During a hurricane, your home could face damages or be destroyed by extreme winds and storm surges. Debris may break your windows and doors, allowing high winds inside your home. High winds can cause weak places in your home to fail if not properly protected.
The best time to prepare your home is now, before a hurricane threatens. The National Hurricane Center’s “Against the Wind” brochure suggests that four areas in your home should be evaluated for weaknesses – the roof, windows, doors, and if you have one, garage door. You should also be aware of the history of your home, how to properly maintain it, and know how to strengthen it.
Evaluate the History of Your Home
Think back to when your house was built. Was it 10, 20, maybe 30-years ago? It’s safe to say that if your home was built over 10-years ago, perhaps you should consider evaluating whether it meets the current building codes for a hurricane. Houses built after the new building codes have more requirements for hurricane clips that tie the roof to the wall and hold down connectors that tie the wall to the foundation, also known as “continuous load path connection.” With the new building codes today, houses are generally much stronger than those built before this requirement.
Maintaining Your Home
Maintenance is always important, especially when it comes to one of your most important investments. If you’re not already doing so, it is recommended that you paint the exterior of your home every five years. The paint protects the wood and prevents rotting, which can weaken the structure.
Be cautious of termites as they can also weaken wood-framed homes. If the wood in your home is rotten or has severe termite damage, it’s likely impossible to strengthen your house for a hurricane.
How to Strengthen Your Home
Roof, Walls and Foundation
Once again, if you’re living in a house built over a decade ago you should check whether you have proper hurricane clips and hold down connectors installed on your roof, walls, and foundation. The continuous load path connection provides a connection between your roof and your home’s foundation to keep your roof from blowing off during a hurricane.
If you don’t have hurricane clips installed, visit any HPM location for Simpson hurricane clips to better protect your roof and your home! You may need to call a professional to assist with installation. Be sure to check out our Better Builder Directory for licensed and reputable contractors!
Windows and Doors
The “Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Natural Hazards” suggests to protect the envelope of your house from wind and rain.
Do not use tape, taping does not prevent windows from breaking!
There are storm shutters available to protect your windows. However, stocking up on plywood will do the job too. Make sure to be prepared and have plywood readily available at your home before a storm appears!
Two-car garage doors can also pose a threat during a hurricane because they tremble as high winds blow and pull out their tracks. If your garage doors fail, high winds will enter your home through the garage and blow out doors, windows, walls, and even your roof!
Most garage doors today are constructed to withstand high winds. However, you can strengthen older garage doors by purchasing retrofit kits. Retrofitting your garage door would involve installing horizontal bracing onto each panel. You could also use heavier hinges and stronger center supports and end supports for your door.
Our HPM packaged homes built with garages include Clopay Garage Doors supplied by GAB’s Garage & Entry Doors. These doors can withstand 90-110 mile per hour winds. Or, if you would like to be extra cautious, you can upgrade your garage door to withstand over 110 mile per hour winds!
Other things you can do to better prepare your home for a hurricane include:
- Collecting lightweight objects around your home such as garbage cans, potted plants, outdoor furniture, garden tools, building supplies, etc., and bring them indoors
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts
- Trim trees and shrubbery
- Secure pets, farm animals and livestock
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to maximum cold and keep it closed
- Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities; turn off propane tanks
- Unplug small appliances
- Fill bathtubs and large containers with water in case water is unavailable
There are many resources available to learn more about preparing for hurricanes. Check out the links below:
At HPM we offer many supplies to help you better prepare for any natural disaster. Don’t wait until the last minute to stock up on plywood! Visit us today and be better prepared for tomorrow!
Sources: “Against the Wind” – FEMA, “Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Natural Disasters” – Dennis J.Hwang & Darrn K. Okimoto