You can save yourself a lot of expense and ordeal by making strategic improvements to your home Before the next hurricane warning. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety identified five cost-effective projects to prevent costly damage from a strong hurricane. Most are do-it-yourself tasks or can be done with the help of a home improvement contractor. Keep your home safe and sound with these five “S’s”.
1. Shingles - Spend $9 on an 11 oz. tube of roofing cement to better adhere shingles. This project is only needed for shingles that are not wind rated types (such as Class F, G or H) that were installed according to manufacturer high-wind instructions. (When reroofing, be sure to specify a high wind-rated roofing system and reinforce the decking with ring shank nails.)
Use 1 tube per 25 feet of shingles:
- Focus on shingles near the roof edges and near gable ends.
- Place three 1-inch diameter dabs under each shingle tab (near the edges).
- On gable ends, secure the three shingle tabs closest to the gable edge.
- Do this at least two weeks in advance of a storm to allow the cement to adhere properly.
2. Soffits - Spend $8 for 10 oz. of polyurethane sealant and stainless steel screws to secure soffits (under the roof overhang).
- Apply sealant along the joint between the edge of the soffit channel and the wall.
- Install sharp pointed stainless steel screws through the fascia and channels so that they connect the soffit material.
- Apply sealant in the grooves where the fascia material butts up against the fascia and wall channel.
- When replacing soffits, select rigid materials (such as plywood or fiber cement) and fasten to framing at least every 12 inches.
3. Seals - Spend $6 on 10 oz. silicone caulk and seal:
- Holes where wires, cables and pipes enter and exit the house;
- All the way around electrical boxes and circuit breaker panels;
- Pipe penetrations in walls;
- Cracks around wall outlets, dryer vents, bathroom and kitchen vents and electrical devices such as wall lights.
4. Surroundings – Examine and secure your surroundings against damage from flying debris.
- Spend $4/bag and replace gravel landscaping materials with soft mulch.
- In strong hurricanes, gravel has been found in mail boxes,has shredded vinyl siding and broken glass.
- Enlist neighbors to do likewise to make sure everyone’s home is protected from this risk.
- Trim trees, remove dying trees and branches.
- Secure yard objects or prepare storage space for them
5. Shutters – If you’re in a high wind risk area, plan spend $3-$50 per sq.ft. of window and door openings to have ready, and preferably easy-to-use, protection against wind-borne debris and wind pressure. DIY plywood panels can cost only $1-2 per sq. ft., but they’re heavy, time consuming to install, and bulky to store. Note: Taping windows is useless!
It’s not about saving the window! A broken window creates a big hole that can allow internal wind pressures to build enough to cause structural failure or loss of the roof
Read the IBHS Opening Protection guide at www.disastersafety.org to compare the costs and considerations for many types and choose what’s right for your home.
Then, make a plan:
- Openings that need protection from high wind include all windows, entry doors, sliding glass doors, and gable end vents.
- Garage doors are especially vulnerable to wind damage, which can lead to home structural failure.
- Choose permanent window and door protection (such impact windows or impact rated hurricane shutters), or
- Obtain pre-cut plywood shutter panels and fasteners long before storm warnings so they can be put in place quickly, giving you time to focus on other needs.
- Choose a product with the proper approval for impact-resistance. Look for these ratings:
- ASTM E1886 and E1996
- AAMA 506
- Florida Building Code TAS 201, 202, 203
- Miami-Dade Protocols PA 201, 202, 203
- Replace a standard garage door with a new high-wind, impact-rated garage door or install a reinforcement kit.
When you plan to remodel or repair…
Include hazard resistant and energy saving home improvements.See the LSU AgCenter publication, Improve Your Home and Prosper, to learn about ways to make your home more resilient, comfortable, convenient and affordable in our southern climate.