The Risk of High Winds: How to Prevent Damage
By Evelyn Long, Editor-in-Chief of Renovated.
Severe storms often bring high winds that endanger homes, utilities and lives. Before the next storm hits, individuals should implement protective measures to keep themselves and their homes safe. It’s vital to consider these six tips for preventing damage and reducing danger when high winds come.
1. Reinforce Home Structures
When high winds blow through a region, some home features will succumb to the storm faster than others. These weak points include garage doors and roofs. If these structures receive damage, the wind will enter and blow out windows and doors and break furniture and other items.
It’s helpful to install a retrofitting kit to secure a garage door, or purchase a specially designed door that will withstand Category 3 hurricane winds and other intense storms.
The most effective way to secure a roof is to install bracing or hurricane straps. Using truss bracing or gable end bracing can add structural support against high winds that buffet homes during storms.
2. Protect Windows and Doors
After safeguarding the most vulnerable home areas by reinforcing garage doors and roofs, it’s vital to shield other weak points like windows and doors.
Individuals should plan early for these protection measures because last-minute solutions like installing plywood shutters have limited success. Adding hurricane shutters or installing windows rated for high winds are more effective strategies. Glass doors should have similar protection.
It’s also important to ensure any exterior doors without glass have three hinges and a deadbolt to keep them secure. Double doors should include sliding bolts that anchor to the door frame’s top and bottom for additional sturdiness.
3. Examine and Trim Trees and Shrubs
A loose branch may become a hazardous projectile during hurricane winds and thunderstorms. Property owners should consider inspecting their large outdoor plants before big storms to identify and remove potential dangers.
To prepare trees for stormy seasons, it’s helpful to trim branches that might be hazards in high winds. Individuals should also cut dead, overly long and cracked branches or boughs close to their homes.
The same principles apply to large shrubs. Before the stormiest seasons, people in highly impacted areas should find the most susceptible branches and remove them before they cause damage.
In addition, families who live in storm-prone areas and plan to add new trees should choose species with high wind resistance. Then, it’s important that they plant the trees far enough away that the boughs won’t fall on their homes when fully grown.
4. Perform Home Repairs
Over time, structures outside homes wear down and loosen to the point that they need repair. These damaged structures do more than lessen a home’s visual appeal — they also pose a danger during storms.
When home owners notice a loose gutter, fence post or shingle, they should reattach it securely to prevent it from blowing off. These repairs keep homes in top shape against any severe weather.
It’s also crucial to inspect caulking around windows and doors and gaps around pipes and wires. When homeowners see cracks and crevices, they should use a waterproof sealant to block out wind and rain.
When applying caulk, it’s important to clean the surface in advance to ensure the best adhesion. Then, property owners should place a continuous stream of caulk in the cracks. If the caulk shrinks after application, they need to reapply it to cover the holes fully.
Individuals should make sure to caulk before the stormy season arrives. Completing this task during dry weather when temperatures exceed 7.2 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit) will produce the best results.
5. Secure Loose Outdoor Objects
Hurricane winds will often pick up objects as the storm moves through an area. Property owners should consider loose items outside their homes that could cause harm, including dog houses, trash bins and sports equipment.
One potential strategy to prevent damage is to tie a cord over trash can lids to keep them from opening or secure objects to other structures, like fences or trees, to keep them in place through severe storms.
Unlike the previous protective measures, individuals do not need to keep loose objects secure all the time. Instead, they can create a plan for securing these items and pick them up quickly when there’s news of an upcoming storm.
6. Move Light, Small Items Indoors
If a strong storm moves toward an area, families should think about preserving objects outside their homes that could blow away. These items may include patio furniture, potted plants, pool supplies and children’s toys.
Individuals can transport these objects to their basements or sheds before storms to ensure high winds won’t pick the items up and throw them at weak points like windows and doors.
Like the last tip, property owners only need to bring small objects indoors when they see a big storm in the forecast. If individuals want to prepare in advance, they should make a list so that they can act more quickly when bringing objects inside.
The Importance of Preparing Homes for Storms
As high winds tear through neighborhoods, families can keep their homes safe with these tips. Preparing before a big storm or hurricane can help protect family members and prevent costly damage to homes and belongings.
By implementing these tips, individuals can enjoy increased safety and peace of mind even as winds howl outside.