Every summer seems to bring a tropical storm bigger and badder than anything the world has ever seen — and for people on the East Coast, that means their property is under severe threat for a significant portion of the year. If you own a home in a hurricane zone, you should protect your investment with enough insurance, so when the big one hits, you’ll have a way to get back on your feet.
If this is your first year living in a hurricane zone, you might not know what kind of damage to expect. While not every home on the coast is wrecked every year, it is still wise to understand how this extreme weather could affect your property — and how you can recover from it, fast. This guide will help you prepare your home (and your mind) for the types of damage associated with hurricanes and tropical storms, so your repairs will be swift and effective.
After a storm hits in any part of the country, homeowners should inspect their roofs for signs of damage. Roofs in hurricane-prone regions are most likely to require the following repairs post-storm:
Missing, damaged or loose shingles. High winds alone can pull off asphalt shingles, especially when those winds are sustained for long periods during a hurricane. However, high winds can also blow about debris, like tree branches and signposts, which will also tear shingles off your roof. Shingles help guide precipitation away from your home, so they are absolutely necessary. If you need to repair much of your roof at once, you might choose to replace it with a corrugated steel roof or else swap the asphalt with clay tiles or cedar shake.
Clogged gutters and downspouts. Hurricanes often stir up debris, pushing it onto roofs where it will fall into gutters. Unfortunately, gutters are not designed to channel twigs, leaves and branches away from your home, so this gunk can cause clogs that cause water to pool against your roof. The very edge of your roof is a bad place for water; it can easily seep in and cause damage to your insulation and walls. ASAP, clean out your gutters and install mesh guards, which keep the debris out.
Your siding wasn’t built to withstand a sustained onslaught of debris and strong winds, so it is imperative that you search out signs of damage before and after a hurricane hits. The siding on your home can suffer from the same type of damage as your roof, but because homeowners often neglect to check their siding, you might not know what to look for. Here are some signs your siding needs repair or replacement:
- Splits, cracks, chips and holes. These are perhaps the most obvious signs of damage, and they shouldn’t be ignored.
- Exposed nails. These will corrode in the humid air near the coast, which in turn will cause your siding to fall apart.
- Uneven seams. Caulk insulates your home between the seams of your siding, but caulk can shrink and crack over time. If the seams look uneven, something is wrong with your siding.
- Rot or mold. Moldy siding is a sign that moisture has gotten inside your walls, which is a major issue.
While wood siding is a popular choice, most types of wood don’t do well in warm, humid, salty environments (like hurricane territory). Thus, you should opt for a fiber cement siding, also called Hardie board, which is waterproof, fireproof and capable of withstanding severe wind and rain.
When debris is whipped about by winds upwards of 74 miles per hour, you best believe that debris flying through the air can crash through any window. In fact, winds that intense can break weaker windows through its own sheer force. Worst of all, a broken window during a tropical storm of any severity is sure to lead to water damage, which in coastal cities in the south will quickly result in mold. Thus, if you live in a warm, high-humidity, hurricane-threatened city like Miami, window replacement should be among your top priorities.
In truth, any glass can shatter given a significant enough impact, but impact windows are specially designed to resist the types of impacts that occur during wind events, like tropical storms and hurricanes. The glass in these windows is laminated, so it doesn’t shatter when hit. You should also prepare for the season by installing hurricane shutters, ideally from aluminum which is strong and lightweight, making them easy to use.
Hurricanes will cause damage to your property, but the extent of that damage depends on how well you installed safeguards to the most vulnerable parts of your home. When you make repairs after a hurricane hits, try to invest in the best quality solutions, so next hurricane season, you won’t have to fix quite as much stuff.