Prepare NOW For Storm Wind Damage
While in hurricane season, it is the time to think about storm damage, even here in the northeast. Preparing your business or home now can help prevent unnecessary damages to your building when that storm hits.
Wind can come in the form of hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, microbursts, or downdrafts. It can be valuable to understand the impact of high winds and how to best protect your business, home, and property from wind damage. There are many ways to reinforce a building against wind damage — some are simple enough to DIY while others may require a pro.
First, inspect your building's roof, siding, windows and doors, and even landscaping to identify vulnerable spots. Replacing many of these items can be very expensive, so this may not be an option. However, being prepared to install temporary protection in the event of a storm that brings high winds and heavy rains may be all you need to do. No solution is perfect; mother nature knows that, but doing nothing to prepare is not the best option either.
When considering the role doors play in protecting buildings from high winds, it is customary to think about our exterior doors first. They are the doors that provide the first line of defense from high winds and blowing debris.
While wind-resistant doors and break-resistant glass play a significant role in fighting winds, interior doors are also essential. In hurricane winds or when a tornado may be imminent, all doors and windows, including every interior door, should be closed. This can prevent pressure build-up inside a building, leading to losing a room. Closing interior doors will also help compartmentalize damage from wind or rain if there is a breach in the exterior of a building.
Impact-resistant doors are the best possible solution, but if these are not installed, then:
- inspect doors for any cracks or missing or damaged hardware.
- Ensure no air leaks around the door and replace standard hinge screws with longer, stronger screws that will reach into the wall frame.
- Ensure the threshold seals the door bottom and is screwed deeply into the floor.
- Add a deadbolt to exterior doors that extend a minimum of one inch.
- If you have French-style double doors, make sure they are refitted with bolts that extend at least an inch into the floor.
- Finally, reinforce doors (and windows) with sheets of plywood when a hurricane approaches. This can be cost-effective and should be planned.
Many items in a yard can quickly turn into projectiles during high winds. These items make a building's windows vulnerable during high winds, especially when standard glass is used.
Even a small branch or piece of flying debris can start a landslide of damage once a window is cracked. As winds continue to put force on the broken window, the break can become more extensive and even cause the complete failure of the window. Winds and rain now have even greater access to the building's interior, creating further damage. Once winds enter a space, the entire structure, including the roof, is at risk.
There are only two options when it comes to providing better window protection. One is to cover or reinforce windows, and the other is to upgrade windows to high-impact glass.
The roof is one of the most significant parts of a building. It is helpful to think of it as a combination of materials that protect your home from the elements and help keep warmth and cool air inside.
The roof is susceptible to damage in high winds for various reasons. As a roof ages, shingles can become brittle and lose adhesion to the structure. Older roofs aren't reinforced as well as more modern structures and are more easily damaged. While a roof is large and heavy, it can be no match for high winds as elements get peeled away, or the entire roof structure may even be lifted away. Of course, once the roof has been compromised, wind and water can enter the interior of the building, and the entire building will be at risk.
There is no additional protection you can provide for a roof except repairing damaged sections or replacing the roof entirely.
A garage door is typically the most significant moving part of an entire home. Generally speaking, garage doors are designed to move upward and downward. Under the stress of high winds, they can and do fail. This can cause a chain reaction of destruction and damage to a home once wind and moisture are introduced to the area.
Check to see that all seals around the door are good enough to prevent winds from entering. Protecting a garage door can be done with special braces or installing plywood as you would with windows.
Another area of a home that should be of concern in high winds is the siding. Like the roof, windows, and doors, keeping a home's siding inspected and properly maintained will go a long way in maintaining its integrity in a windstorm. Like those other areas, the key is preventing the wind from getting a foothold behind the siding, allowing it to tear it off of the structure.
Preparing the siding of a building is to repair damages sections and gaps where wind could enter or complete replacement of the system.
Landscaping and Outdoor Items
An important component of protecting a building in high winds is minimizing the potential projectiles that can become airborne. These projectiles can result from trees and limbs and from an assortment of yard items.
Depending on how much warning you have prior to a wind event, these items should be safely stored. Larger items which cannot be stored should be disassembled and stored, or at the very least turned upside down and secured to the ground. You should consider every item not secured in their outdoor spaces as a potential projectile.
Taking Shelter Indoors
The safest place in a building during a high wind event is generally the same; an interior room on the lowest level of a structure, away from windows and exterior doors. In some cases, this may be a basement or a first-floor interior closet or bathroom.
Be sure to take a battery operated radio or weather radio with you along with a flashlight. Blankets may offer additional protection and in severe cases, mattresses can be used to provide cover. If an interior bathroom is used, the tub can provide additional protection.
When disaster strikes your home or business, choose the #1 ranked in Restoration Services. Choose SERVPRO of Western Essex County.
Contact us at (973) 994-1640 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Western Essex County's System Services.