Protecting Your Home in a Hurricane

December 31, 2020

Residents that live in hurricane-prone regions like Florida and the Gulf region should protect their homes from storm damage using some basic items that will not only save a home during a hurricane, but these measures can also result in significant savings on homeowner insurance.

For anyone who lives in a hurricane-prone region, the following items should be purchased for the home to limit damage from a hurricane.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Storm Shutters for Homes in Hurricane-Prone Regions

Storm shutters are essential for any home in Florida, Georgia, or the gulf coast states, like Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Storm shutters come in several styles and can be vital to protect windows and doors. The most common type of hurricane shutter is made of steel panels which, when installed, look like a metal accordion. These steel panels cover the home's windows and doors by attaching to screws or brackets that are mounted around the window or door frame.

A more expensive storm shutter option involves automatic storm shutters, made of metal accordion panels that come down over the home's windows at the touch of a button. Though expensive, these automatic hurricane shutters are ideal for the elderly and anyone else who can't physically put the storm shutters in place.

Hurricane Fabric to Protect Homes During a Hurricane

Many homeowners are opting for hurricane fabric panels as an alternative to protect windows and entryways. Hurricane fabric panels are made of kevlar, a bullet-proof fabric. Like storm shutters, the hurricane fabric panels are affixed over the home's windows and doors.

Hurricane fabric is an expensive yet practical option to protect entryways and some screened-in porches. This means that residents will save time when preparing for a hurricane because they will not have to bring in porch furniture and decorations since the hurricane fabric panels will protect the area from wind and flying debris.

Hurricane Glass for Houses in Storm-Prone Regions

Hurricane glass is another expensive yet convenient option for residents living in hurricane-prone areas. Hurricane glass is created in a way that's similar to a car windshield: plastic or composites are sandwiched between layers of glass, making the glass virtually impenetrable and invulnerable to flying objects.

Hurricane glass is ideal for use as glass door panels, in particular, making the door less vulnerable to break-ins as well.

Hurricane glass isn't damage-proof, but it will prevent flying objects from penetrating the window. A home that's equipped with hurricane glass can usually leave the windows and doors uncovered during a more minor storm, though even hurricane glass windows should be covered during a more severe category 4 or 5 hurricane.

Hurricane glasses are rated for various wind speeds and different impact forces; this will determine what category of a hurricane the glass can withstand if left uncovered.

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

Garage Door Braces Protect Homes During Hurricanes

A home's garage door is a weak point. During a strong hurricane, strong gusts of wind and impacts from flying debris can cause the garage door panels to buckle and break.

Once the home's garage door panels are compromised, this leaves the home and any vehicles parked inside the garage prone to damage.

Fortunately, garage door bracing kits are available, enabling residents to retrofit a garage door. This will enable the garage door to withstand greater wind speeds and more forceful impacts. It’s important that you are looking at a garage door installation guide if you are going to be fitting yours yourself to ensure that they are properly secured. However, getting professional help will always be the best course of action.

Homes in hurricane-prone regions should also be outfitted with outward-opening doors. The doors are a weak point, and if a home's door is compromised by strong winds or flying debris, the home's interior and all its contents will be ravaged by winds, rain, and flying objects.

In addition, homes built before 2004's Hurricane Charley should be inspected to ensure that the proper metal strapping is in place to hold the roof in place during a hurricane.

Following Hurricane Charley, which struck in August 2004, Florida's building codes were enhanced to require more durable connections between the home's frame and the roof. But Florida homes constructed pre-Hurricane Charley may not be up to code. Fortunately, older homes can be retrofitted with roof strapping, making the house less likely to lose its roof during a hurricane.

Once a home is equipped with storm shutters, garage door bracing, hurricane glass, and hurricane fabric panels, homeowners can contact their homeowner's insurance company and request a storm remediation home inspection. An inspector will then be dispatched to ensure that the home is properly prepared for a hurricane; this can result in hundreds of dollars in savings on homeowner's insurance rates. In most cases, the hurricane shutters and other hurricane preparations will pay for themselves in just a few years when it comes to savings on homeowner's insurance in hurricane-prone regions.
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