If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes or tropical storms, you should know that it’s vital to have some sort of storm preparedness plan in place in the event of a storm.
Being part of a storm watch group or getting notifications from relevant authorities, for instance from weather notification services and government warnings can be part of critical planning for such events.
Being part of such information services is just part of the challenge.
There is a whole lot more you need to do to make sure your home can withstand a storm.
What to do to prepare for a hurricane?
There are quite a few things you can do to get your home ready for the first event and then improve your preparation for future storms.
We’ve got a list of steps you can take for the immediate event and then steps you can take to prepare for future storms.
What you’ll see in the tips/steps below are short term steps, which are things you can do right now and long term/future steps, which are things you can do to prepare for future storms.
Benefits of Preparation
There are many benefits of being prepared for a storm, because even the smallest crack or opening can allow wind and rain in to cause a lot of damage in your home.
Hurricanes are powerful forces of nature and can easily wreak havoc to the exterior of your home.
We’ll take it area by area in and around your home, from your backyard to your front door.
Whether you’ve been given a few days’ notice, or planning to do some home improvement over the next couple of years, we’ve got this covered.
Keep reading the 30 tips to prepare your home for a storm, so that you know what to do right now, and in the future to ensure you and your home are as ready as ever to weather any storm.
Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are two of the most vulnerable entry points to your home. That’s why it’s imperative that they are the first items on your to do list to secure in the event of a storm.
Immediate Action Item (Short-term upgrades)
1. Close and latch windows
In a panic state, this might not seem so obvious. Windows are a clear point of vulnerability because they are the only things that stand between you and the outside world.
If your windows are unprotected in a fierce wind, the chances of it breaking are very high, especially in gale force winds when there are so many flying projectiles in the fierce winds.
With this in mind, it’s important for you to consider installing or upgrading to hurricane resistant windows. We say this because they will prevent any wind seepage that may cause damage to your home.
2. Check and reseal all windows and doors (if necessary)
In drier climates, the need to inspect and replace seals is less likely. In areas where you’re prone to lots of rain and humidity, together with frequent strong winds, it’s important to inspect and replace window and door seals.
Obviously broken seals can lead to wind seepage, which may result in wind pushing water into your home. Consistent increase and decrease of wind pressure against these seals will often lead to them failing far quicker if not replaced.
To check, inspect the caulk around door-frames and in the sealant around the glazing in your window panes.
If you find that your windows need a little more than resealing, you can always opt for more protection by upgrading to storm resistant windows.
3. Install Shutters on all the Windows
If you know a powerful storm is approaching your home, installing shutters on the outside of your windows is a good idea.
Ensure that you can get shutters that are resistant to flying debris at a speed of 100mph at a minimum.
Just remember, hurricane force winds push and pull the whole time ie, the air pressure builds and subsides rapidly.
Attaching shutters directly to your window frame could result in the frame and window panes being damaged. Install shutters outside of the windows, onto the brick wall around the opening of the windows instead.
You can do it yourself or get a contractor to do a professional installation for you. Just remember, if you’re going to use contractors, the costs will be significantly higher because labor charges are included.
4. Install heavy-duty door locks/bolts
If your doors are a little flimsy, you might want to consider adding a bolt to the top and bottom to reinforce them against increased air pressure from a hurricane. You could easily do this chore in a morning.
Just head out to your local hardware store and grab a couple of bolt kits. They’re easily installed in a few minutes for each door.
Just remember you’re reinforcing your doors because the slightest weakness will be tested by the brutal gusts of wind during a storm. Should a door fail to hold, the savage winds will destroy your home from inside out.
It just takes a small crack or opening.
Future Action (Long-term upgrades)
5. Install impact-resistant Doors and Windows
Impact-resistant doors and windows will help strengthen the most vulnerable areas of your home.
These customized doors and windows should be able to withstand wind gusts up to 200 mph (As well as any projectiles hurled).
How will they benefit you? Highly reduced chances of damage to your home and an even greater reduction in the possibility of a cleanup.
All of the preparation work necessary to prepare for the possibility of a hurricane can seem a little overwhelming.
The best thing you can do is work section by section. Create a task list and then break the task list up into sections.
Tackle 2-3 tasks a weekend. If you have help, then delegate tasks to spread the workload, which also helps move the preparation along faster.
The roof is one part of your home that is often damaged in strong storms, so it’s one of the more important tasks that should be close to the top of your priority list.
It’s one part of your home that’s most exposed to the elements, so you need to inspect it often and make the necessary repairs as and when you find them.
In the event of violent winds, a roof can sometimes be blown right off. So it’s imperative you work on your roof and make sure it’s as watertight and properly secured to your home as possible.
Immediate Action Item (Short-term activity)
6. Inspect all shingles, tiles, sheeting and seams
Just like you did for your windows and doors, inspect each and every part of your roof.
Start by inspecting indoors.
Head up into the attic, if you don’t have an attic, then you need to climb into the ceiling with a flashlight to go and inspect the rafters and beams.
Make sure there aren’t any signs of water damage and check for rotten patches. If you do find any rotted wood, you need to take action to replace it immediately.
Rotten wood in a roof truss or beam could seriously weaken your overall home structure, so pay attention and act swiftly to prevent major damage. It would be best to have a professional install the replacement/s.
Once your interior roof inspection is complete, it’s time to get onto the roof.
Check every single tile, shingle and seam. (Remember, it just takes the smallest weakness to let wind push water in)
Make sure everything is securely fastened to your roof. If you have galvanized sheeting, make sure the bolts are secure.
If any of the shingles are peeling or lifting, it’s important to replace them now.
If you have clay roof tiles, check that they aren’t cracked and that any seams are properly sealed to prevent water being pushed into the home.
7. Inspect roof bracing
While inspecting your roof, inspect the gable ends and ensure there’s enough bracing.
As we said earlier, if you need any party of your roof replaced, get a professional to do it, that way, you can be sure you’ll be covered by insurance should something go wrong.
8. Repair shingles or tiles
Earlier on, we inspected the roof tiles and shingles, now, it’s time to get some work done. If you find any tiles or shingles peeling off or loose, it’s time to replace or re-secure them.
Look out for:
Bald spots on your roof
If you see most of these symptoms and you spot leaks, you might want to consider getting your entire roof replaced.
It’s best to get qualified professionals to do this. Costs can vary depending on the type of roof you have.
9. Check for or install straps
Is your roof properly secured to the rest of your home? You would probably be very surprised to hear that most homes aren’t fitted with roof straps.
A roof strap connects and holds your roof in place in the event of strong winds. You cannot rely on gravity to hold your roof in place. A strong gust of wind could easily send it flying.
This is something you can do yourself and it won’t cost a lot. Head down to your local hardware store and ask them to point you in the right direction.
Future Action (Long-term upgrades)
10. Install an impact-resistant roof
The roof is a protective barrier to all the possessions you have in your home. It’s the one part of your home that is most likely to be damaged in storm.
If you didn’t already know, there are impact-resistant shingles available. They’re designed to withstand wind and hail damage.
These types of shingles are manufactured using either a blend of copper, aluminum, resin, and plastic, or they can be made solely from one material or another.
They might cost a little more than traditional shingles, but, because they’re impact resistant may end up lowering your homeowners’ insurance premium.