10 Tips to Stop Hurricane Damage

Hurricane Damage

High winds can be a danger to your home any time of year, but they’re a particular worry in many regions of the U.S. during the hurricane season that stretches from June to November. It isn’t just the high-speed force of the winds themselves, but also the debris they carry with them that can create a chain reaction of structural damage.

If you live in a hurricane-prone zone, here are ten hurricane protection tips to help you stay safe and prevent hurricane damage.

Measuring windows for hurricane shutters

1. Secure Windows

If you live along the coast, homemade plywood or professionally built shutters are a must when storms are imminent.  Buy ½ inch plywood stamped CDX and cut sheets to fit the outside of each window.  Pre-drill 1/8th inch holes every 12 inches and secure to windows with screws.  To minimize cosmetic damage, mark where each shutter goes.  Next time, you’ll be able to use the same screw holes and have fewer repairs to fix after the storm passes.

2. Install Hurricane Tie Downs

Roofs often go first in severe storms. Simple metal tie-down straps can keep roof rafters tied to the top wall of the house and prevents uplift during a hurricane’s high winds. Straps can also secure walls to floors and keep floors tied tight to foundations.  While this improvement takes some specialized skills, it’s simple and inexpensive to accomplish, even without professional help.

3. Brace or Reinforce Garage Doors

safety at home, garage door, how to install decorative garage door, Hurricane Damage

More homes are “blown up” in hurricanes than “blown down.” The reason? Weak garage doors blow into the house during a storm. When this happens, wind pressure fills the house with air and causes severe damage.  For better protection, invest in a sturdy garage door or brace the one you have.  For a quick reinforcement, secure two 2×4’s across the inside of the door by attaching them to the side jambs of the garage door opening in the exterior wall.

4. Flood Proof Basements

wet basement

Basements and crawlspaces flood when the volume of water in the soil builds to the point where walls can no longer hold it back.  To avoid this, act now to remove obstructions from gutters, extend downspouts and eliminate low lying areas of soil, which allow water to run back into foundations.  By keeping water away from the foundation, flooding can be minimized or avoided completely.  To be extra cautious, be sure to remove important personal property from all below grade spaces in your home and check sump pump operation by filling the sump with a garden hose. The pump should come on before the sump overflows.

5. Trim Trees

Survey your yard for weak tree branches that lie within crashing distance of your home and trim these away before the hurricane.  Also, you can avoid uprooting of larger trees by strategically removing branches to allow high winds to flow through.

6. Pick Up Projectiles:

Rosemary homemade tick repellent

Every item left outside your home during a hurricane can become a dangerous projectile when fueled by high winds.  Remove all outside furniture, garbage cans, toys, flowerpots or any other piece of personal property you can move.

7. Avoid Losing Power

electrical power, Hurricane Damage

Power outages are one of the primary hurricane damages.  Prepare now for when the lights go out by buying a portable or whole house generator and, for portables, enough fuel to run it for several days. Update and improve your homes electrical system to prevent damage from lightning strikes or other electrical surges or spikes.

8. Inventory and Document House Contents

An accurate inventory of your home’s contents is a critical first step to getting back on your feet after a hurricane.  An easy way to do this is to videotape each room of your home, making sure to open every drawer and closet.

9. Store Records Safely

It’s important to store the inventory and other financial and legal documents safely so the records can’t be destroyed in the very disaster you’re trying to prepare for. If possible, keep important records off-site in a safe deposit box, or at least in a fire-proof box.

10. Purchase Flood Insurance

Hurricane Damage

According to the American Red Cross, even a Category 4 storm can trigger storm surges 13 – 18 feet above normal, making flooding a real risk.  Unfortunately, though, protection for flood damage is not covered by homeowners insurance policies.  Therefore, the best way to protect your home in a hurricane and prevent the financial sting of  hurricane damage is to purchase flood insurance.  Flood insurance is available through a government backed Flood Insurance Program, but it’s not cheap, has a 30 day waiting period and minimal coverage.  Anything you can do now to minimize potential damage to your property before the storm hits is the best investment you can make.

9 thoughts on “10 Tips to Stop Hurricane Damage

  1. Who knows when a severe storm will hit? And, we could be miles away from our house. My preference would be to install impact-resistant windows and patio doors that NEVER need to be boarded up. I’ve looked into the Simonton StormBreaker Plus product line and they get rave reviews … plus J.D. Power and Associates studies just ranked them highest in window and patio door categories with builders and remodelers, along with consumers. That’s good enough for me!

  2. The really old houses on the Gulf Coast had open space under the structure that allowed water to run past the house and not build up against a wall, smashing the side of the house. This also reduced termite exposure, too.

  3. I moved back to NY from Fla. I haven’t seen any of those metal window protectors, or anyone use them here on Long Island. They work but look strange. You can do the tie downs yourself, and probably should. One thing in Fla we noticed was if you have one of those real tile roofs the weight definetely holds down the roof, AND GETTING RID OF THE TREES AROUND YOUR HOUSES TOO. Didn’t ever notice near the shore there aren’t big trees!! Same in Fla, they are large only in secured places. Insurances are very costly, here or there. Have a good summer!

  4. A more aesthetically pleasing, and energy-efficient alternative to boarding and shuttering homes is to look into installing impact-resistant windows and doors! Their durability starts with double-strength glass that

  5. Firstly, to reduce deaths that occur from hurricane-related reasons, citizens in areas that are hit by hurricanes on a yearly basis should have a clear evacuation process in order that has been clearly stated to the citizens. For example, there should be concise, planned evacuation routes that have food, water, and access to medical care. Shelter destinations should be well known by the people and should be in an easily accessible area. They should also have strong, hurricane proof infrastructure– for example, the buildings should be made out of a strong material,and should be able to sustain heavy rain and strong winds. Also, the shelter should be built on a higher level so that it will not be affected by high storm surges. In general, a lot of damage associated with hurricanes could be avoided if proper planning was placed in order.
    However, to avoid damage that is caused to buildings, there are some precautions that may be taken. For instance, the installation of durable, secure storm shutters to windows and deadbolt locks for doors could greatly reduce the impact that hurricanes have on homes. Trees should also be trimmed so that the possibility of them falling over and damaging property is lessened.

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