Keelan Tollinger | author
Part of any hurricane preparedness plan is strengthening your home. There are things that you can do before a hurricane hits to make your home stronger and more able to withstand the winds and water.
Many of these things are simple to do. They can save you time and expense when your home is in the path of a storm.
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Home
1. Declutter drains and gutters
Drains and gutters move water away from the home. They prevent water from accumulating where it can enter the home and cause damage. Excess water accumulation can also damage the exterior of the home, landscaping, and foundation. When drains and gutters are kept in good repair, they help water drain from the home in a way that protects it.
Make sure gutters are cleaned at least twice a year. Remove any leaves, branches, and other debris that have accumulated. Fix any leaky spots or joints that may have become unattached.
Water may not flow and drain out of the downspouts as you expect. It may overflow from a place where there is a clog or leak from a place where there is a crack in the gutter. When it rains, you can watch for the signs of clogged gutters. In addition, you may notice wear and tear on the gutters, growing moss, and muddy and eroded spots where water is dripping on the ground.
Freeing obstructions and reinforcing the structure can keep your home prepared to handle the hurricane, minimizing your chances of flooding and other structural damage to the home.
2. Consider adding a hurricane shelter
Hurricane shelters are designed to withstand the strength of a hurricane and the devastating tornadoes that often follow. A shelter is a small, self-contained structure that you can add to your property. The family can take shelter during the storm, expecting protection for several days. Consider installing a hurricane shelter to strengthen your home for a hurricane.
Shelters come in a variety of styles and models. They vary in size. Many can accommodate the entire family and pets.
A hurricane shelter may allow you to shelter both during and after the storm. If you need a place to stay in the days following the storm, it may allow you to avoid community housing and keep you close to your home while you make repairs.
With any protective measures, it’s important to know what your hurricane shelter can and cannot do. Always follow emergency evacuation orders given by local authorities. Ensure it is installed properly, and understand that many shelters are not watertight, offering no protection against flooding.
3. Is your home up to code?
As you prepare your home for a hurricane, one thing to consider is whether your home is up to code. Identifying code violations can give you insights on ways to improve your home to withstand a hurricane’s force.
For example, doors and windows should be impact-resistant in high-risk areas. If yours aren’t, it may be time for an upgrade. Roof straps may secure the roof and connect it to the home’s foundation to withstand strong winds. Additional supports like pilings, columns, and shear walls may be appropriate.
Looking at whether your home is up to code can help you secure it to the foundation. The increase is resistance to wind and debris and prevents moisture from entering the structure during the storm.
4. Windows and roofs
As you strengthen your home in advance of a hurricane, pay particular attention to the windows and roofs. Begin by inspecting the seals on windows to ensure that air and water can’t leak around the edges. These seals weaken over time, especially when exposed to hot and cold temperatures.
Once you’ve reinforced the seals on your windows, make sure your windows are closed before the storm begins. Remove projectiles around the home that may damage your windows, like outdoor furniture and weak trees. Consider adding storm shutters or applying plywood to protect windows.
The best way to strengthen your roof is to keep it in good repair. Inspect it regularly. Repair any loose shingles or other faulty materials. Look for other signs of aging and take corrective measures.
5. Fix any existing damage if possible
The best way to strengthen your home is before the hurricane strikes. Look at the structure of the home itself and the things surrounding it, like furniture and trees. Examine your roof, windows, doors, basement, foundation, and outside structures. Taking care of repairs and preventative measures ahead of the storm can prevent damage and save on repairs.
Strengthening your home before a hurricane
The measures you take before a hurricane can strengthen your home to withstand damage. A few upgrades and timely repairs are important in minimizing risks and protecting your home.