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Everyone thinks that it can’t happen to them – until it does. Large sections of eastern Texas received more than 40 inches of rainfall over a four-day period, accompanied by high winds and associated damage. Many homeowners were taken by surprise, with homes that weren’t built or reinforced to withstand this rain, wind, or the flooding that followed.
Closely on the heels of Harvey, other nearby areas were also hit with hurricanes with Irma and Maria. Even people whose homes didn’t sustain direct damage were forced to evacuate to areas and shelters that had been prepared for the storms. For this reason, many homeowners who are now rebuilding or who were forced to evacuate and undergo several days of discomfort and fear are now taking steps to make their homes more hurricane resistant for the future.
And while there is nothing that can withstand every natural disaster, there are many steps that you can take to help protect your property, so that when the next big storm hits, you’re better prepared.
For areas that did not see significant flooding directly in homes and properties, one of the biggest problems was the sustained lack of electricity. Without electricity, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, refrigerators, and other crucial equipment is unable to operate. This makes having a back-up generator one important step that you can take to help make your home more hurricane resistant. This is particularly helpful in areas like Texas and Florida where the excessive heat and humidity mean that things like air conditioning and dehumidifiers are necessary to being able to safely remain in your home, particularly for children and the elderly.
Back-up generators can be installed right on your property. They’re programmed to turn on in the event of a power loss, and many can be elevated or put on platforms that will keep them out of flood waters in low-lying areas.
For those that need to rebuild their homes due to the damage that was sustained, consider doing away with traditional stick-building methods, and build with insulated concrete block wall systems instead.
Insulating concrete block forms are a better, more resilient and energy efficient way to build. Rather than using wood, which can be subject to mold and rot after a flood, the concrete forms are far more durable and longer lasting than traditional building materials. They’re also better at insulating, which can keep your home more comfortable in the event of a power outage, while helping to reduce noise – such as the sound of high winds and the shaking that can accompany them.
Insulated concrete block wall systems are also fast and easy to build with, which means that you can have your property rebuilt quickly, letting you return to your life in a more timely way. They also require no additional reinforcement, the way that some stick-built homes do, so your new property will be better prepared for the next natural disaster, as well as everyday life.
While things like plywood will do in a pinch, most people didn’t have the time or the ability to protect their windows, doors, and other openings in their homes before the hurricanes made landfall. Having hurricane shutters in place and ready to be utilized can help protect your home from damage due to rain, hail, debris, and high winds.
Hurricane shutters are designed to be pulled across windows, doors, and other openings to your home, sealing them and protecting the glass behind. Even if you need to evacuate, you’re more likely to return home to less damage with hurricane shutters installed, and in the event that you are unable to evacuate your home, hurricane shutters can make it safer for you to remain behind as well.
While not every hurricane results in 40 inches of rainfall and widespread flooding, the driving winds and heavy rain can lead to at least minor flooding in many homes. In the event of a flood, it’s important to get the water out as quickly as possible to minimize the damage done to your property.
Having a sump pump and/or French drain system installed in your lowest level can help prevent water from entering your home. In the event of a flood, the systems will work to direct the water away from living areas and back outdoors where it belongs. This can greatly minimize damage to your home, and prevent things like the growth of mold, which can cause further damage even after the storm has passed.
You can’t be sure when the next hurricane is going to make landfall, but you can help take steps to prevent it from causing significant damage when it does. Whether you’re rebuilding or retrofitting your current home, make sure you include some methods of making your home more hurricane resistant to help you weather the next storm as safely as possible.