Preparing Your Home for High Winds
High winds are one of the most common causes of damage to a home. Not limited to hurricanes and tornadoes, high winds cause many millions, often billions, of dollars in damages every year. Roofs are some of the most frequently damaged parts of the home during high winds. Because of the commonality of high winds in every region, during every season, it is worth looking at some of the ways in which you can better prepare your home to deal with severe winds. The first place to start is the roof.
Damage to roofs represents some 85-95% of wind related property damages every year and roofs are one of the first parts of the home to be adversely affected by wind. From shingles being torn off to damage to the roof structure itself, inspecting and repairing your roof is one of the most important ways to prepare for high wind. When inspecting, look for loose shingle tabs, cracks, buckling or curling shingles, and severely weathered shingles (lack of granules). Also check for gaps, holes, or unsealed sections in the roof. These problems could indicate a weakened roof more susceptible to destruction during high winds. If your roof is in need of repair or retrofitting, hire a professional contractor to secure and seal the roof deck and install a high wind, impact resistant roof cover.
Making additional improvements to make your home more resistant to damages caused by high winds is a good idea wherever you live. Roofs should be strapped to walls, walls should be strapped to the foundation and connected to the inter-story walls. This type of reinforcement is common in homes rebuilt after a disaster and will help homes withstand severe winds–even hurricane and tornado force winds. Upgrading windows can also help better protect your home from strong winds. If you have any single pane windows, make the upgrade to strong double pane glass as soon as possible.
Apart from these steps, preparing the outside of your home for high winds by removing tree branches that touch the house and even completely removing any trees that are growing too close to your home are all good ideas. Often during high winds, debris like tree branches are more destructive forces than strong gusts. In anticipation of a wind storm, remove any other objects from your yard that may become projectiles. For hurricane or tornado force winds, boarding up your windows may be necessary. As always, advanced planning is the best way to protect your home.