Guest port by David Cruz
August and September are peak months for hurricane season, and for those who live on the coast, it’s important to prepare your home for high winds and downpours. Hurricane winds can reach up to 150 miles per hour, in extreme cases, and can last up to two weeks over open waters, according to FEMA.
Luckily, there are a number of ways you can prepare for summer storms by the coast. As you prepare for hurricane season, keep the following tips in mind to ensure your house is strong and safe:
Strengthen your entry points
Your windows and doors are vulnerable spots in your house’s structure, and if hurricane winds get in, the pressure will increase and that wind will look for another way out, causing more structural damage. To avoid damage from flying debris, high winds, and heavy rain, make sure you’ve taken extra measures to strengthen your entry points. You can install shatter-proof, wind-resistant impact glass, shutters, or more permanent hardware to protect your windows during storm season. You can also replace wood doors with fiberglass to withstand high winds.
Secure outdoor furniture and landscaping
Spending time outside on your patio is a summertime tradition. However, if you live by the coast, it’s important to stay informed about approaching storms and secure any loose items in your yard. Whether it’s furniture, loose branches, coconuts, or other tools and structures in your garden, make sure you’ve removed or put away anything that could be picked up in heavy hurricane winds and damage your house.
Clean your gutters and downspouts
Keeping your gutters clear of leaves and debris is important during any time of the year, but it’s particularly important during hurricane season. Consider installing gutter guards or having a professional clean your downspouts before a storm so the water doesn’t end up in your attic or seep into your house’s foundation.
Reinforce your roof
Hurricane winds can get up to 150 miles per hour in extreme cases, and those winds have the strength to tear buildings apart. Residential roofs in particular are prone to being uplifted by hurricanes, so it’s recommended that coastal homes are built with metal roofs that can withstand such high winds. Additionally, make sure your roof is securely attached with code-specified fastening systems. Mandated codes vary by region, so talk to a professional in your area if you have any questions.
Invest in a drainage system
All the water from a hurricane has to go somewhere, and it may end up in your house. It’s well worth investing in an advanced sump pump or drainage system to keep your basement or crawl space dry and damage-free. You can also invest in a backup generator for some extra peace of mind, to ensure your system won’t fail if the power goes out.
Don’t forget the garage
Most residential hurricane damage starts with wind entry through the garage. Much like your roof, your garage door is prone to being blown around by heavy winds if it’s not securely fastened. If your garage door caves in, hurricane winds can come in and blow your roof off and cause detrimental damage to your house. To avoid this, be sure you’ve installed a metal garage door that can withstand heavy winds, or that you’ve bolstered your existing door with reinforcement posts so it won’t give way.
It’s never too soon to start preparing your home for the next disaster. If you take a few extra steps to ensure your house is safe and secure, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you’ve prepared as much as you can for hurricane season.
David Cruz is a freelance home improvement writer and travel enthusiast from Austin, Texas. He graduated from the University of Memphis and is passionate about public health and safety. When he isn’t writing, he spends most of his time hiking, biking and discovering new places.