12 Tips on Storm-Proofing Homes for New Owners



The weather in the US has reached a point where it’s completely unpredictable, and you never know when your area will get hit by heavy storms. Even if you have a home insurance cover, you must still prepare for the worst because who wants to start afresh after a storm?

Storm-proofing homes are essential whether you live in storm-prone areas or you have comprehensive homeowners insurance. When you buy a new home, you should never get comfortable before you can ensure it’s completely ready to handle all kinds of storms, including hurricanes and high winds.

This article outlines twelve tips you need to storm-proof your home and protect your loved ones from the deadly weather.

1. Start With the Garage

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes estimates that 80% of damages in homes from hurricanes and winds come through the garage doors. When the garage door fails, the hurricane will enter your house with full fury, rip the internal doors open, blow off your roof, and destroy the entire property.  

This means your home will not shelter you from the storm anymore if the garage door is down. The garage door is like a hole in your home that when open, anything can come in. You can’t wait for this to happen before you act; hence you must reinforce the system in the house or replace the existing one with a modern one.

Work with an expert to help you choose the highest quality and durable garage door which will manage to resist the high wind that may enter your home. Get the strongest possible garage door to minimize the risks and provide maximum protection.

2. Storm Proof Your Doors and Windows

Many doors and windows installation companies record having several calls from homeowners to do replacements or repairs after a hurricane. This simply means that the storm destroyed their homes. 

You don’t have to wait till this happens before you can think about installing hurricane windows and doors in your new home. Your doors are a reliable closure system of your home, but when they fail during a storm; your house will be severely damaged. 

You must ensure that the windows and doors are strong enough before you move into your new home. Ask an expert to do the inspection and ascertain whether they can withstand a storm.

Get a handyman to do some replacements, repair the locks and all the hinges for your doors and windows. Always ensure they’re strong enough and in good condition to offer maximum protection.

3. Clean and Secure the Gutters

Most leaks in homes happen through the gutters, and you can’t risk living in a new home without knowing their condition. Gutters are what are going to protect your home against leaks, but they won’t do this when they’re clogged with debris and dirt. 

Regular checking and maintenance are paramount even without a storm. Even when they’re in good condition, you must ensure they’re ready to handle the high winds. 

You do this by cleaning and clearing all the obstacles and debris that can prevent water from flowing freely. While doing this, you should also inspect loose gutters, secure properly, and protect them from being blown off by the high winds.

4. Storm Proof Your Roof

You don’t want your home to be counted among those that had their roofs blown off during a hurricane. You don’t even want to imagine the kind of harm that can befall your family in case the biggest shelter of your home is no longer there. 

Therefore, a roof is an essential part of your home that you cannot neglect when storm-proofing your home. Inspecting your roof is a must for any home. 

Ensure your roofing system is made up of strong metal because this is the strongest material that offers protection against winds of up to 140 miles per hour. Roofs made of aluminum, steel, zinc, copper, and tin are the most expensive but last up to 50 years protecting you from the highest winds.

You can also consider investing in architectural shingles proven to last up to 30 years. They provide maximum protection from winds of up to 130 miles per hour. You can also add reinforcements such as steel hurricane clips that improve the strength of the house and provide additional support for the roof.

5. Don’t Forget to Secure Your HVAC System

The HVAC system is very expensive, and the least you want is to get it destroyed by the storm. It’s no doubt that hurricanes can cost you thousands of dollars on your HVAC system. But you can reduce the damage and still ensure you receive the best quality indoor air.

One of the ways to ensure the safety of your system is to use protective cages and straps on the base and over the unit. This will ensure the system is not surrounded by debris or loose objects that can destroy it. Ensure you also get rid of brushes, foliage, and any loose items that can surround the object.

You can also seek the services of a professional to help secure the system and carry out any maintenance the system may need. You must also know that outages often occur during a storm, and you must prepare for those by ensuring maximum cooling. Consider having a backup generator on stand-by for the same.

6. Ensure the House Meets the Building and Design Codes

When you move into a new home, you might want to start doing some changes to meet your needs and preferences. This also means storm-proofing the house and ensuring it’s strong enough and capable of handling the weather. While doing all these, you must ensure you’re still within the residential building and design codes.

Make sure you update yourself with all the building codes governing home to build and structure your home. Check everything, including installing impact windows, securing roof shingles, and ensuring stronger tiles, walls, and roofs. Consider talking to a constructor as they’re always up to date with building codes.

