Atlantic hurricane season is a fact for Florida homeowners. Although Central Florida is better protected from the worst than our coastal neighbors, it is important never to underestimate the power of Mother Nature. Even “unnamed” tropical storms can wreak havoc.
Floridians learn the rhythm of storm season and quickly get used to the danger. Still, it is essential not to let your guard down. Spending a few hours preparing your home can protect you from storm damage. It may save thousands of dollars in repair costs.
Having a trusted Florida roofing contractor in your contacts list is vital, but prevention is still the best route. Reputable Florida roofers have lots of work to do after a storm, and they often need to triage projects to prevent the most severe storm damage from getting even worse.
Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to make significant storm damage less likely. No one can control the weather, but you have the opportunity to address key weaknesses throughout your home.
When this is done right, it can give you and your family true peace of mind.
For storm season preparation, it’s the sooner, the better. You might need supplies such as beams or boards, sandbags, and more. These items go quickly, especially once named storms are confirmed. By the time it is “on the way,” your options are limited.
Let’s look at some of the most important things you can do around the house to stop storm damage:
1. Consider Adding Storm Shutters to Your Windows
In the wake of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, many aspects of Florida’s building codes were updated. Since then, Florida storm shutters have become some of the most reliable in the world. Storm shutters are a first line of defense in preventing wind and rain from infiltrating your home.
Not only does a storm shutter prevent damage from the actual weather conditions, but it will also stop the flying projectiles that can be loosened in the midst of a storm. Some shutters are rated to withstand a direct hit of 150 pounds or more at high speeds.
Shutters should not be designed to attach to the glass of your windows directly. Instead, they should fit over the glass with a gap of one inch or more. This gap is the “crumple zone” that helps to protect from impacts at high speed.
The shutter should be flush with the wall it protects. If there is a gap, it should be no more than a quarter of an inch. All legally compliant storm shutters in Florida undergo a number of “missile tests” at velocities between 50 and 130 miles per hour.
2. Carefully Prepare Your Yard and Exterior Areas
When a storm is coming, yard work may be the last thing on your mind – but it can make the difference in avoiding disaster. Even small objects can turn into lethal projectiles in a storm. That starts with lawn furniture and loose yard debris that may, over the course of a storm, crack and shatter your windows.
All outdoor furniture should be removed and safely stored before the outer bands of a storm arrive. If you do not have sufficient space in your home or a shed, it may be possible to sink some items in a pool or store them safely in your vehicle’s trunk. Avoid leaving anything loose.
One issue that needs to be handled in advance is tree branches. Tree branches that overhang your roof or stretch out anywhere near power lines should be pruned back – or, ideally, completely cut off.
3. In Low-Lying Areas, Have Sandbags to Prevent Flooding
Although we are far from the coast, parts of Winter Park, Panama City, St. Augustine, and Boca Raton are deemed to be at elevated risk for floods. Some homeowners in these areas are required to hold flood insurance. If slow-moving storms linger over an area, they can dump many inches of rain.
Common sandbags can be purchased at any building supply store and can range anywhere from five to thirty pounds. Sandbags help divert water and prevent it from penetrating exposed doors and structure foundations. Using sandbags is surprisingly easy, but it can be a real workout!
Use your sandbags to barricade entryways in low-lying areas, including doors and garages. Be sure to leave a small area for rainwater to escape as it flows off your roof, out of your gutters, and down to areas of lower elevation. If water is completely trapped, it can seep into the foot of your building.
Conventional sandbags are not your only option. Purpose-made flood barriers can also be purchased at home and garden stores. When “pre-activated” by spraying with water from your garden hose, they will hold up to 13 gallons of water on average. They are also far easier to stack than conventional sandbags!
4. Unplug Electronics Before the Rain Falls
No matter whether you are evacuating or staying put, be sure to unplug all of your electronic devices before the weather turns. It is also a wise idea to elevate electronics, just in case water manages to enter the building. Empty out all surge protectors and store them on a high shelf in a closet.
Electrical service may cut out several times during any storm. Even when your electricity supply seems sound, there is the possibility of dangerous surges. You can’t always tell when a surge is going on, but it can dramatically shorten the lifespan of sensitive electronics such as computers and even TVs.
Prepare for longer-term outages with supplies including a crank-operated radio, candles, and plenty of water. If it fits your budget, a generator will help you run basics like the refrigerator for a short time.
5. Get Your Roof Inspected Before Hurricane Season Starts
Clean your gutters before storms to prevent water from collecting and damaging your foundation. And always get your annual roof inspection at least one month before hurricane season starts. This gives you time to prevent future leaks with proper roof maintenance!
Sheegog Contracting Can Help You Repair Storm Damage in Florida
Despite your best efforts, you might still end up with storm damage in Florida.
If that happens, time is of the essence!
Many homeowners don’t realize this until it is too late, but insurers often require you to take steps to prevent damage from getting worse. That not only means placing buckets under leaks. It also takes the form of putting a waterproof tarp over any area of the roof you know to be damaged.
This will also help you in the long run, as it will divert some water from entering the home and make it easier for you to clean up indoors. Standing water can easily result in dangerous mold, and uncontrolled indoor water damage may be very expensive to remediate.
Once you’ve done what you can, it’s time to call in the professionals.
Contact us at Sheegog Contracting today for storm damage repair you can count on.