For those of us who live along the coastal regions of Florida, hurricane season is a reality. Sure, a lot of Floridians shrug it off and claim that it comes with the territory. It does, in fact, come with the territory, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact us or that we should ignore it. Of course, one of the best things you can do to protect your home is to take precautions ahead of time. So here are a few tips on how to protect your home during hurricane season. A lot of this may be very familiar to you, but it’s good to be reminded—and to be prepared ahead of time for what we hope will never happen.
A lot of the damage during hurricane season comes from damage done to the roof. And while making sure that your roof doesn’t leak may not stop hurricane- force winds, it can keep the water from heavy rains out of your home. What can you do? Have a trusted professional inspect your roof to ensure all the shingles or tiles are secured and not cracked. Some may recommend that you add roof straps if you don’t already have them. Florida, builders are required to attach a home's roof to the walls with metal straps.
Another major source of damage can come from objects in your yard that become airborne and hit your home. So you’ll want to clear your yard of things that might become wind-borne projectiles. That would include items such as garden fixtures, grills, tools, and lawn furniture. It may be a minor inconvenience to store them in a safe place, but you can easily get them out again later (and it’s more convenient than replacing a picture window that was broken by a rake you left in the yard).
You probably look out your windows without giving them a second thought. But hot weather can damage your window seals to the point that they no longer keep out the driving rains that often accompany hurricanes. Examine your windows and, if necessary, have them re-caulked. Re-caulking won’t stop a hurricane, but it can reduce the damage that hurricane-induced winds bring. Also, don’t forget to look at locations where cables and electrical lines come into your home. Water doesn’t care how it finds its way into your home!
It’s smart to have an inventory of what you have to lose. You’ll want to make sure it’s protected—or at least that it can be replaced. Make an updated list of your list of prized possessions. That list should include items of value you’ll want if you need to submit an insurance claim. Use the camera on your smartphone to make a visual list, and tag the photos with a short description and a monetary value.
Look at Your Insurance
This is a good time of year to ensure that your insurance policy will cover the full cost of rebuilding your home if you lose it in a storm. Remember that property values tend to increase so you don’t want to assume that the insured value of your home will really cover the cost for you to rebuild. Also, you’ll want to be sure your insurance covers flooding. Past hurricane survivors found out the hard way that they were covered for hurricane damage—but not for flooding.
What if You Do Have Damage?
What happens if you take all the precautions you should and still sustain damage? The good news is that you don’t have to simply repair the damage . . . you can actually make things better! You can look at your existing situation and make improvements to your existing home.
That’s where a design-build remodeler can really benefit you. Instead of just replacing the things you may have lost to a tropical storm you can rebuild your home to make it even better. A design-build contractor doesn’t just look at restoring your home. He or she looks at ways to maximize the space you have and turn it into something that meets your needs and expectations.
It’s good to be prepared for what may come during hurricane season. But smart Naples homeowners look beyond replacement to consider the possibilities of improvements—even in the face of difficult circumstances.