Tips to reduce storm damage to your home
Natural disasters are never pleasant to think about, but foresight can reduce damage. Here are some tips to prepare your home for high-wind events:
Make sure your home meets current building code for high winds. Regulations vary by state and city. "Get an engineering inspection to tell you how well your home is put together," says Wendy Rose, spokeswoman with the Institute for Business & Home Safety.
Reinforce your home's weakest points. This includes garage doors, which are often the first component to fail, and windows, which are most vulnerable to flying objects. On your roof, simply using ring shank nails rather than regular nails will double the roof's uplift strength without adding to the cost, Rose says. Roof straps, which bind the roof to the house's frame, add even more strength. "They'll prevent wind from catching the underside of the roof," says Kevin Morgan, owner of Morgan Exteriors, a highly-rated Florida company specializing in hurricane protection.
Make sure your property itself doesn't pose a hazard. Dead wood and weak branches can break off and become missiles in high winds, so keep trees trimmed. Consider using landscaping materials other than gravel and rock.
However you prepare your home, make sure you do it well in advance. "The time to do this is now, not when disaster is imminent," Rose says. For more information, check out ready.gov or disastersafety.org.
Sources: National Hurricane Center, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Institute for Business & Home Safety