Hurricane season starts June 1st and ends on November 30th, every year. Consequently, every year homeowners wonder if it’s going to be a mild season or a wild one.
There’s no need to wait until a warning has been issued to prepare for the worst. With a bit of work and a relatively minimal investment, your home will be secure through this hurricane season and for years to come.
Take it from the top
When a hurricane is passing overhead, the wind creates a powerful vacuum force that sucks upward. If your shingles or roofing materials are not firmly secured, they peel off leaving sheathing exposed to the wind and torrential rains. In extreme cases, the sheathing rips loose, too. This exposes the interior of the home to the extreme elements of the storm and will compromise the dwelling’s structural integrity.
Securing your home from one of nature’s mightiest forces is possible. You can increase the safety of your home by investing a bit of time and well-spent money.
Bracing your roof is an option for gable roofs. From your attic, nail or screw a pair of 2x4s placed in an “x” shape to the underside of your roof. Begin at the peak of the gable and run it to the bottom center brace of the fourth truss. You should use 16d galvanized common nails or attach the boards with 3-inch-long wood screws with a ¼-inch-diameter shank. Extra reinforcement is the plan here. Attach a 1-inch galvanized-steel strap to each brace wherever it meets the roof member.
Add reinforcement to rafter framed roofs by running studs at a diagonal from the top of the roof to the bottom and meeting in the middle. You will be making an “A” shape on the underside of your roof. Anchor each end of the brace to rafters with long wood screws and galvanized-steel straps.
Hurricane straps, strips or clips
Hurricane straps, strips, or clips installed on a home enable it to better withstand the force of high winds. We recommend installing these types of reinforcements during the construction of your home. However, an experienced contractor can install them on an existing home, as well. Removing a section of roof sheathing or siding to gain access to the area that needs reinforcing will be necessary, but beefing up the structure is the result.
Glue is not the first thought that most of us might have when thinking of construction materials. However, running a half-inch bead of a construction adhesive along each rafter or truss at the point where it meets the plywood roof sheathing is a solid idea. According to This Old House contractor, Tom Silva, taking this simple precaution will triple your roof’s wind resistance properties. Yes, we said triple it!
Batten down the hatches
High winds cause airborne debris that will smash windows and blow through failed doors. When that happens, it sets off internal pressurization. This phenomenon occurs when high winds enter into the home and are looking for a place to escape. Drawn to a weak structural point in your home it forces it’s way out again. The result could leave your home left blown to smithereens.
We don’t want that to happen.
Impact resistant windows
Impact resistant windows do exist, and they can take a punch!
If flying debris causes a panel to crack, a layer of bonded plastic between the inside and outside panel of glass keep your window from shattering. Winds are held at bay, too. It reduces the internal pressurization fear factor to nil.
Whether you are building a home or installing replacement windows, your family will be safer without a doubt! All of our windows are created to be impact resistant. Two sheets of tempered glass are bonded to a sheet of high-tech polymer. This technique provides exceptional reinforcement.
Our impact resistant windows can take the force of a 2×4 traveling at 50 feet per second through hurricane-force winds. In the event that a window cracks, or even shatters, it is not coming apart.
Not only does this speak to your family being safer during the hurricane season, but it is also a huge deterrent to anyone trying to force their way into your home.
Sliding glass doors
We have the perfect climate for sliding glass doors here in Florida, don’t we? Most of the time, we want to let the sunshine in!
However, on the days when the storm clouds look ominous, you can rest assured that your family is safer during hurricane season when your doors contain impact resistant glass. Sliding glass doors created with impact resistance in mind from the start are worth considering!
Whether the sun is shining so brightly you still squint a little behind the shades or the storm clouds roll overhead, you will be confident your sliding glass doors are built to handle the weather. The high-tech polymer sheet we insert between the sheets of glass is sure to accomplish its mission.
Shutters and panels
You can wait and slap up the plywood as the storm is rolling toward the coastline. It is a proven method of defense during the hurricane season.
Conversely, investing in storm shutters provides a permanent level of security.
Removable panels made of aluminum, steel, or high-strength polycarbonate plastic are standard window covering materials. However, they can be challenging to put up and take down. The storage factor can also be an issue for homeowners.
PVC-coated polyester fabric panels don’t afford quite the level of protection as the others, but they meet the Florida Building Code standards. They are easy to handle and store. They also allow light to enter into the home which is a draw in their favor. Lots of times, hurricanes equal power outages.
The thin aluminum panels of a standard garage door are never going to hold up to the gale-force winds of a hurricane. An estimation that the garage door is the first thing to go in 90% of the homes destroyed by a hurricane isn’t out of the ballpark. Once the door buckles, the pressure can build up inside the house until it blows apart.
Replacing your garage and entry doors with storm-rated models is your best defense. Garage doors made with braced steel construction also sport beefier rollers, hinges, and tracks. Entry doors made from solid wood, fiberglass, or steel are the ideal choices.
You can also beef up your existing hardware, install vertical post reinforcements by drilling holes in the floor for posts to sit in and then secure them at the top of the door with pre-installed brackets. In addition, placing deadbolts at the top and bottom of entry doors is a considerable strengthening measure to consider, too.
Riding the storm out
Our home is our family’s first line of defense against the elements. The fact that they feel safe and secure at home is the utmost priority.
Wild or mild, with a little preparation, you will weather the storms of the hurricane season for many years to come.