With one of the more active hurricane seasons we have seen in a while, it is important to ensure you and your home are prepared in the event one of the storms decides to make its way closer to the Florida shores. For most Florida natives, hurricane preparedness occurs either year-round for some or last minute for others.
While you can’t hurricane proof your home 100%, there are things you can do to reduce damage to your home. As home inspectors, we provide unique preparedness tips to help keep your home safe during a storm. Ideally, we recommend starting in late spring or early summer to get these items off your to do list but now is better than never! Not sure where to start? Request an annual maintenance inspection and we will help identify key areas of your home where improvements can be made for hurricane safety.
Start Outside. Trim trees back away from your roof, windows, fencing, and from where you typically park your car. Falling limbs can do a lot of damage to a home and can become projectiles.
Reinforce Your Garage Door/Carport. Garage doors and carports may seem secure, but hurricane level winds can really put them to the test. To reduce damage to your garage door, have it reinforced with horizontal beams or have a vertical brace installed. As for carports, ensure the posts are secure in the ground and that the roof is well-braced. If the wind catches it right, it can easily be torn away.
Inspect the Porch and Deck. After checking on the above, make sure these types of structures are also secure and sound. A loose railing can be torn away in a storm and cause damage to the structure and poses as a projectile risk.
Seal Outside Holes. Inspect where cables and piping may be entering your home and make sure they are well sealed. The rain from hurricanes “falls” in many directions, sometimes even coming down sideways—making it easier for water intrusion to occur in these areas.
Have Your Roof Inspected. If you aren’t sure how old your roof is or what its current condition is, it may be best to get a roof inspection to see whether the roof will make it through another big storm or if you are better off getting it replaced before hurricanes start making landfall.
Invest In Window Covers. Plywood works great in a pinch if you get the right thickness, but as a Floridian, looking into hurricane shutters can be a good investment—buy once and use every year to protect against high winds and potential flying objects. At a minimum, check the seals around doors and windows to make sure there is no room for leaks in the event of a lot of rain.
Return Outside. Outdoor furniture, potted plants, outdoor kids’ toys, and other items like your grill should be moved to a secure location (like inside your garage) when a storm is approaching. This will help prevent them from getting tossed around in high winds and becoming damaged or causing damage.
Review Your Home Insurance. Checking your policy and making changes a few months out from the start of Hurricane Season can reduce headaches after the storm hits and not enough coverage. If your home owner’s insurance needs an inspection prior to updating your policy, we can help with several types of insurance inspections.
Conducting hurricane preparedness in advance can help keep your home and your family safe when the worst of the hurricane season hits. Be sure to properly document your belongings, have your evacuation bag on standby, unplug your appliances, be well stocked on important supplies, and be ready to evacuate or “hunker down” when the time calls. Taking extra measures and precautions early will help maximize a more positive outcome. a