Residential

Making Your Home Hurricane Resistant

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.

Back Up Generators

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.

Insulated Concrete Block Walls

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.

Hurricane Shutters

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.

Sump Pumps and French Drains

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.

Hurricane Proof Your Home

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.