7. Carry Out Necessary Structural Upgrades

If you’re moving into a new home, you must ensure your house is structurally built to withstand heavier than normal winds, snowfalls, and hurricanes. Some builders construct homes without a permit; hence they may not be in a position to survive the storms. Moving blindly into such houses puts your family at risk.

If you find out that the supports, stand-alone garages, and garden shades are not made strong enough to survive the storm, you should start working on the upgrade before the extreme weather catches up with you. You need to do all it takes to ensure all parts of your home can survive the season.

Don’t shy away from erecting new structures if that means protecting your family and your property. Even if it means redoing the foundation, you should ensure you do all it takes. Also, consider installing grounding rods to protect your home from lightning strikes that cause outages and damages to your electric devices.

8. Storm-Proofing Homes With a Water Barrier

Damage from storms does not only involve wind damage, but water damage can also catch you by surprise. But that won’t happen if you do everything in your power to ensure your home is protected with a water barrier. You can’t allow water or any kind of moisture to penetrate your home because this will result in mold growth.

A water barrier is a material placed on the roof deck just under the out cover. The barrier works as a second shield against leaks in case your roof fails. Stain or paint structures can also come in handy to protect your home from leaks or moisture damage through the roof.

Always ensure you check all the vulnerable areas to prevent water, sandstorms, or hail from penetrating. Remember, even a little moisture can cause a lot of damage; hence you cannot take anything for granted. You can install a temporary water barrier yourself or contract a professional to do it for better protection.

9. Consider Storm-Proofing Homes by Trimming Trees

The beautiful trees can appear harmless on other seasons but become the biggest risk factors during a storm. In fact, trees account for very serious damages to homes during high wind and rainy seasons. The branches can come out easily during a storm and hit your roof.

When the wind is extremely high, the entire tree can be brought down, damaging your house when it falls in its direction. You should check the trees with weak branches or loose root systems and do the necessary before they start falling on homes. Make sure there are no trees near the house or branches touching the roof.

10. Clean and Declutter Your Yard

You need to declutter your yard to ensure that there is no loose debris or items that can get blown by wind hitting your house in the process. When storms come, there are several flying objects, including toys, building materials, furniture, etc. These items can either damage your home or get damaged if they’re still valuable.

You need to keep your yard clean in preparation for hurricanes and tornadoes. Don’t wait until the winds are here because by then it will be very hard for you to do the cleaning.

Even after cleaning your entire yard and getting rid of all the loose items, flying objects can still come from outside your home. You can also consider installing hurricane shutters for additional protection. These are hurricane protection devices that will help block flying objects hence protecting your home and family.

11. Have an Emergency Kit Ready

Even after storm-proofing your house and ensuring everything is in order, hell can still break loose. You can’t predict the magnitude of a storm, so it’s better to prepare for anything. You should stock your home with all the emergency supplies in preparation for a storm. 

You need to have food, medicine, and enough water to keep your family going during emergency times. Make sure you have some canned food with you. Have an extra power supply, including torches and candles in case an outage occurs unexpectedly.

Don’t forget first aid supplies in case of an injury or painkillers in case a family member needs some. Ensure every family member, including the elderly, children, and pets, are cared for. You should also prepare for evacuation in case things get out of hand and you can no longer shelter in the house.

12. Consider Other Forgotten Areas

Storm proofing your home can be very hard, especially if you recently moved into a new area with no idea of the weather. You don’t know what to expect, and you can’t identify the areas you haven’t covered. It’s good to have a list of all the areas and items that need storm-proofing so that you don’t forget anything.

For instance, if there’s a need for lighting, you should consider securing the chimney. Prepare the fireplace as it can act as an alternative mode of heating. You can also consider investing in daylight devices that can capture sunlight from the rooftop to your home.

Do a thorough inspection on your roof right before the storm for loose shingles, moss, or cracked tiles. Recheck the attic to ensure there is no animal presence, the light coming in, or stains. Don’t leave any stone untouched because even the slightest damage can mean disaster when the storm arrives.

Don’t Wait Until the Storm Is Here

When you just moved into a new home, you don’t know what can happen, and you don’t want to put your family at risk. Storm-proofing homes earlier enough is the best you can do for your family. This can also save you the money you’d have used to restore your home after a storm.

Of course, you need the services of a professional to help ensure your home is ready to handle the storm and shelter your entire family. Once all is done, you can now wait for the weather with confidence.

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