If you are living near the coast in the United States, then you know better than anyone else that hurricane season can do a number on your home. Hurricanes are some of the strongest weather systems on the planet and in the United States they can affect states from Maine all the way to Texas. Hurricanes can drop large amounts of rain in a short amount of time, cause major flooding and bring storm surges right to the shorelines. Most of the time, the high winds are noticeable days before the hurricane hits and then they are amplified once the storm is closer to land. High winds can tear down trees; throw yard decorations miles away and even over turn cars in some cases. For those that live in places where hurricanes are common, preparing for one is commonplace. It is never too early to prepare for a hurricane.
If you have moved into an area that is affected by hurricanes on a regular basis, there are some things that you should learn about your home before it is too late. Find out if your home meets the building codes for high wind areas. Find out if your home at least meets the minimum requirements for high winds as they are in place to ensure that your home will survive that type of violent storm system. If you find that your home beats the requirements, you are sitting in a good position according to the International Code Council. Most of the work that is needed to prepare for hurricane season can be done by the homeowner, as long as they are good with basic tools. A building contractor might have to be contacted if your home’s structure does not meet the code and requires work that only a licensed engineer has to complete.
If you are replacing an old roof and want to make sure that it is ready for hurricane season, there are a few things that you can do differently with hopes of keeping it in one place during high winds. Things like gluing the sheathing to the trusses and rafters are very important and will give your home extra strength. Make sure to use an adhesive that is made for this type of application. Most of them can be found at our local home improvement store. Keep in mind that should install new shingles that are rated for high winds as well. Some are made to deflect the high winds, while others are made so that wind cannot get underneath them and tear them away from your roof. Interlocking shingles are a new design that allow for extra strength and should be able to hold up in many hurricane situations.
If you have a gable type roof, make sure that the end of wall of the gable is braced according to code. While replacing your roof, make sure to attach the roof to the walls with metal straps and clips, often times called “hurricane clips”. These types of clips add strength to the overall structure and allow the whole house to work against the high winds. Unless you are building a new home, most of these tips are not going to be easy to check on. Replacing a roof on an existing home is the easiest way to double check these things and make sure that you are not going to be looking for parts of your home after the hurricane has passed. Hopefully when you are home was built; the walls were secured to the foundation per the building code, as that will give additional strength to the structure.
Your home could be one that had a new roof installed many years ago and that should be cause for concern before each hurricane season. If you are not planning to put an entirely new roof on your home, there are still some things that you can do to prepare it for the high winds that are commonly experienced during a hurricane. The roof takes the brunt of the hurricane force, so the first thing you are going to want to do is an inspection. Winds have been recorded as high as 155MPH and that speed can exert a force that can rip shingles, tiles and any underlayment right from your roof. Get up on your roof, if possible, for the inspection. If you are not able to, you can check the roof condition from the ground with binoculars. Keep an eye open for curled, loose or missing roof materials, whether it is shingles, tiles, shakes or rubber roofing.
Take a close look at how the edges of your roof look as well. Check the spacing of nails that hold the roof material in place to make sure they were used at the right frequency. Nails that are used should be about 4 inches apart and no matter what, staples should never be used for a project like this. Checking the inside of your roof is just as important. If you have access to the attic of your home, get up there and check for any areas where light might be getting through the roof. These will be your first priority to fix once you find out the reason the light is getting through. Gaps can let wind and water inside the home leading to more damage after the storm is finished.
Many people that live in places that are affected by hurricanes have extra insurance just for that reason. Even if you think having hurricane insurance is a must, there are ways that you can save money on it. Most insurers will take a look at anything that a homeowner has done to minimize wind and storm damage and offer a discount at that point. Going through this list is a good start to making sure your home is prepared for hurricane season and many of these tips can be done without having to pay a professional to complete them.