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Storm Season is Here: Is Your Home as Prepared as Possible?

Floridians know all about storm damage – and they understand what it means to take it seriously.

If you’ve been living in Florida for many years, you’ve seen your share of major storms come and go. On the flip side, you’ve probably been in a tropical depression or a Category 1 hurricane and thought, “This isn’t too bad.”

It’s true, you can get used to hurricane season. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take action to get your home ready. The right steps today mean you’ll have much less to worry about when storm damage is a real possibility. Even a “little” storm is no time to run out for groceries!

Let’s take a look at the best ways to make sure your home is ready for hurricane season:

1. If In Doubt, Start with a Home Inspection

If you’ve recently moved into a new property and you don’t have all the facts on your home’s maintenance, it’s a wise idea to get a complete home inspection. Some parts of your home may already be secure, while others are older than you might think and require additional attention to prevent storm damage.

2. Inspect the Roof

Even if a whole house inspection isn’t necessary, you should get a professional roof inspection in Central Florida every year. A roof inspection is an opportunity for a trained expert to spot small problems before they become serious. This can be the difference between a dry storm season and a lot of roof leaks.

3. Secure the Roof

After a roof inspection, you may need roof repairs. Roof repairs done as part of an annual maintenance plan are usually light, consisting of replacement for any damaged shingles. This can also be a good opportunity to add a set of hurricane straps, improving the security of the connection between your roof and the rest of the home.

4. Consider Roof Repair or Replacement

Hurricane season isn’t just about rain – wind is also a factor. Unfortunately, some of the best wind mitigation in the world can only be installed when the roof is being replaced. This is one of many reasons why replacing the roof may be a sound investment, even if it could stand up to another year or two.

With roof replacement, you no longer need to worry that your insurance company will revoke your policy due to the age of your roof. Your roof will be much stronger and contribute more to the well-being of the whole house. Some roofs even have special performance qualities that can add value in unique ways.

While most Central Florida homeowners go with the trusted stand-by of shingle roofing, there are more options to consider. Residential metal roofing resists the elements extremely well, is much less likely to leak, and helps a homeowner reduce heating and cooling costs by making the entire structure more energy efficient.

With an experienced Central Florida roofing contractor, roof replacement can get done much faster than you might think. Still, it helps when you get your roof work done as soon as possible in hurricane season. After all, you can’t get your roof replaced when it’s already raining!

5. Check Windows and Doors

Following Hurricane Andrew, Florida adopted some of the most extraordinary building codes in the nation. In many ways, it is still ahead of the rest of the country. But windows, doors, and especially skylights can still be weak points in your defense against storm damage. Hurricane-resistant windows or storm shutters are a must.

6. Seal Any Gaps

Storm-force wind can enter your home through the smallest gaps. Check every room in your home from top to bottom for issues like warped windows and cracks that may need to be weather sealed. Places where cables or pipes enter the home are especially prone to storm damage.

7. Trim Back Trees and Shrubs

Uncontrolled trees and shrubs are a source of headaches when storms are on their way. Trees that have become unbalanced or are affected by rot are at greatest risk. However, shrubs can also be troublesome, especially if they are light enough to be uprooted and thrown by the wind.

If you have a larger property, consider professional lawn maintenance that will give you peace of mind and get all yard debris out of the way. After the front and back yards are taken care of, remove any outdoor furniture before a storm arrives. Consider moving items from any outdoor sheds to an indoor location.

8. Secure Loose Objects

Even items that are secured in some fashion, like a bike on a chain, can turn dangerous in the wind or driving rain. Pay particular attention to loose stones and other landscaping elements. Pavers that have been installed by a pro are usually safe but investigate closely to make sure they are firmly positioned.

Outbuildings and dog houses that might normally be weatherproof won’t always stand up to a big storm. Small and moveable structures like a doghouse should be brought into the garage or deeper into the house if at all possible. Important items should be removed from outbuildings to avoid water damage.

9. Clean Your Gutters

Your gutters are extremely valuable when it comes to protecting your home. It’s not only a roof that’s affected. The gutter supports appropriate drainage of rainwater from the roof, which means it can’t get stuck, add extra weight to the structure, and lead to leaks. But that’s really only the beginning.

The gutter is the unsung hero when it comes to safeguarding your home’s foundation, the only other part that’s quite as important as the roof. When the gutters are clean, water drains away from the foot of the building, which keeps it from inundating the foundation concrete and causing cracks.

10. Examine Your Drainage

Drainage is crucial for Florida homes, so it pays to take extra care. In addition to cleaning your gutter, always verify the proper grading of the land around your home is in place. The land should drop one inch for every foot within the first 5-10 feet of the home. Otherwise, there’s a significant risk of pooling that may ruin the foundation.

11. Check Your Garage Doors

Florida garage doors are usually built to withstand whatever nature can throw at them, but time passes and problems can arise. Even the best garage door should be reinforced with sandbags to prevent it from being blown in. Once a door is blown in, wind and water damage to the home’s interior can be very widespread.

12. Review Your Insurance

Remember that wind, rain, and flooding are all often treated as separate pieces of an insurance policy in Florida. Understand what’s covered and what’s not before you need to think about making a claim. Also, scrutinize your documents for any steps you’re required to take after a storm. For example, you are often expected to put up a waterproof tarp as soon as possible to limit further damage once you notice a roof leak.

Contact Sheegog Contracting for all the help you need preparing your roof for storm season.

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