpensive and prevent further damage, so they should be on every homeowner’s hurricane prep list.

Reinforce Doors and Windows

Weak points like doors and windows are vulnerable to hurricane-force winds and debris.

  • Install impact-resistant windows and doors rated for high wind pressure and flying debris.
  • Consider adding storm shutters or plywood panels to protect windows and glass doors during a hurricane.
  • Strengthen garage doors with bracing kits or replace them with hurricane-rated doors to prevent wind penetration.

Don’t tape your windows! There’s a long-standing myth that putting X-shaped tape on your windows will prevent them from breaking during a storm. However, this isn’t true. Your windows can still shatter; the tape makes them more likely to break into more enormous shards.

Secure Outdoor Items

Loose outdoor items can become dangerous projectiles in high winds, causing damage to your property and neighboring homes.

Take the following precautions:

  • Store outdoor furniture, grills, and other items in a secure location indoors or anchor them down to prevent them from being swept away.
  • Trim or remove loose branches, shrubs, and trees that could fall onto your home or power lines during a storm.

Reinforce Garage Doors

Garage doors are often susceptible to failure during hurricanes, leading to significant structural damage.

To reinforce your garage doors:

  • Install a garage door bracing system or retrofit kit to strengthen the door against high winds and pressure changes.
  • Ensure the garage door track is securely anchored to the walls and reinforced with heavy-duty brackets.

Maintain Drainage Systems

Proper drainage is essential for preventing flooding and water damage during a hurricane.

Keep your drainage systems in good working condition by:

  • Clearing gutters and downspouts of debris allows proper water to flow away from your home.
  • Installing French drains or swales to redirect excess water away from your property and prevent pooling around the foundation.

Consider Retrofitting

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, consider investing in retrofitting measures to strengthen your home’s resilience against storms.

Retrofitting options may include:

  • Reinforcing masonry walls with steel or concrete reinforcements.
  • Installing storm-resistant roof trusses or bracing systems.
  • Retrofitting older homes with hurricane straps, shutters, and impact-resistant windows and doors.

Invest in a Standby Generator

Power outages are common during hurricanes, leaving homes without electricity for extended periods. Invest in a standby generator to provide backup power for essential appliances and systems such as refrigerators, lights, and sump pumps. Ensure that the generator is installed by a licensed professional and properly maintained.

Install Surge Protection

To help protect your property, add a power surge protector to your electrical panel or use power strips with built-in surge protectors. Your heating and air conditioning system may also need special protection.

Inventory Your Home and Possessions

Document the contents of your home and the home itself, inside and out. Williams Law, P.A. provides printable spreadsheets to assist you in creating a comprehensive inventory of your home or property.  Additionally, take pictures from every angle, including close-ups and shots that pull back to show the big picture of rooms in your home. Video all electronics and big-ticket items and save footage and the itemized inventory. If you make an insurance claim, you’ll want this evidence to support the claim and recover the maximum amount.

What Can You Do Within Days of a Storm’s Landfall?

  • Store documents in a high place in waterproof containers.
  • Keep swimming pools filled to 12 inches below the edge, and add chlorine.
  • Park your vehicle against the garage door and keep the gas tank full.
  • Move the computer away from any windows and backup files.
  • Close all outdoor electrical outlets and cover them with duct tape.
  • Fill sinks and bathtubs with water, and turn off the main water to the house.

Hurricanes are formidable natural disasters that demand careful preparation and planning to mitigate their impact on homes and communities. Implementing these practical tips and strategies to hurricane-proof your home can enhance your property’s resilience and protect your family from harm during the next storm. Remember, it’s never too early to start preparing – act now to safeguard your haven for the future.