How to Protect Your Home From Storms
Prepare areas of your home that are vulnerable to wind, hail, heavy rain, flooding and other elements caused by severe weather.
Severe storms can happen throughout the year in areas all around the country. Whether it’s a hurricane, tornado, hailstorm, or another form of extreme weather, your home could experience significant water damage, flooding or destruction both inside and out. While you can’t control the weather, there are measures you can take to help minimize the potential damage storms could cause to your home. Some preparations, such as roof and tree inspections, are helpful not only when it comes to storms, but are also good for general maintenance and upkeep. If you do experience significant damage and need help with storm cleanup, a restoration contractor can help repair your home, from water removal to rebuilding a wall that a tree knocked down.
Interior Areas of a Home
There are a number of places in a home that are more susceptible to storm damage than others, such as the roof, windows and doors (including garage doors). Once you identify these areas, you can take measures to help protect and reinforce them, which will most likely reduce the damage and make the storm cleanup process easier. Consider hiring a professional to inspect these specific parts of your home, which will ensure that they are stable and in good shape, and most importantly can withstand the elements of most storms. While taking these precautions doesn’t guarantee your home and yard won’t endure some storm and water damage, they can certainly help minimalize the degree of damage.
Protecting your home’s openings is one of the most important steps you can take to defend against strong winds and heavy rain that can potentially compromise these entryways. Check doors for missing screws/bolts or loose hinges. Keep your windows intact with upgrades such as shutters, high-impact glass, and double-paned models to protect against storms. As an added bonus, these improvements can also reduce your energy costs because they’re environmentally friendly and help insulate your home.
Taping windows with masking or duct tape is more or less ineffective; however, applying a durable clear plastic film can help prevent glass shards from blowing into your home, in the event the window is broken by strong winds. If you have advance notice of a major storm system that’s approaching your area and you have time to take precautions, boarding up your doors and windows with plywood is an inexpensive and effective way to protect your home. In addition to plywood, panels are available in aluminum, steel, plastic and composite materials.
Consider pre-installing anchors around doors and windows to speed up the installation process, if you know your area experiences frequent storms and extreme weather. Installing a permanent shutter system—such as roll-up or accordion shutters—is an effective way to shield your windows from wind and debris. Plus, you can close them quickly before a storm arrives. There are even models for skylights, sliding glass doors and garage doors.
Have your roof inspected by a professional to identify any problem areas or leaks that could lead to water damage in the event of a storm. You can reinforce your roof by having it retrofitted with certain types of brackets, bracing, clips or straps that can help make it stronger. Make your roof more wind-resistant by securing any loose shingles with a heavy-duty adhesive; if you have a roof made with tiles, fasten them with screws and wires instead of nails.
If you’re in the market for a brand new roof, consider purchasing an impact-resistant material that will stand up to extreme weather, reduce storm water runoff, and require fewer repairs than other types of roofs that are easily affected by hail, wind and water damage.
Exterior Areas of a Home
Your yard and patio may be more vulnerable to storm damage and require extra storm cleanup if it’s the hardest hit part of your property. Before a strong storm system that produces high gusting winds—like a hurricane or tornado—comes through your area, follow these steps to help protect the outside of your home. Keep in mind that cars, recreational vehicles, and bikes are also kept outside the home, and therefore susceptible to storm damage and flooding, so be sure to put them in a covered area, if possible.
Store any outdoor items that aren’t secured in a covered area, such as a shed or garage, to prevent them from being knocked over, damaged or even picked up by forceful winds. This includes patio furniture, gardening tools/items, sporting equipment and anything else that could be damaged by a storm.
Keep trees that are near your home trimmed to avoid large branches from damaging your house during a storm. Powerful winds and dense rain or hail can cause weak branches to snap and fall on cars, powerlines or homes. Make sure to remove any debris or loose vegetation well before a storm hits so that it’s not a potential danger if left in your yard. A certified arborist or tree removal service can perform a thorough assessment and cut down and clear away any unnecessary or potentially hazardous trees.
Your yard is also prone to flooding and other damage brought on by storms, but with the right types of trees and plants, you may not have to deal with as much storm cleanup outside. Landscaping windbreaks or “windscreens” are elements such as trees, shrubs and plants that can serve as a buffer for your home against strong winds, by planting them in strategic places around your house. These natural elements—and a well-landscaped yard—can also help protect against flooding because plant roots will form spaces in the soil, which helps with the flow of water over the ground. If water is being absorbed into the soil, it won’t pool around your yard or seep into the areas near a home’s foundation or basement.
Hiring a Restoration Contractor
If your home is affected by a major storm, an emergency restoration contractor can help you with the storm cleanup, including flooding and water damage. Initially, they will conduct a full inspection of your property, assess the damage and determine what services you need for proper storm cleanup. Then, the water mitigation and drying services they provide will help prevent any further water damage. Once those services have been performed, you may need to hire another type of restoration contractor to help reconstruct and rebuild flooring, walls, electrical work and other systems in your home. Contact your insurance company to report the damage and for advice on next steps in the cleanup process, and then call a restoration contractor for the specific type of work you need completed (tree removal, water damage, flooding, roof repair, etc.).
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.