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What Every Central Florida Homeowner Needs To Know About Storm Damage

Storm damage is a major issue here in the Sunshine State, with hurricanes possible every year.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from the beginning of June until the last day of November. Although the weather does cool down along the way, it’s important to remember that severe storms can develop up until the very end. Florida has even seen some named storms in December!

2021 is shaping up to be a more active and intense hurricane season than 2020.

If you’ve lived in Florida for any length of time, however, you know the drill.

It’s essential to prepare in advance for hurricane season, have all your supplies at the ready, and be sure you know your evacuation routes. Life-long Floridians generally have the process memorized inside and out. If you are newer to these sunny shores, you might be surprised by how quickly you adapt to it all.

With the right preparation, you can protect yourself and your property from harsh weather.

But there is always the possibility of a wind or rainstorm that leaves you with major storm damage.

Central Florida Homeowners Are At An Advantage When It Comes To Storm Damage

In Seminole County and the surrounding counties, we often find ourselves in a corridor of relatively low storm damage. While it’s impossible to avoid the outer bands of a large storm, it is very rare that we get a direct hit. Passing over land on the way to us weakens storms as they approach, too.

This is true of many landlocked counties, including Orange, Highlands, and others.

It has been many years since homeowners in our area had to reckon with the worst. But it’s still a wise idea to take every hurricane season seriously. On the whole, hotter temperatures are lasting longer. That creates the potential for larger storm fronts, even though that potential isn’t always realized.

Non-coastal homes don’t have to contend with storm surge or the possibility of weathering thanks to salt-filled sea air, which can even weaken concrete. But you could still be in a relatively low-lying area, making it much more likely you will see some storm damage. Your roof is especially vulnerable.

How To Reduce The Odds Of Storm Damage Before A Front Arrives

There’s an old mariner saying: “You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.”

That rings true during the Atlantic hurricane season.

We know it’s coming every year – the most helpful thing we can do is get ready.

Preparation can start weeks before the season officially kicks off. But when a named storm actually forms out in the Atlantic, Floridians go into high gear. You know it’s only a matter of time before critical supplies run out at your local grocery store, hardware store, and more. Time is of the essence.

Let’s look at some of the best ways to protect your roof and the rest of your home from storm damage:

1. Make Sure Your Lawn Is Tidy

It can be tough to keep your lawn nice and green during the Central Florida hot season. The more landscaping you’ve been doing, the more crucial it is to be sure your lawn is tidy before rain or wind. Bushes can become uprooted and lawn debris may turn into dangerous projectiles that can damage your roof.

Move potted plants indoors and safely dispose of any yard waste. Shut down irrigation and turn off water at the main. If you have any fruiting plants, pick fruit that’s nearly ripe, as it will likely be destroyed otherwise. Large hedges can be used as an anchoring point for other items. Make good use of your garage, if you have one.

2. Prune Back Any Overhanging Trees Around The House

In hurricane-force winds, even a spindly branch can turn into a fast-moving missile. This is just the kind of thing that can rip shingles off a roof. In more severe cases, of course, branches may threaten power lines. The weight of branches influences which direction a tree is likely to fall in if it becomes uprooted.

With all that in mind, it’s vital to prune troublesome branches while you have the chance. It’s never fun to lose the shade of a tree, but it’s much worse to end up with thousands of dollars in damage to your home. A healthy tree can always grow back, while one that’s severely damaged needs to be cut and removed by professionals.

3. Clear Out Your Gutters Before The Rain Starts

Your gutters have a valuable role to play during any rainstorm. They enable the rainwater to run off your roof and drain safely away from your home’s footprint. The thin, silty soil in many parts of Florida can’t absorb much water, and a full gutter means much of the runoff will drain right into the foot of your building.

It’s best to clean out your gutters completely just before storm season starts and then give them a maintenance check after every weather event. Clean gutters can also help you track storm damage to your roof: For shingle roofs, noticeable granule run-off into your gutter is a sign that your shingles have weakened.

4. Remove Any Outdoor Furnishings

It might seem obvious, but it can be overlooked very easily in the frenzy to prepare for a storm: Bring in any lawn furniture and the grill. The best place to put anything is safely indoors away from the windows, including your garage – but be sure you leave enough room for vehicles. Some items can be packed into the trunk.

Remember that if you have any propane tanks, you should not store them in the house or garage. If you have large outdoor items such as trampolines that can’t fit safely inside, tie them down. Be aware that you should not use your attic for storage, as reduced ventilation can leave your roof more prone to damage.

5. Park Your Car Safely

As with your windows, the biggest threat to any vehicle is airborne projectiles thrown by storm-force winds. The risk is the same no matter whether you have a car, truck, van, or SUV. Your best bet will always be to park in a garage or another enclosed and covered structure.

If rains last for a very long time, cars parked in low-lying areas can suffer from a flooded undercarriage that may damage the hydraulic system that operates your brakes. Elevated parking spots are generally better to prevent these issues. Rain-proof car covers can add an extra layer of resistance.

6. Prepare Your Windows And Doors

Sandbags are an absolute must-have for protecting a Central Florida home when the weather goes bad. Sandbags can be placed along outside doors and openings to reinforce them. Sandbags are too heavy to be overturned by the wind but they can be easily stepped over. Just be sure not to block your way out!

