8 Tips for Hurricane Home Preparedness

· Reading Time: 7 minutes

Guest post by Cristina Miguelez

 

Depending on the area you live in, hurricanes can be a real and serious problem that homeowners need to address in order to keep their homes and properties as safe as possible. While it can feel impossible to completely hurricane proof your home, it is possible to take steps to help prevent significant damage, reducing problems and associated costs. These eight steps will help you be prepared for the next big storm that blows your way.

 

  1. Inspect Your Roof

Your roof does more than simply top your home; it also helps to protect it from things like water damage during a hurricane. Making sure that it’s in good condition now will ensure that it can provide the maximum amount of protection later.

 

What to Look for and Fix

Hurricane Home Preparedness Roofing

A quick scan of your roof and the underside of your roof deck in the attic can alert you to all kinds of problems that are easily addressed before they become big. Take a look for any of the following, which can be seen from the ground or inside your home:

 

  • Water stains on the roof deck
  • Mold, mildew, or wood rot in the attic
  • Missing, broken, or cracked shingles
  • Missing or cracked flashing
  • Moss on your roof

 

Any of these signs can indicate a need for roof repair. A roof in good condition will hold up much better to a hurricane than a roof that is already weak or leaking.

 

Cost

The average cost of roof repair is around $630, and can save you a potential roof replacement and associated interior damage in the event of a hurricane.

 

  1. Caulk Windows and Doors

Windows, doors, and other penetrations in your home’s exterior are all potential sources for water to enter. And moisture getting into your home has a way of turning into a bigger problem, such as mold, mildew, softening plaster, damage to flooring, and wood rot.

 

What to Look for and Fix

Take a look at your windows and doors from the outside. There should be a thick bead of caulk around the frame where it meets the siding. If this is missing, repair it by using an exterior-rated silicone based caulk and filling in the gaps.

 

Cost

The cost of a tube of caulk and caulk gun will range between $3 and $30, and you can easily tackle this job DIY at any time of year.

 

  1. Keep Your Yard Clean

An overgrown yard is an invitation for damage during the high winds of a hurricane. Dead tree limbs, overgrown shrubs, and other debris can be thrown into your home, potentially damaging windows, siding, and fencing.

 

What to Look for and Fix

Hurricane Home Preparedness Trees

Take a look around your yard, and keep an eye out for things such as:

 

  • Dead or dying tree limbs
  • Tree limbs that are growing too close to power lines
  • Shrubs or bushes that have grown beyond their normal size or scope
  • Fallen branches or logs

 

Have a landscaper come in and trim back your trees and shrubs as needed, and keep your yard free of debris that could become airborne in the event of a hurricane.

 

Cost

The cost of yard cleanup and the trimming of overgrown or dying bushes and tree limbs ranges from between $200 to $300 depending on the amount of work to be done.

 

  1. Clean Your Gutters/Inspect Drains

Hurricane Home Preparedness Gutters

Hurricanes don’t just bring high winds with them when they arrive; they also bring heavy rainfall as well. All that rain needs to go somewhere, preferably away from your roof and your home before it has a chance to infiltrate your roof. Keeping your gutters and drains in good working order means water won’t back up beneath your shingles, potentially causing leaks.

 

What to Look for and Fix

Take a look inside your gutters and make sure they’re clear of leaves, pine needles, and other debris. Make sure the drains are clear and running free, and that there is no rust, holes, or other damage to the drainage system. Your gutters should direct the water away from your foundation at their end as well.

 

Cost

If your gutters are clogged or in need of repair, your costs will typically be around $100 to $140 to get them back in good working order.

 

  1. Reinforce or Install a New Garage Door

How old is your garage door, and what kind of condition is it in? If it’s older, it’s likely not rated to withstand the hurricane force winds and potential debris that goes along with them. Replacing your garage door will help to ensure that this area of your home can remain protected.

 

What to Look for and Fix

Check the rating of your current door. If necessary, have it reinforced or replace it with a model designed to withstand hurricanes.

 

Cost

A new garage door costs between $500 and $800 to have installed, and can go a long way toward ensuring the safety of your belongings.

 

  1. Protect Attached Structures

Often, homes located in hurricane-prone areas often have a lot of outdoor living areas attached to their homes, such as canopies, decks, lanais, and porches. These areas all need to be secured or otherwise protected to help minimize potential damage.

 

What to Look for and Fix

Inspect the condition of any outdoor structures attached to your home, including:

 

  • Carports
  • Canopies
  • Decks
  • Lanias
  • Porches
  • Sheds

 

Look for weak or damaged areas that may need repair, and consider consulting a structural engineer to let you know if they need additional support to withstand a storm.

 

Cost

The average cost of repairing or supporting these structures is around $60 to $80 per hour to hire a handyman for each area you need to secure.

 

  1. Have a Portable Backup Generator

Hurricanes are well known for knocking out the power to the areas they hit, potentially for long stretches of time. Having a generator can ensure that you are able to keep your food cool, your phones charged, and sensitive or necessary equipment running. This is especially important for those that have medical equipment that needs to be kept running, and in homes with young children or the elderly.

 

Hurricane Home Preparedness GeneratorWhat to Look for and Fix

If you live in a hurricane prone area, you should have a portable backup generator and fuel on hand. Keep the fuel stored separately, outside your home if possible, and turn it on periodically to make sure it fires up when you need it.

 

Cost

The average cost of a portable backup generator is around $1,200 to $2,000, depending on the size of the unit you need to power your home.

 

  1. Install Hurricane Shutters

Hurricane force winds and the debris they can bring with them can shatter the glass on the windows in your home. That’s why hurricane shutters can help protect your home from both the glass and the water infiltration that will follow.

 

What to Look for and Fix

If possible have professionally installed hurricane shutters put on your home, and pull them closed when the next hurricane is forecast to be approaching you. If this isn’t possible, however, consider simply having some plywood cut to size, and nailing it up over your windows. While not the most attractive look, plywood can and will protect your home in the event of a hurricane.

 

Cost

The average cost of this fix is between $15 and $25 per shutter installed.

 

Protect Your Home

When hurricane season approaches, take the time to review these eight points and to make sure your home is protected to help minimize damage. Take the time as well to review your homeowner’s insurance policy to determine what further steps you could take, what damage will be covered, and what your next steps should be after the hurricane ends. Stay safe during this troubling time of year, and protect your home from the elements.

 

Cristina is Content Manager at Fixr.com, a website that connects consumers with service professionals in their area and estimates the cost for remodeling projects. She writes about home improvement tips and tricks to help homeowners learn more about improving their properties.

 

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2 Responses

  • Good info. I have a suggestion for slight changes I would like to see in you 72 hour emergency food kits. Powdered milk in larger packets, potato flakes or powder, ramen type noodles, instant rice because if you do not have stove, these last three reconstitute in room temperature water. I like the cream of wheat choices, and the powdered fruit drink mixes. Powdered instant cocoa might be a good item too. Powdered wheat-barley-chlorella mixes fast and is great nutrition. A few psd veggies too.

    • Great feedback! We’ll be sure to keep these suggestions in mind for future iterations of our 72 hour emergency food kits.

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