Storm proofing your home in preparation for hurricane season

Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 11:46 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - While hurricane season doesn’t officially start until June, now is the time to get things ready for the months ahead.

Experts say it’s better to make some adjustments now and not when we’re staring at something in the gulf. There’s no need to board up or start tying things down right now, but there are some easy things you can do around the house to get ready for hurricane season.

“Whether it’s going to be a strong season or a light season, because it really only takes one storm coming to your back yard to have a really profound impact on your life,” Anne Cope, chief engineer for the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS). “There are some easy things you can do to get ready every single year. And there are some investments that you can make in your home to make it more resilient.”

Cope said that now is the time to prepare for a future storm. The easiest one is to start making that hurricane kit.

Beyond that, experts say one investment is to get hurricane shutters for your windows. Make sure to close all of the doors inside of your home to help contain the room in case of a window break. Experts also say to secure items around your home’s exterior.

“Pick up anything that was outside, so it didn’t fly and hit any windows. And so, we picked up all of our outdoor furniture,” said Kylie Davidson.

Davidson and her boyfriend bought their Moss Bluff home three weeks before Laura. After last year’s storms, they took steps to improve their home.

“We also made sure that we got hurricane-proofed shingles. So, they can sustain up to 150 mph wind. So, we made sure to get the top-of-the-line shingles, and so we don’t have to have any more water damage and, hopefully, they work.”

Those who have had to replace a garage or roof were also encouraged to choose options designed to withstand high winds.

IBHS’s Seven Ways to Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season:

1. Select a wind-rated garage door – High winds can push a garage door inward, allowing pressure to push up on the roof and surrounding walls and cause a cascade of damage to your entire home. Wind-rated garage doors have been tested to withstand these pressures and can help protect your home.

2. Resolve leaks - Existing leaks in your roof can worsen in severe weather.

  • Skylights: Install flashing around skylights to keep water from leaking into your home.
  • Chimneys: Remove and replace the flashing, including the ice and water barrier, around your chimney to ensure no water seeps into your home.
  • Flashing: Have leaky flashing removed and replaced.
  • Roof valleys: Remove and replace leaking valley metal on your roof.

3. Review your insurance policy and assess your risks - Review your insurance policy and store your insurance agent’s contact information in your phone.

4. Trim your trees - Trees in your yard could pose a threat to your home during high winds. Remove branches that overhang the house and remove dead, dying, or diseased trees.

5. Inspect your roof - A roof in need of repair is more vulnerable to high winds.

Unsealed shingles are vulnerable to wind and rain. Have your roof inspected to make sure it’s ready to stand up to hurricane season. If you need a new roof due to age or previous damage, ask your roofer to install it to the FORTIFIED standard, which has shown in both real-world severe weather events and lab testing to be stronger in high winds.

6. Purchase hurricane shutters - Shutters can protect your windows and help keep out damaging winds. Find what’s right for your home with the IBHS Opening Protection Guide. Plywood should only be used in place of shutters as a last-minute resort. Additionally, taping windows provides no protection and wastes time.

7. Get a whole–home generator - Purchase a whole–home generator to keep your power on, regardless of the weather.

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