Hurricane Proofing Homes – How to Hurricane Proof Your House

If you live near a coastline, you keep an eye on the weather forecast every summer and fall — popularly known as hurricane season. Hurricanes are most likely to strike between June 1 and November 30, causing significant property damage and loss of life.

Hurricanes and storm-related flooding cause an estimated $34 billion in property damage every year in the United States.

The Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Atlantic beaches are the most vulnerable regions. In terms of hurricane activity, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, New York, and Massachusetts are the top 10 states.

As a resident of one of these hurricane hotspots, you’ll want to take proactive measures to safeguard your home not just during hurricane season but all year. In this article, you will learn about things you should pay attention to when preparing your property for a hurricane and how you can hurricane-proof your home.

1. Install high-impact Windows

If you live in an area with regular strong winds, you should invest in impact-resistant windows. According to the National Hurricane Center, having wind-resistant windows can reduce your risk of injury while inside your home by up to 90%. Other kinds of window treatments are not nearly as effective since they may break when exposed to strong gusts of wind, leaving pointed shards everywhere. Impact-resistant windows come with several layers of protection that are designed to withstand high-velocity debris and debris impacts.

Here are some window proofing measures:

  • Replace traditional window glass with tempered or laminated glass.
  • Install impact-resistant exterior windows.
  • Add interior shutters to your windows. Although they cost more than other window treatments, they provide excellent protection against hurricanes and flying debris.
  • Install breakaway window hinges designed to soften the blow of a high-speed impact and prevent glass shards from flying everywhere.

2. Protect your Property from Floodwaters

If you live in an area with a significant risk of flash flooding, you need to consider protecting your house, so it doesn’t get destroyed by water damage during a storm. Keep in mind that even if you live in an inland region, you could still be affected by heavy rains or overflowing rivers and lakes that will prompt floods.

If you live in a flood-prone area, you must pay attention to proposals made by the government for building codes and other regulations designed to reduce property damage caused by flooding. For example, in North Carolina, new construction must consider certain requirements designed to minimize property damage during coastal storms.

Your local zoning authority may already have land-use laws in place that prohibit development or construction within high-risk flood zones or floodplains, so be sure to check with them before purchasing a home in this type of area to avoid unfortunate surprises down the line.

When it comes to protecting your existing property, here are some things you can do:

  • Build exterior barriers around your house. These include decorative edging, raised foundations, and retaining walls.
  • Divert roof downspouts away from your home’s foundation.
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and any other appliances that are vulnerable to flooding.
  • Install backflow valves where your plumbing system meets the municipal sewer line to prevent sewage backups in case of a power outage after a hurricane.

Also Read: How much does a new Roof Cost

3. Install a Generator

If you want to protect your property from hurricane-related power outages, then you’ll need to invest in an emergency backup power source. According to the National Hurricane Center, it takes about 14 days for electricity to be restored after a major storm, so during this time, you could be left without the essentials such as air conditioning, refrigeration, and lights.

Fortunately, there are things you can do today that will reduce the risk of inconvenient and potentially dangerous post-storm conditions:

  • Invest in a portable generator that can provide enough electricity for your home’s essential systems (i.e., refrigerator, stovetop).
  • Install a backup electric transfer switch (also known as an automatic standby generator) which automatically senses when there is a power outage and turns on a generator. This minimizes the risk of forgetting to activate your backup system in the event of a blackout.

4. Hurricane Safe Room

A safe room is a reinforced enclosure explicitly designed for protection against high winds, flying debris, and flooding during a hurricane or other types of natural disasters such as tornadoes and earthquakes. In addition to providing you with added security, they can typically be integrated into your home’s existing floor plan without requiring too much modification to your house. Furthermore, they generally have locking doors, ventilation systems, lighting, phone jacks for charging mobile devices, an air conditioner, and sometimes even a separate heating unit.

Here are some ways you integrate a safe room into your interior design:

  • Converting a closet or an interior hallway into a safe room by adding a solid core door, hurricane straps, clips, sturdy hinges, a deadbolt lock for the doorknob, and some plywood that can be screwed into place.
  • You can also convert a basement or an attic into a suitable safe room by using the same methods listed above. Keep in mind that basements are usually better since they are already reinforced with concrete walls that can resist water damage much better than wood panelling.

5. Front Porch Deck

Typically, homes in coastal regions are built on stilts, making it easier for floodwaters to pass under the house during a storm. This can lead to damage to your home’s foundation (i.e., rotting sills) and even mold growth if water penetrates porous materials like wood.

To prevent these types of problems, you should construct barriers around the perimeter of your property that will keep floodwaters at bay or divert them away from your house before they can seep underneath the foundation. If the worst-case scenario does occur and you experience costly flooding, make sure you file an insurance claim as soon as possible since most policies only cover losses arising within 48 hours after the covered event (i.e., hurricane).

