DIY Hurricane Protection Projects Around Your Home

hurricane-season-featuredHigh winds and wind-driven rain can damage or even destroy a house. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offers these simple steps you can take to make your home more resistant to hurricanes.

Surroundings

  • Consider landscaping with mulch, rather than stone, which can become dangerous flying debris during high winds.
  • When a storm is approaching, bring lawn furniture, toys, and yard objects inside the house; anchor heavier yard objects deep into the ground.
  • Secure the parts of a fence that appear weakened or loose.
  • Trim trees and shrubbery away from structures and remove any weakened sections of trees that might easily break off and fall onto structures.
  • Anchor fuel tanks to prevent them from being torn free by floodwaters.

Openings

  • If you have accordion or roll-up storm shutters, check that they are properly functioning and in good condition.  For metal, polycarbonate or plywood shutters, install permanent anchors to make it easier to install them quickly when a storm threatens.
  • Check doors, windows, and walls for openings where water can get in; use silicone caulk to seal cracks, gaps, and holes—especially around openings where cables and pipes enter the house.
  • Inspect your garage door for signs it’s pressure-rated – look for: label, solid steel wheels, large metal braces spanning width of the door and brackets attaching the tracks to the wall. If it is not pressure-rated, purchase a bracing kit from your local hardware store to do it yourself, or hire a licensed contractor.

Roofs and Attached Structures

  • Inspect your roof cover AND overhang (if you’re not sure what to look for, contact a qualified professional to schedule a roof inspection):
    1. Roof covers: shingle tabs should be well-sealed to the top of the shingle below; tiles should not be loose, and metal should be in good shape and well attached.
    2.  All vents and soffits (panels that cover the underside of the roof overhang) should be made of sturdy material and securely attached.
  • Inspect porches, carports, entryway canopies and storage sheds to make sure they are firmly attached and in sound structural condition. 

Flood Damage Reduction

If a storm is approaching, reduce potential water damage from storm surge or flooding by:

  • Placing all appliances, including stoves, washers and dryers on masonry blocks or concrete. 
  • Moving furniture and electronic devices off the floor, particularly in basements and first floor levels. 
  • Rolling up area rugs, and getting them off the floor to reduce the chances they will become wet and grow mold or mildew. This is particularly important if the property will be left unattended for an extended period of time and if long-term power outages are a possibility. 
  • Inspecting sump pumps and drains to ensure proper operation. If a sump pump has a battery backup, make sure the batteries are fresh or replace them.
  • Shutting off electrical service at the main breaker if the electrical system and outlets could possibly be under water.

For more hurricane protection projects and resources, visit IBHS’ Hurricane webpage.