Securing Your Home for Cyclone & Hurricane Season
Unlike the US, we don’t suffer hurricanes, here, in the UK. Storms must form over warm tropical oceans the be deemed a hurricane. However, cyclones are another story, aren’t they? The season officially starts in November and lasts until April. Take steps now to secure your home for the coming cyclone season.
Of course, of the 70 storms or so that affect Europe each winter, only five or so are strong enough pose a serious risk to both people and property. To raise public awareness about the risk of severe weather, the Met Office began naming storms in 2014. Much like in America, they believe naming storms makes it easier to follow their progress when information is being broadcast on radio, TV, or social media.
A storm categorized as having the potential to produce an amber “be prepared” warning or red “take action” warning receives a name. However, don’t wait until a warning is announced to take precautions.
Bolster Your Home Defense
There are several key areas of focus when strengthening your home for cyclone season. Taking time now to prepare could save you from catastrophic damage should this be the year of “the big one.” We’ve not seen anything like the Great Storm of 1987 since that fateful October day, but who’s to say this won’t be the year one strikes again?
Taking precautions now will strengthen your home’s structural integrity from this point forward.
No roof raising here
Strong winds can cause severe damage to the roof of your home. Once the roof becomes damaged, the interior of your home is likely to suffer extensive water damage. Moreover, if the wind gains access to the interior of your home, say, by way of losing your garage door, it immediately begins looking for a way out again. Rushing upward to the attic, it forces its way into every cranny and nook looking for the tiniest spaces by which to escape.
The resulting pressure building ever higher inside your home and combines with the force of the wind ripping at your roof from the outside. It’s possible that you’ll lose your roof entirely.
There are two relatively inexpensive actions to take that greatly increase your homes ability to withstand high winds.
- Bracing the underside of your roof makes it less susceptible to high wind. This is especially important if you have a gabled roof. They are the least wind resistant roof style.
- Applying construction adhesive is another inexpensive method of reinforcement. This simple step increases the strength of your roof up to three times. Simply head up to the attic and run a thick bead of the adhesive along each side of your rafters where they meet the outer wall of your home.
Windows that take a beating
When your windows give way to the storm, debris from both inside and out, fly everywhere! This creates an extremely dangerous environment for your family. Also, as mentioned above, you are in danger of losing your roof entirely when the winds try to force their way out of your home again.
Impact resistant windows prove a great defense against wind tossed debris. These windows are nothing short of amazing! Tempered glass adhered to either side of a sheet of high-tech polymer holds the key. The polymer sandwiched between the glass makes them virtually shatter-proof.
These windows are guaranteed not to fly apart no matter what is thrown at them. Before earning an impact resistant rating, the window unit is subjected to rigorous testing. For example, in the US the highest testing standard in the nation was set by the Florida Building Code after Hurricane Andrew tore through the state leaving billions of dollars’ worth of damage in its wake.
To pass the test, windows must remain intact throughout the large and small missile tests. These tests involve hurling a 9-lb 2×4 and, then, steel ball bearings directly at the window. If they withstand the impact, they are sent on for tests likened to the wind and storm-driven rain of a hurricane.
It’s not recommended that replacing your windows be tackled as a DIY project, however. Window installation requires precision. If not installed correctly, you’re opening yourself up to problems down the road. Contacting a professional is the best plan of action. Moreover, many manufacturers void their guarantee if a professional crew doesn’t install their windows.
Don’t open the door
Like our windows, entry doors pose another high-risk area when your home is under the onslaught of a cyclone. Doors that rip from their hinges allowing the storm access to your home is not the best-case scenario by any means.
Of course, storm resistant doors are available for purchase. If that’s not in your budget this year, simply adding a third hinge makes more difference than most would think possible. In addition, bracing entry and garage doors is another simple task that pays off in a big way. You can purchase bracing kits that install quickly by attaching latches above your door frame. Then, if ever you are under threat of severe weather, you can quickly pop in the bracing bars and lock them into place.
Pruning trees is more than yard work
We sometimes overlook the importance of pruning trees and removing any dead or damaged branches. The force of high winds can topple your trees onto your home or that of your neighbors. Fallen trees across roadways hamper emergency services as they try to maneuver during and after the storm.
Pruning your trees allows the wind to pass through them rather than all the foliage presenting a barrier against the wind.
Also, we’ll note for future reference, sodden ground combined with high force winds, can allow your tree to lose its footing and topple over. When planting trees, it’s wise to check with your nursery regarding trees that have a larger root system. They can guide you to trees that will grow heartily in your area and provide you with stronger storm resistance.
There you have it
As a homeowner, protecting your home from the danger that a cyclone presents is a wise choice. It is often the largest investment that the average citizen makes in a lifetime.
More importantly, it houses your family.
Ensuring they are as well protected as possible allows you to sleep well at night. Taking any of the above steps will make your home stronger, both this cyclone season and for all those to come.