A hurricane is a kind of storm that forms over either subtropical or tropical waters. When winds in the storm reach 74mph, that is what we refer to as a hurricane. We can define a hurricane as a substantial rotating storm with very high winds speed forming above warm waters in tropical areas. This kind of storm is known as a tropical cyclone. During a hurricane, the rain, storm, and wind destroy the shoreline and any other settlement on its way. Although hurricanes can occur outside its season, they usually begin in June and end in November. The season is wild and very unpredictable. Below are some ways to hurricane-proof your home and which house parts to concentrate on if you live in a hurricane-prone area. An example of such an area is along the coastline. Most risky regions are the Caribbean, Atlantic Coast beaches, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Doors: The doors are the entryways to your home, and you need to reinforce them in different ways.
- Use of Sandbags
Fill your sandbags and arrange them in a line around the doors to your home. Doors are the closest entries to the ground; therefore, water can easily seep in during floods. The sandbags keep out stormwater and prevent damage to belongings and valuables.
- Use of Removable Metal Panels
Hurricane-resistant doors are not cheap in any way, and you can use metal panels to mount on your garage door during a hurricane season. The panels can be aluminum or galvanized steel. If your doors are non-wind-loaded, you may reinforce them by installing vertical storm braces.
- Use of Fiberglass
Fiberglass is the best hurricane-resistant material, especially for front doors. The material is impact tested for wind, and it is more effective in keeping out rain than steel and wood doors. The cost is the cheapest compared to all door reinforcement measures.
- Heavy-Duty Garage Doors
Investing in these heavy-duty doors is worth it if your home is in a hurricane-prone area. The entries consist of additional hardware, spring components, and steel reinforcements, providing increased strength and durability from destruction by very high wind pressures. Your area code requirements should meet the manufacturer’s specifications. That is why it is necessary to check before purchasing. Lastly, ensure you lock all doors during this season to lower pressure on the roof.
The Roof: According to Florida’s Emergency Management Division, this part of the house is very vulnerable to the high winds during a hurricane. You should use the help of a roofing contractor in inspecting your roof’s stability. A cyclone is very likely to blow off your house roof.
- Use of Metal
Metal is the most appropriate hurricane-resistant material for your roof. It is protective up to a speed of one hundred and forty miles per hour. Metals are more expensive than asphalt shingles, but the higher the quality, the more years it will last. The best metals are copper, zinc, steel, tin, and aluminum.
- Architectural Shingles
Most new homes in Florida use architectural shingles for the roof. They resist up to 130mph wind speed with twenty to thirty years of durability. They are thicker, heavier and a better choice compared to the traditional asphalt shingles.
- Escape Plan
Steel hurricane clips increase strength connectivity between the house and roof. For worst-case scenario planning, build an escape hatch in your roof to aid in escaping if there are extreme floods. Before the storm, have a checklist for items to carry with you in your escape. These items may include clothing, insurance paperwork, among others.
- Insurance Discounts Inquiry
Homeowners with wind-resistant roof systems up to 150mph are eligible for receiving insurance discounts.
Windows: As a homeowner, you need a permit for new windows installation and also post-inspection. It is the window installer’s work to work with the municipality and take care of the details.
- Covering or Bracing Your Windows
James Banta is a police officer working at the Biloxi department during Hurricane Katrina when his home experienced ravage from the winds and water. In his opinion, it is essential to gather materials and make window braces. Use plywood sheets in measuring the windows and doors and hold them in place using brackets.
- Installation of High-Impact Windows
A real estate agent, Ron Wysocarski, from Daytona Beach, Florida, has experienced hurricane ravages. He explains that windows are very vulnerable to damages by a storm. Impact windows have heavy frames resisting breakage up to a speed of one hundred and fifty mph. The high impact windows also prevent water from intruding your home and also reduces your insurance premiums cost. Although most cities emphasized that new homes must have high impact windows after Hurricane Andrew, there are old homes that do not have these hurricane-proof windows. If you live in such a house, you need investment for upgrading.
- Selecting the Right Kind of Windows
Hurricane-proof windows should have a design pressure (DP) rating for measuring structural load and air and water infiltration. If the DP is fifty, it can withstand up to two hundred miles per hour wind speed and seventy-five pounds per square foot of pressure. The cost of these windows is dependable on material, size, and specific features. The price of purchasing and installing may range between five hundred and fifteen hundred dollars for each window.
You may be on a very tight budget and lack money for the measures above; below are some cheap steps on how to hurricane proof your windows without having to spend much money.
- Film addition to windows
Although this measure does not increase the resistance, it holds the glass together if it breaks, and at least the glass does not shatter into risky shards.
- Addition of storm shutters
They help in blocking wind and water but at the same time allowing in natural light. Different types of these shutters vary in price. However, shutters are less expensive than impact windows.
- Caulking doors and windows
Caulking your house doors and windows keeps water out.
Lastly, you may choose to carry out any of the above measures by yourself or consult a window company in Tampa Florida. Find a company that manufactures a range of windows accommodating all homes’ needs. Preferably they will have a showroom for their windows, and they also produce their products locally; therefore, they can directly sell them to their customers. A window company in Tampa can provide replacement services for windows if you need them.
Protect Your Valuables
Ensure your valuables are in a safe and as high as possible from the ground. If you have a safe, you may consider placing items in it such as jewelry, medications, travel passports, heirlooms and photographs, and small electronics. You should also move your electronics to a higher floor to avoid losing them and creating electrocution if they come in contact with water in case of flooding. You can also scan your documents and store them in a flash drive.
During a hurricane season, burglary is likely and common. Take pictures and keep an inventory of your items before the storm. Also, copy and note down the serial numbers on your electronic devices and other expensive items. Doing this will ensure that the police have an easy time tracking down stolen items after the storm. It is also actual proof to the insurance companies.