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Protecting your house

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Experts say the best way to protect your home from costly hurricane damage is to protect the areas in which wind can enter. A great time to hurricane your proof your home is when you are making other improvements or adding an addition.

According to recent wind technology research, it's important to strengthen the exterior of your house so wind and debris won't tear large openings in the structure.

You can prevent thousands in storm damage by taking in consideration the following tips for critical areas of your home:

ROOF RETROFITTING

Gabled Roofs

Does your home have a gabled roof? If so, the end wall of your home takes a tremendous beating during a hurricane. If not properly braced, it can collapse, causing a large amount of damage. Gable end walls are easy to strengthen and should be a high priority on your retrofitting list.

Typically, gable end trusses are directly attached to the top of gable end walls. The bottom of the truss must be securely nailed to the top of the wall and braced to adjacent trusses. This prevents wind from pushing or pulling the gable end at its critical point, where the gable truss is connected along the gable wall.

Shingles

Shingles are usually not designed to resist hurricane-force winds. For increased wind resistance, have a qualified person inspect several single tabs to see if the adhesive is engaged with the roof. If not, use a quick-setting asphalt cement to bond them together.

To cement the shingle tabs to the underlying shingles, place two spots of quick-setting asphalt cement about the size of a quarter under each tab with a putty knife or caulking gun. Press the tab into the adhesive. Be sure to cement all the tabs throughout the roof, being careful not to bend them farther than necessary when applying the adhesive. Replace any damaged shingles immediately.

SHUTTERS

One of the best ways to protect a home from damage in high-wind storms is to install impact-resistant shutters over all large windows and glass doors. The shutters protect from wind-borne objects, but can also reduce damage caused by sudden pressure changes when a door or window is broken.

Laminated window systems are a second option, and are a recommended choice for either building an old home or adding to an existing one.

The easiest designs are those that simply cover the opening with a structural panel such as plywood. In past hurricanes, many homeowners upon returning have noticed their temporary plywood shutters blown off because they were not adequately fastened.

Have temporary shutters stored and ready to use since building supply stores generally run out of this type of material quickly. If your home is made of concrete blocks, you will have to install anchoring devices in advance of the storm.

The American Plywood Association offers a series of Hurricane Shutter Designs. Each is available for $1, and can also be downloaded at no cost by clicking here.

SECURING ENTRY DOORS

Your home has either double or single entry doors. If they are solid wood or hollow metal, they can probably resist wind pressures and hurricane debris.

However, if you're not sure whether they are strong enough, take these precautions:

  • Install head and foot bolts on he inactive door of double-entry doors.
  • Make sure your doors have at least three hinges and a dead bolt security lock, which has a minimum one-inch bolt throw length.
  • Since double entry doors fail when their surface bolts break at the header trim or threshold, check the connections at both places. Be sure the surface bolt extends into the door header and through the threshold into the subfloor.

BRACING GARAGE DOORS

Because of their width, double-wide garage doors are more susceptible to wind damage than single doors. Unless you have a tested hurricane-resistant door, the wind may force it out of the roller track -- especially if the track is light weight or some of the anchor bolts are not in place. This occurs because the door deflects too much under excessive wind pressure and fails.

To secure your garage door:

  • Check with your local government building to see if there are code requirements for garage doors in your area.
  • Check with your local building supplier or garage door retailer to see if a retrofit kit is available for your garage door.

You should probably reinforce your double-wide garage door at its weakest points. This involves installing horizontal and/or vertical bracing onto each panel, using wood or light gauge metal girds bolted to the door mullions. You may also need heavier hinges and stronger end and vertical supports for your door.

Information: National Hurricane Center

 

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