Living in Central Florida, you know that a major storm is eventually going to come to your neighborhood. It’s not a matter of IF but of WHEN. As a responsible homeowner, therefore, you want to do everything possible to prepare for what lies ahead.
You can prepare for storm damage by seeking to prevent or minimize it, by getting together the necessary insurance and financial resources for an effective response, and by having an action plan in place should your roofing or other parts of your home get damaged in a storm.
Breaking it down more minutely, here are the top ten ways to prepare your home and yourself for the likelihood of eventual storm damage.
1. Get An Annual Roofing Inspection
Roofing and roof structures are the most commonly damaged aspects of a house during a typical Florida storm. Preparing your roof against storm damage, therefore, is a big step in the right direction.
But it’s difficult to even begin to take proper care of your roof unless you are aware of its current condition. That’s where a professional roof inspection comes into play.
At least once a year, generally right before or right after storm season, you should have a professional roofer comprehensively inspect your roof. They will look for general wear and tear, loose shingles, nails popping up, cracked roofing cement around chimneys, erosion of roof valleys, damage to ridge caps, out-of-place flashing, and more.
It can be dangerous or ineffective to simply inspect a roof oneself unless you have experience in that department or it’s something obvious. Plus, insurance companies will want to know a professional did the inspection before they agree to pay a claim.
2. Good Regular Roof Maintenance
Another way to help prevent storm damage is to do regular maintenance on your roof and the rest of your house. When things are well maintained, the odds are that a storm won’t do as much damage or maybe will leave your home untouched.
There are no guarantees, of course, but when you keep up with the maintenance on your roofing, you increase the chances that storm damage will be minimal.
Cutting back tree branches that hang over your roof, removing dead trees entirely, sweeping off debris from the rooftop, keeping gutters and downspouts clear, and walking around the house for a quick visual inspection after any major storm, help keep your roof in better condition to face a big storm.
3. Never Delay Taking Care Of Roof Repairs
Procrastination often leads to making existing problems worse – and more expensive, when you finally do have to deal with them. That principle applies to roofing and home maintenance just as in many other areas of life.
A roof leak may be small today, but it could grow larger. And it may be doing more damage than you realize each time it rains. A missing shingle or two here and there may seem unimportant, but it can let the water in – and interior damage to a home can be very expensive and very disruptive.
Similarly, stuffed and drooping gutters are just waiting to back up and damage the fascia board, loose flashing may blow off in the next wind storm, and cracked roofing caulk will only crack up more with time.
When roof repairs are delayed or neglected, and a major storm hits, it can increase the damage done to your home by the storm. Far better to take care of it before the storm rolls in.
4. Don’t Wait Too Long To Replace Old Roofing
Roofing can last for decades, but it won’t last forever. The closer it gets to the end of its useful lifespan, the less effective it will be as a water barrier. Thus, delaying roof replacement increases the risks of seeing significant damage to your roof and home during the next powerful Florida storm.
Timely roof replacement will save you a lot of headaches down the road. When roofing starts needing several repairs every single passing year, it’s probably best to replace it. It will save you money in the long run and reduce unnecessary property damage risks.
Make sure your new roofing is properly installed by a reliable roofing contractor. Shingles need to be securely fastened to the roof deck, flashing installed so the roof sheds water properly, and ridge caps installed so they stand up against high winds as effectively as possible.
Trusting the right roofer can lead to your home looking brand new again! Getting it done at the right time can prevent needless problems later on.
5. Consider Upgrading Roofing Materials
Upgrading your roofing materials – most likely in the process of getting a re-roofing job done – can also better prepare you for the coming storm. Some materials stand up better against fierce, stormy weather than do others.
Thicker, tougher asphalt shingles may have a higher wind resistance rating. Some roofing will fight off torrential rains than others. Some are better able to retain their granules longer, resist UV light (which can cause fading), stand up against hail impacts, or may have a better fire rating.
Your friendly local roofer will be able to inform you about the various materials available today and which ones are more resistant to all manner of weather threats.