When it comes to protecting your existing property, here are some things you can do:

  • Build exterior barriers around your house. These include decorative edging, raised foundations, and retaining walls.
  • Divert roof downspouts away from your home’s foundation.
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and any other appliances that are vulnerable to flooding.
  • Install backflow valves where your plumbing system meets the municipal sewer line to prevent sewage backups in case of a power outage after a hurricane.

6. Hurricane shutters

If you’re looking for a long-term option to protect your house from hurricane damage, then consider investing in a set of hurricane shutters. Typically made of marine-grade aluminum or vinyl, they are incredibly durable and can be painted to match the exterior color of your home. In addition, these types of shutters work well for coastal regions because they weigh less than typical wood shutters, which will only serve as fuel during a storm.

Here are some benefits to installing hurricane shutters:

  • They provide protection against high winds and flying debris that can break through regular windows and do significant damage to your home’s interior.
  • They’re sturdy enough to remain intact even if the wind gusts blow off part of your roof.
  • They’re easy to install and can be removed relatively quickly if there is a need to evacuate.
  • They’ll reduce your home’s cooling costs because they keep the house well-insulated from heat or cold air infiltration.

7. Smart Landscaping

One of the best ways to protect your property from hurricanes is through landscaping – this includes planting deciduous trees with wide, sturdy trunks that allow enough space for a person to walk between them, as well as adding a fence around your property’s perimeter that’s tall enough to prevent debris from entering your yard during floods. In addition, you should avoid trying to grow too many plants on the exterior of your home since this can create too much weight on the exterior walls and roof, which can cause severe damage during a storm.

Also Read: Ideas to Landscape your Front yard

8. Roofing

If you’re looking for a quick and affordable way to protect your house from hurricane damage, then consider having your roof replaced with corrosion-resistant metal. Not only will this add structural support (i.e., resisting uplift) on particularly windy days, but it’s also more cost-effective than reroofing since you can install metal shingles over an existing wood or composition shingle roof without the need of ripping off the old layer first (keep in mind that some states and municipal codes may require you to remove and replace asphalt shingles before installing new metal ones).

Few tips for Hurricane-proofing your roof:

  • If you notice any deep cracks in the plywood, make sure to immediately get them fixed since these can expand during high winds.
  • Inspect your roof for leaks after heavy rains to ensure that there are no loose, damaged, or missing shingles.
  • Keep your gutters clean to allow for proper drainage, and trim overgrown trees that could cause them to get blocked.

9. Reinforced Doors and Windows

Hurricane winds can shatter windows and doors with ease, which is why you should install double-pane windows on your home’s exterior to reduce the risk of them breaking. In addition, make sure they swing outward since inward opening windows and doors can be more easily smashed by flying debris and wind gusts.

10. Insurance

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution to hurricane damage, then consider purchasing homeowners insurance that covers hurricane damage. One thing to keep in mind is that this type of coverage usually doesn’t cover indirect damages like power outages and loss of property value (i.e., the difference between your house’s fair market value before and after a storm). But on the bright side, most homeowner policies will cover wind-related roof damage as well as torn or collapsed shingles since these are considered “weather events.” If you do not have any coverage like this, make sure to look into your state’s specific requirements when it comes to safeguarding yourself against hurricanes.

Conclusion:

Hurricanes can cause a great deal of destruction, which is why it’s essential to consider your house’s structural integrity before a storm occurs. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your home will stand firm against hurricane winds and other natural disasters.

Frequently asked questions

1. What types of houses benefit the most from hurricane proofing?

Homes built with wood or weak materials like brick tend to benefit the most, but even homes with cement exteriors can be strengthened with smart landscaping techniques. On the other hand, concrete homes typically do not need additional support since they’re already resistant to strong winds.

2. Which parts of my house should I look into first when it comes to hurricane proofing?

While you should take a look at all your home’s features, it would be best for you to start with its exterior walls and roof – these are what will protect your property against flying debris during high winds, so they must stay in good condition at all times.

3. What types of materials should I look into for my exterior walls and roof?

The best options tend to be corrugated metal sheets and cement, as these can resist high winds without getting damaged, so you’ll only need to replace them once every ten years or so.

4. How much will it cost me to hurricane-proof my house?

It’s difficult to answer this question since you may be already doing some of the things mentioned in the article (i.e., installing storm shutters). One way to determine how much it would cost is by consulting with a home improvement contractor, who can give you an estimate based on its size and features (mainly its foundation surrounding landscaping).

5. Will hurricane proofing my house increase its value?

Yes, as it will reduce the chances of your home sustaining damage during extreme weather events like hurricanes and other natural disasters like earthquakes and wildfires.

Also See: Top-rated National Moving Companies | Tips for buying a Beach House | Which State in US Has The Least Natural Disasters

Written by


Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.