The wind is blowing, and you’re worrying. Your home has experienced wind damage in the past, and you cross your fingers that it won’t happen again in the future. However, crossing your fingers won’t help if that wind is moving into the hurricane zone. How can you be proactive around your home and make sure that your home doesn’t suffer wind damage?
Know Your Weather
Perhaps you have just moved into a new home, or maybe a winter storm last year got you thinking about being more proactive about home care. No matter how long you’ve been in the home, you need to develop an understanding of the local weather and how it connects to home maintenance. What snow load can you expect on your roof in the winter, and how do your neighbors deal with that amount of snow? What kinds of winds impact your house, and what do people in the area typically do about that? Get to know the best practices for home care. One way to do this is to connect with your local emergency office during its offseason to ask about the typical weather and consider ways to weatherproof your home proactively.
Know Your Home
If you’re new to your home or if you’re curious about how your home has fared over the years, it could be time to get a home inspection. A home inspection can help you get a baseline about your specific home, instead of relying on some general rules and guidelines around home care. For instance, if an inspection reveals that your windows have soft spots around the edges of the frame or that many of your shingles are coming loose, you can address these issues before they become larger problems. One time that larger problems show up is during wind storms and during the winter season, so if you can troubleshoot before the winder, snowier times of the year, you’ll be well-prepared when the storms come.
Inspect Your Roof
If you’re concerned or even just curious about your roof, get a roofing company to examine it and see if you need a roof repair or a roof replacement. According to Today’s Homeowner, “a leaky roof can cause a lot more damage to your house than unsightly water stains on the ceiling. Roof leaks keep attic insulation wet, which can lead to rot and mold.”
You don’t want to lose shingles in a wind storm or have them get cracked and loose, only to discover much later that your home has suffered water damage. Get ready for the wind by inspecting, repairing, and even replacing your roof if necessary.
Trim Trees and Remove Debris
If you’re concerned about the potential for wind damage, take a look at what could hurt your home the most: the large branches that sit above your roof. These branches might seem sturdy, but they could crack and fall onto your roof in a wind storm. Consider pruning these branches so that you won’t have any of them fall onto the house. If you’re thinking about planting new trees, plant them away from the house or choose smaller trees that won’t grow above your roof line.
Before a wind storm, also consider how you store items in your yard. If you want to protect your home, think about how large objects such as patio furniture are either secured or stored. That way, if there is a severe wind, you’ll have plans to move them into a storage area or those objects will be very well secured to the ground so that they don’t fly into your windows, siding, or onto your roof.
Even smaller landscaping features such as gravel can turn into projectiles in a wind storm. Consider replacing gravel with shredded bark, because it’s lightweight and won’t cause as much damage in a storm. Tie down your smaller shrubs so that they don’t land on your windows or your roof.
Get Your Gutters and Downspouts Ready
While maintaining your gutters might not seem like the most important action to take before a wind storm, it’s surprisingly important. Your gutters could be clogged with leaves. If you’re experiencing a hurricane or other storm that involves wind and rain, those clogged gutters will not be able to accommodate all of the new rainfall that comes to your home during the storm. They’ll spill over, damaging your siding and your foundation. They’ll also be overfull, and this could lead to rot along the edge between the roof and the gutter. You don’t want water to back up onto your roof or spill onto your foundation. The best way to avoid this is to clean your gutters regularly or add a gutter cover to the gutter so that rainfall moves into the gutter but leaves slide off the side. This means that when the wind and rain comes, your gutters will always be prepared.
If wind storms happen during the winter months, the other way you can protect your home is by installing a gutter heating system. This gives your roof a way to slowly warm and remove snow and ice that would otherwise stay in your gutters. Imagine that a snowstorm has dropped several feet of snow in your area. Your gutter heating system will help that snow turn to water that moves through your downspouts and away from your home.
Repair Your Roof
As you examine your roof, look for signs that some of your shingles might need to be replaced. These signs include shingles that are peeling, curling, moving, or missing from your roof. Depending on the weather that your roof has experienced and the different patterns of sun, wind, and water on your roof, different parts of the roof may require different amounts of work.
- Replace sections of the roof rather than just a few shingles. The problem might extend more widely than you initially thought it did.
- Make sure that you have caulking present in the areas that require it so that the wind doesn’t drive the rain into the cracks.
- Look for shingles that are losing their granules and are getting older. These might not have shifted, but they are weaker than others.
Replace Your Roof
Sometimes, roof replacement is the best way for you to prepare for severe winds. This is true if:
- Your roof is getting old, between 20 to 30 years, and you notice that it’s gradually degrading and shedding asphalt.
- Your roof has serious damage from past storms
- Your roof has been compromised through poor drainage and is rotten underneath the shingles
- Many of your shingles are curling or peeling
- Hollows are forming in your roof
- The areas around critical spaces such as skylights and chimneys seem to be getting rotten and have loose shingles
While you might be able to repair some of these problems for a time, if they persist or there is more than one problem, you are probably looking at a roof replacement. Thankfully, replacing your roof will help those shingles stay on during windstorms, and they will continue to protect the interior of your home from moisture damage.
Prevent Roof Lift Off
If your area experiences severe winter storms, tornadoes, or hurricanes, you need to consider how well your structure can respond to these. While it’s less expensive to be less well-prepared, you might consider how to further reinforce your roof to protect it more effectively in the long term. According to the US Extension Service, ways to protect your roof include:
- Using metal connectors that are corrosion resistant
- Connecting truss parts and joints with metal connectors
- Reinforcing the connections between the roof and load-bearing walls
- Use hurricane straps or clips to keep the roof on
- Bracing the trusses in the attic
- Use thicker roof decking and #8 screws to really pin the roof down
- Use shingles that are rated for the maximum wind speed in your area
- Carefully consider what kind of roofing you want for your home. Some kinds of roofing are very prone to breakage. If you want a tile roof and you’re in a windy area, be prepared to repair or replace your roof after a storm.
Investing more in your home during a roof replacement or other home renovation will pay off when the wind is howling. Work with your roof replacement company to ensure that your home is ready for a worst-case scenario.
Review Your Insurance and Warranty Options
As you plan for a wind storm, consider what options you’ll have if your roof is damaged. Talk with your homeowners’ insurance about coverage for hurricanes, wind, and water. Talk with your roofing company about their warranties as well. That way, if the worst does happen and your home is damaged, you will know what to do to get the compensation you need and ensure that your new roof is better and stronger.
At Harry Helmet, we want to work with you to protect your home. We offer free estimates to help you assess your roof. Talk with us about how we can help with your next roof replacement: schedule a free estimate today.