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Storm Proofing Your Home: A Contractor's Guide to Protecting Your Exterior from Severe Weather

Fran Beaulieu

December 4, 2023

As a contractor with years of experience in home maintenance and storm preparedness, I understand the importance of safeguarding your home against severe weather. Not only is it about protecting the structure itself, but also about ensuring the safety and comfort of your family and loved ones. Beyond just storm proofing, it's crucial to prepare your home for various conditions, including the upcoming cold, snow, and ice. Here are comprehensive tips to protect your home’s exterior and how you can effectively storm proof your home.

Roof Maintenance and Replacement:

The roof is your home's primary shield against severe weather. Regular inspections are essential to identify potential issues such as loose or damaged shingles. If your roof is aging or significantly damaged, it may be time to consider a replacement. Your roofing contractor can offer various options for roofing materials, including modern, impact-resistant shingles or tiles that provide superior protection and longevity. They can also advise on energy-efficient roofing options that can reduce heating and cooling costs. Moreover, a new roof can significantly enhance your home’s overall appearance and increase its market value. An experienced contractor will not only ensure that your new roof is highly functional in protecting your home from weather extremes but also aesthetically pleasing, complementing your home’s design.

Gutters and Downspouts:

Ensure your gutters are clean and properly attached. They play a vital role in preventing water damage by directing rainwater away from your home's foundation. Keeping your gutters and downspouts clean and well-maintained is crucial in preventing water backup, which can lead to roof and siding damage. In addition to regular cleaning, consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guards help keep debris like leaves and twigs out, reducing the frequency of cleaning and the likelihood of clogs. This is especially important in areas with heavy rainfall or lots of trees. By ensuring that water flows freely away from your home, gutter guards play a significant role in minimizing the risk of water damage to your home's foundation and exterior walls. They also help in maintaining the integrity of your gutter system over time, saving you money on potential costly repairs.

Window Upgrades:

Windows are vulnerable during storms. Consider replacing old windows with impact-resistant models. These not only provide protection against storms but also improve energy efficiency, potentially saving on heating and cooling costs.

Door Reinforcement and Replacement:

Inspecting and reinforcing doors is crucial, especially exterior ones. If your doors are old or showing signs of wear, they may no longer offer adequate protection against severe weather. In such cases, consulting with your contractor can provide you with a range of replacement options. Modern doors not only offer enhanced security and weather resistance but also come in various styles and materials that can significantly boost your home's curb appeal. A new entry door can transform the look of your home, making a strong first impression while providing the necessary defense against the elements. Your contractor can guide you through choices that balance aesthetic appeal with practical, storm-resistant features.

Siding and Exterior Walls:

Choose high-quality, durable materials for your siding and keep them well-maintained. Your contractor will inspect for cracks or damage and will recommend siding options for a prompt repair to prevent water ingress if needed.

Secure Outdoor Items:

Anchor or store outdoor objects to prevent them from becoming projectiles during high winds.

Tree and Landscape Maintenance:

Regularly trim trees and shrubs to minimize the risk of branches damaging your home. Your insurance inspector will look at this area too.

Garage Door Reinforcement and Upgrade:

The garage door is an often overlooked but crucial aspect of home storm proofing. If your garage door is outdated or shows signs of weakness, it may be vulnerable to high winds and flying debris. Reinforcing your existing garage door or opting for a new, wind-rated door can make a significant difference in your home's storm resilience. Modern garage doors come in a variety of materials and styles, offering both durability and aesthetic appeal. They can be reinforced with bracing systems or replaced with doors specifically designed to withstand high wind pressures. Upgrading your garage door not only enhances your home's safety during storms but can also improve its overall curb appeal and value. A contractor can provide you with options suited to your home’s style and the specific weather challenges of your area.

Foundation Checks:

Inspect your foundation for cracks or movement. Water seepage can lead to significant damage, especially during storms.

Emergency Preparedness:

Keep a well-stocked emergency kit and establish a clear evacuation plan for your family.

Professional Inspections:

Hiring a professional for a detailed inspection can identify hidden vulnerabilities in your home. They will check for structural integrity, roof condition, siding issues, and window and door security.

Cost Savings and Family Protection:

Upgrading and maintaining your home for storm resistance can lead to significant savings. Damage from water, wind, and impact is costly to repair. Efficient windows and doors can save on energy bills, with national averages suggesting potential savings in the hundreds annually. Most importantly, these improvements provide peace of mind by ensuring the safety and protection of your family and loved ones.

Remember, proactive measures are key in storm proofing your home. Regular maintenance and strategic upgrades not only protect your property but also contribute to the safety and comfort of those who live in it.

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