The standards for preparing your windows for storms have changed a great deal over the years. While it was once popular to use plywood over windows, there are many storm shutters and other options on the market. Still, high-quality plywood applied correctly is a great deal better than nothing, as windows are a weak point.

7. Weatherize Your “Florida Room”

The “Florida room” or sunroom can be one of the best things about living in the Sunshine State. It’s great fun to sit out in this screened-in patio and enjoy a jug of iced tea. Unfortunately, the screen of a Florida room or similar enclosure can act like a sail by trapping wind, especially when the screen material is wet.

If you are sure a storm will be hitting you, you can improve airflow in your Florida room by puncturing the screen. Use a utility knife to carve an X in the screen panels on two facing sides of the enclosure. This takes the pressure off the structure, but it does mean all objects should be removed before the storm arrives.

8. Prepare Your Pool

It was once common to advise Floridians to “sink” their lawn furniture in the pool before a storm. Be wary, though, as some pools are not designed for this and you may end up with a damaged finish or even a leak. Turn off any pool electrical equipment, such as the pool motor, at the breaker to cut the chances of an accident.

Do not drain your pool completely before a storm – this can leave it vulnerable to damage. If you expect heavy rain, draining to just above the bottom of the skimmer is fine. If your pool cover has safety straps, it may be suitable to leave in place during a storm. Consult the documentation from your pool’s manufacturer.

9. Don’t Go Outside Until Weather Clears

As a storm passes, it’s commonplace to want to go outside right away and look for storm damage. Resist this urge and check up on the ceiling inside your home, instead. If leaks develop, it is usually very easy to spot them. If not, you might be lucky enough to have no storm damage this time around!

Central Florida homes will very rarely be in the eye of a well-developed hurricane. However, remember that there can be a significant delay between the arrival of the outer bands of a storm. Rain may stop and wind may be relatively calm for up to half an hour. Keep an eye on the weather report for safety information.

Assessing Storm Damage In Central Florida After Rain Or Wind

Storm damage in Central Florida most often comes in the form of lost or damaged shingles.

Any place where shingles have been weakened signals that a leak could start any time. Getting shingles replaced as quickly as possible will ensure that your home is ready for the next time rain rolls in. Without a fix, the roof’s waterproof underlayment can get saturated.

Once the underlayment is worn out, it’s a matter of time before the structural elements of the roof are in danger of water damage. That turns your Central Florida roof repair into a much bigger project – potentially a full roof replacement. So, it is a good idea to assess the damage as soon as it is safe to do so.

We recommend that you avoid climbing up on the roof whenever possible. It only takes a few seconds to harm the roof by moving the wrong way or even wearing the wrong shoes. Plus, it may still be slippery on the roof even though the skies have cleared. That leaves you at risk of a serious accident.

Luckily, you can do a visual assessment of storm damage from ground level.

Look for any of the following signs:

  • Cracked shingles
  • Warped or peeling shingles
  • Missing shingles
  • Bruised shingles – look for a dark, softened dent
  • Loss of reflective granules, which may be on the ground or in the gutter

If you have Central Florida metal roofing, it may be much harder to notice signs of roof damage. Metal roofs are highly resistant to wind and rain. On top of that, even a direct strike from a small object will probably leave only superficial damage. However, fasteners can sometimes become loose and need to be replaced.

Even if you don’t notice any signs of storm damage, double-check your attic if it is safe to do so. If you see light coming through or smell a damp, musty odor, it means there is a leak that should be remedied before you end up with severe water damage. Call a Central Florida roofer you trust as soon as you can.

Look Out For Central Florida Roofing Scams After Storms Strike

If you suspect storm damage, don’t delay in calling a Central Florida roofer.

Local roofers in Casselberry and beyond are very busy after any storm. The sooner you call, the faster you can get on the schedule. It could save you money and make it much more likely that your insurance will be able to cover a substantial portion of your roof repairs.

Many homeowners don’t realize that their insurance requires them to take steps to ensure that roof damage doesn’t get any worse between the storm and the roofer’s arrival. In most cases, you meet this requirement by putting a rain-proof tarp up on the roof as soon as possible.

Your local roofer can remove or replace the tarp during an initial check on the roof.

Central Florida roofing scams are very common in storm season. Don’t trust anyone who goes door to door claiming that they are a roofer. They may offer you a discount for paying in cash or tell you that you can get an all-new roof for just the cost of your insurance deductible. This is a form of insurance fraud!

If you pay someone in cash, you can bet you will never see that money again.

No matter how urgent your project is, always choose a legitimate Central Florida roofer.

Get Help With Storm Damage From A Top Central Florida Roofer

Sheegog Contracting is a family-owned business that has been proud to serve our friends and neighbors here in Central Florida since 2014. We are accredited by the Better Business Bureau and offer the best customer care in the industry. We are also top-rated by HomeAdvisor and a GAF Certified Master Elite Roofing Contractor.

Wondering what it all means? Not only do we have a record of excellence, but we also work closely with the leading roofing product manufacturers. We understand how to get the most value and the longest life out of today’s best roofing products. And our industry ties mean we can pass big savings on to you.

When you need storm damage repair in Central Florida, don’t settle for less than the best.

Transparency is our watchword. Our unique Central Florida roofing process means no surprises. You will always have the information you need to make an informed decision and will never be pushed one way or the other.

To find out more or get started, contact the team at Sheegog Contracting today.

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