Preparing Your Home for Hurricane Season
With hurricane season starting soon, it’s important to make sure your home is secure enough to withstand the storms.
Here are a few tips that you can take to prepare your home for the hurricane season that officially starts May 1.
Most shingles aren’t necessarily designed to withstand hurricane-force winds. They are more designed to withstand and dispel water. Sometimes, the adhesive on the shingles doesn’t stick correctly. If a qualified inspector agrees that your shingles’ adhesive is not sticking properly, use a quick-setting asphalt cement to fix them.
Apply a quarter-sized spot of cement under each shingle and press it into the shingle below it. Be careful not to bend the shingle too far when applying the cement.
If you notice dark patches on your roof, this can be a sign of moisture and will be a weak spot. Take measures to repair the area.
Secure Roof to Top of Wall
Often, the roof is connected to your house by nails that have been placed at an angle (toenailing). If this is the case, you’ll need more security than that.
You can use hurricane straps to connect the roof trusses to the top of your wall. The National Hurricane Center recommends:
To install hurricane straps and clips, remove the roof sheathing around the perimeter of the roof to reveal the top of the wall. You may also need to remove the soffit and exterior cladding to reveal the top 12 to 18 inches of the wall. In addition, if the exterior cladding is brick veneer, you may need to remove small sections of brick as needed.
If your roof has trusses, make sure you tie them to the wall by either anchoring to the top plate and then the top plate to the wall stud, or strapping the truss directly to the wall stud. (Read the NHC article.)
Many homes in hurricane zones may already be fitted with shutters. However, you’ll want to make sure that you shutters are impact-resistant. Many people also have laminated window system, which is plastic that has been bonded to glass.
Many times, people will place temporary plywood shutters over their windows. However, many homeowners return to find that these plywood shutters have blown away because they weren’t fastened well enough.
The American Plywood Association has some free hurricane shutter designs that are more dependable. You can download them at APA’s website.
If you decide to purchase manufactured shutters, determine how much bend each shutter has. By gently leaning on the shutter you can determine if the shutter will place stress on your window when the winds starts blowing. Ensure that all shutters are properly installed and that missing connections are replaced.
Homes will have single or double entry doors. Most solid wood or hollow metal doors can withstand hurricane conditions. However, if you believe your door will put you at risk, the NHC recommends that you place these precautions are in place:
- Install head and foot bolts on the inactive door of double-entry doors.
- Make sure your doors have at least three hinges and a deadbolt security lock which has a minimum one inch bolt throw length.
- Since double entry doors fail when their surface bolts break at the header trim or threshold, check the connections at both places. Be sure the surface bolt extends into the door header and through the threshold into the subfloor. (Read the NHC article.)
A gabled roof is a typical A-frame roof that has an exposed end. This side of your home can take quite the beating during a hurricane. It’s important to ensure that your gable end wall is secure and won’t collapse due to wind pressure.
To secure gable end walls secure eight-foot long braces connecting the roof section the wall. Use 16d nails to secure the braces.
Make sure that all heater and water vents are well attached and not loose. If they are, take measures to secure them to your home.
The garage door is very susceptible to hurricane winds due to its size.
You can obtain a garage door bracing kit at many hardware stores. You can also use horizontal and vertical braces on each panel. Use wood or or metal braces that connect into the metal supports.
Lastly, be sure that your yard is well kept in case of a hurricane. Many times dead tree branches become weak during a storm and end up causing damage to your home. This is the same with shrubbery and ornaments in your yard. Be sure to put unnecessary items away when you know a storm is approaching.
Also, be sure that water flows away from your home. When it begins to rain, the flood waters will need to flow down and away from your home.
What do you usually do to prepare your home for hurricane season? Tell us below and share the wisdom!
The Homeowner’s Hurricane Handbook