Also, upgrading your home’s roofing can boost curb appeal, get you an insurance discount (depending on your insurer’s policies), increase your home’s energy efficiency level, and save you money in a variety of ways.
6. Have A Home Restoration Action Plan
When storms strike, they can damage your building in a number of different ways. A tree may crash through your window or bust through your rooftop. Water damage could devastate certain areas of your home’s interior. Or hail might dimple and destroy the integrity of large sections of your roofing.
It’s best to have an action plan! Many roofing contractors also offer home restoration services. They may be able to rebuild roof structure that has been broken in the storm, deal with water damage remediation, and offer other related services.
If you want to renovate your home or add an addition (that needs roofing that matches the old house), some roofing companies are equipped to handle much of that work as well. You certainly save time and money when you deal with just one contractor instead of multiple contractors.
7. Have A Good Home Insurance Policy
Homeowners insurance is important, and you find out just how important when you need your home repaired after getting hit by a hurricane, tornado, severe thunderstorm, high winds, or home fire caused by storm-related water intrusion.
Most homeowners insurance policies will cover roof repairs or roof replacement caused by a storm. Most storm damage to your home’s main dwelling will be covered by the limits of the policy. However, you need to make sure detached structure coverage will cover detached garages, garden sheds, fences, and other structures.
And you need to see how much coverage you have, including for personal possessions damaged by water from a roof leak during a storm. And you should also consider adding enough liability coverage. Plus, if you are forced out of your home while it is being repaired post-storm, you may need significant loss of use coverage.
Every policy is different, and you can customize your policy with most insurers. Be sure to ask about how roofing is covered in your policy – newer roofing could significantly lower your premiums.
8. Invest In Wind Mitigation Improvements
Also, in connection with home insurance, realize that getting a wind mitigation inspection done can be valuable. Make the right wind mitigation upgrades to your home, and you could get a discount on your monthly insurance premiums.
And of course, these kinds of upgrades help your home stand up against high winds better. Each improvement earns you wind mitigation points, and Florida state law requires that insurers honor these points and reward them with discounts.
Hurricane clips are one of the more obvious upgrade options. They more firmly connect your roof to the building below. You can also get clips that strengthen the connection between the foundation and the building. Hurricane shutters, more wind-resistant roofing, and many other upgrades can also save you money and keep you safer.
9. Know What To Do Immediately After The Storm
Acting quickly is key when it comes to recovering as quickly as possible from storm damage to your roof and/or home. You cannot go on the roof or try to solve the problems while the storm is ongoing – that would be prohibitively dangerous. (And never attempt DIY roof repairs unless you are experienced with how to do roof work safely and correctly.)
The first step post-storm is to initially assess the damage. You probably already know if there’s an obvious leak! But there can be hidden leaks too, in the attic, for example. And you should walk around the building at a distance so you can view the rooftop. Take a notebook and a camera so you can gather any information you might need to share later with your home insurance provider or with your local roofing contractor.
You may need to clean up your yard a bit if shingles are lying strewn about. And you may need a temporary tarp or other device put over a gash in the roof – a professional roofer should handle that part!
It’s important to take action quickly after a storm so you can schedule a repair or inspection as soon as possible. In a roofing emergency, you need help on extremely short notice – which brings us to our last point.
10. Know Who To Call In A Roofing Emergency
Be sure you already have your local roofing contractor picked out, if at all possible, before the storm strikes. Knowing you know who to call will give you much greater peace of mind!
Make sure that your roofer of choice will handle roofing emergency calls promptly. All roof repairs are urgent, but some are even more urgent than others.
Look for a roofing contractor with a long local presence and a strong local reputation. Take the time to research and compare your options. Overwhelmingly positive online reviews and photographs depicting past (beautiful) work by the contractor in question are good indications you are looking at a quality local roofer.
To learn more on how to prevent, minimize the odds of, and respond to storm damage to your roof and home – or for a free, no-obligation quote on a roof repair, roof replacement, or roof inspection job – contact Sheegog Contracting in Central Florida for assistance today!