If you live in an area of the U.S. that experiences big storms, like hurricanes, blizzards, and/or tornadoes, then you know how unforgiving Mother Nature can be. Besides wreaking havoc on trees and power lines, a bad storm can also cause a lot of damage to houses. Since your home may be your only investment and shelter, it is essential that you take extra precautions to secure your house now, before the storms start rolling in. Keep reading to learn about 5 specific ways you can protect your house from just about any type of storm.
1. Trim the trees near your house.
If you have tall trees on your property, keep them trim all year round to reduce or eliminate the possibility of the tree and/or its branches destroying your home. You should remove dead branches as soon as you see them, or they will break off during the next storm. You can tell a dead branch from a live one because the dead branch is typically very dry and brittle, has no leaves, and snaps off the tree easily.
If you have a dead tree on your property, take it down. A dead tree will fall down in a severe storm. If the tree doesn't fall on your house, it could fall on your neighbor's home. Is that a chance you want to take? Signs of a dead tree include bare branches at the top, brittle branches that snap off easily, decayed wood, and large cracks in the trunk. Also, look at the roots. If they are exposed on one side, it's a sign that the tree could fall over.
The distance between your home and any tree should always be greater than the height of the full-grown tree. This way, if the tree falls over, it won't land on your home. According to Southern Living, the following trees are prone to falling in high wind because they have weak wood or branching structure. If you have one of these trees in your yard, then you should cut it down - or at the very least, move it far away from your house:
- White pine (Pinus strobus)
- Willows (Salix sp.)
- Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
- Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia)
- Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford')
- Box elder (Acer negundo)
- Elms (Ulmus sp.)
- Hickories (Carya sp.)
- Laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia)
- Red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
- Silver maple (Acer saccharinum)
- Red maple (Acer rubrum)
- Water oak (Quercus nigra)
- Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
- Poplars (Populus sp.)
2. Replace your windows with impact windows.
Wind, flying debris, and the torrent of water caused by storms can inflict an enormous amount of damage to a house. Impact windows will protect your home from these harmful elements. Impact windows are made of double-paned glass with a strengthening inner core. If the glass in this type of window breaks, it will stay in the frame. This means you don't have to worry about sharp shards of glass flying into your home and injuring someone inside. It also means that the bad weather will stay outside, where it belongs. Instead of running out at the start of a bad storm to board up your windows, take some time before storm season to replace your current windows with impact windows. You may even receive a tax credit up to $500 for doing this. In Florida, and other states, impact windows can be left bare and still be covered by insurance.
3. Install roof clips and garage door braces.
Two common occurrences during storms with high winds are garage doors blowing away and roofs flying off houses. In order to prevent these things from happening to your home, you can install roof clips and garage door braces. Roof clips, or straps, connect the roof to the walls of your home to provide greater stability and significantly reduce the chance that high winds will rip the roof off the house. Garage door clips are basically the same thing. They are metal clips that hold the garage door to the house to prevent the door from blowing away during a storm.
4. Replace rock or gravel landscaping material in your yard with shredded bark.
It only takes a small gust of wind to send rocks and gravel flying in the air. To prevent these little mischief-makers from damaging your house during a storm, replace any rock or gravel in your yard with shredded bark. If you do experience a bad storm, shredded bark in flight won't cause damage to your home. Shredded bark is also much less expensive than landscaping rock or gravel.
If you follow these 4 ways to secure your home before storm season starts, you won't feel so stressed when a big storm is headed your way. You can rest assured knowing that the chances of a bad storm causing damage to your home is greatly reduced, and that your family will be safe while riding out the bad weather. If you have any questions about the measures discussed above, call your local licensed contractor. He or she would be happy to help you.