Florida weather patterns are anything but predictable – and no one ever “plans for” storm damage in the sense of planning to suffer from it. But you can “plan for” storm damage in the sense of taking steps to prevent it or at least minimize its impact if and when it does finally strike.
Of course, you should also think about protecting yourself and your family with an action plan to use during and after a storm, by installing a storm shelter, and by stocking up on imperishable food, emergency medical supplies, a short wave radio, and more. But here, we will focus on how to protect your building from the effects of a major storm.
Here are 10 key proactive steps you can take to prevent or minimize the impact of a hurricane, tornado, or other severe storms.
1. Get An Annual Roof Inspection!
Your roof is likely going to take more of a beating during a major weather event than any other part of your home. Thus, preparing your building, first of all, means preparing your roof!
The first step to getting your roof ready for a storm is having a professional roof inspection done. After all, if you don’t know what condition it is in, you can’t even begin to think about making any needful repairs or upgrades.
And be sure to waste no time in getting repairs done, if necessary, because the longer you wait the worse they will get – and a storm could strike at any time.
2. Consider Replacing Old Roofing
If your roofing is showing its age, it may not be a good idea to let it go through the next major weather event.
Replacing old roofing before it becomes a major worry during a storm – and before it starts leaking and needing other repair work done too frequently, is a wise move.
New roofing will do a much better job of shielding your home’s interior from heavy rainfall and of staying in its proper place despite aggressive winds. Just make sure you choose high-quality roofing material (with a high wind rating) and have the installation done by a reliable, local contractor.
3. Strengthen Your Roof Structure
Not just the shingles but the very structural integrity of a roof too is important when a storm hits.
It is a good idea in Florida to have hurricane clips installed. These are steel connectors that attach the top-plate more securely to trusses/rafters. A mere toe-nail may not be enough to keep the “lid on” the building in a hurricane or tornado, but “clipping it down” greatly decreases the odds that strong winds will detach the roof from the building below.
4. Install Stronger Doors
Entryways must be protected by impact-resistant doors, doors strong enough to take a hit from a wind-borne object and still keep on doing their job. Look for solidly built, thick, well-insulated doors. Steel is best but solid wood can work too.
Also, remember that garage doors often are damaged in storms. A window-free garage door no more than nine feet wide and that can withstand at least 50 pounds of pressure per square foot is best.
5. Be Ready With Hurricane Shutters
Installing strong windows is a start, but also be ready to put in hurricane shutters when a named storm is heading your way soon. Broken windows, shattered glass, and a wind tunnel blowing through your home can often be avoided by their use.
Many people think that they should open doors and windows when a tornado or hurricane comes to “equalize pressure.” But that doesn’t work. It just lets the wind in and the wind-carried debris with it. All building openings should be protected.
6. Invest in Surge Protectors
Another source of storm damage is when power surges destroy expensive electronics or even start a fire that could destroy your entire home.
In a split second, hundreds of thousands of volts of electricity can whip through your grid – this can kill your appliances. Unplugging everything before a storm is one solution, but it’s much easier to use a surge protector – and it doesn’t cost much either.
7. Reduce Potential “Wind Ammo”
Before the storm arrives, be sure to clean up the yard so as to remove objects that could become “ammunition” in the “hands of the raging wind.”
Pick up those toys that have been lying in the yard for weeks, remove lawn furniture, put potted plants into the garage temporarily, and remove all unnecessary clutter or debris.
Also, be sure to have dead trees removed and any branches overhanging your building trimmed back.
8. Prepare for Flooding
When storms come, floods come too. If your house is at a high elevation, it might not be an issue. Otherwise, placing sandbags around entryways can create an effective barricade and keep the floodwaters out.
It is generally recommended that all entrances to the building be surrounded by a two-feet-high sandbag “trench” that snugs up against the building’s wall on each end.
9. Get Your Home Insured
If you don’t already have homeowner’s insurance, you should get it fast. It can protect you from having to foot the entire bill in the aftermath of a major storm. Most forms of storm damage are covered in standard policies.
Be sure to make a home inventory list so you know your home’s contents and the replacement value of each item covered by your home insurance policy. Pictures of the property help too, and you will want to give a copy of the list to your insurer for their records.
10. Add Foundation Ties
Finally, you may want to have foundation ties installed to keep the building from potentially being ripped off its foundation in a hurricane or tornado.
There are special cables and locking devices that can tie the wood down tight to the cement while exerting a constant downward pressure. For smaller, lighter homes especially, this is a wise move.
To learn more about how to prepare for and how to avoid storm damage, talk to the experts at Sheegog Contracting today! If your home has already suffered from storm damage, we can assist you with roof repairs, re-roofing jobs, and reconstruction projects.