How to Prepare Your Home
There are some specific actions you should take to make your home safer. To make some of these improvements, you will have to climb in the attic or crawl space with a flashlight. You may feel more comfortable with an experienced and licensed inspector, architect, engineer or contractor inspecting your home. Whatever choice you make, take time to do this well before the storm threatens.
To withstand the forces of wind associated with severe weather, remember your ABC’s:
Anchor your roof
Brace entry and garage doors
Cover your windows
ANCHOR YOUR ROOF
If your roof was built before 1994 and is gabled, brace all gableend framing with horizontal and vertical beams. Also, make sure that there is wood sheathing (planks or plywood) behind the stucco of the triangular gable-end walls.
Using a caulking gun, apply a 1/4 inch bead of APA AFG-01 certified wood adhesive along an intersection of the roof deck and roof support element (rafter or truss chord) on both sides of the beam. This technique can increase the wind uplift resistance by up to three times, but should not be used if you are going to re-roof in the near future.
BRACE YOUR ENTRY AND GARAGE DOORS
Entry doors are easily damaged by high winds. Bolt all doors with foot and head bolts with a minimum one-inch bolt throw length. Garage doors should be able to withstand hurricane wind loads and the impacts of flying debris. If yours does not, replace with a hurricane resistant one. Approximately 80 percent of residential hurricane wind damage starts with wind entry through garage doors.
COVER YOUR WINDOWS
Protecting your windows is perhaps one of the most important factors in securing your home or office from total destruction in a hurricane or severe storm.
Make sure all doors and windows are properly caulked and/or weather stripped. Replace gravel/rock landscaping material with fire treated, shredded bark to reduce damage. Cover all windows and glass doors with securely fastened, impact-resistant shutters or other approved window protection systems with proper mounting fixtures or replace them with impact resistant laminated window and door systems, if feasible. Hint: You don’t have to use the same system on every window.
AFTER A HURRICANE
Don’t dump debris in storm drains.
Make temporary repairs to protect your home from further damage. Cover any holes with plywood and use heavy plastic on broken windows.
If you can’t make repairs yourself, check contractor’s references with your insurance agent, Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau.
If you rebuild, get an estimate first. Discuss payment terms and keep any receipts. You need enough insurance to cover current construction costs and you may be required to meet new building standards. Your insurance company may be able to provide assistance for these additional costs.
If you can’t live in your home after a hurricane, you may be entitled to additional assistance for hotel bills, meals and other living expenses. This coverage is NOT available if damage is caused by flooding or storm surge.