How to Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season

Protect_Your_HomeIn Florida, hurricane season is one time of year that you might never be able to fully prepare for. As much as homeowners try to protect their homes, there are some situations where you won’t have control over tropical storm damage. Instead, acting quickly to make repairs and prevent secondary damage from occurring after the storm passes is often the best vice.   There are several beneficial precautionary steps you can take, but once a storm is in full force, there is nothing more you can do other than ride it out and have an emergency preparedness and reaction plan in place for the whole family.

The term ‘Hurricane Season’ itself can be misleading for Florida residents. Typically, what starts out as a category 1 – 5 hurricane in the ocean, downsizes to what is considered to be a tropical storm upon its land fall on Florida’s coast. A storm is classified as a tropical storm when it has winds less than 74 MPH. The true hurricane categories are as follows:

  1. Winds of 74-95 MPH
  2. Winds of 96-110 MPH
  3. Winds of 111-130 MPH
  4. Winds of 131-155 MPH
  5. Winds of 155+ MPH

Most hurricanes downsize in to a tropical storm once they hit Florida’s coastline. However, there are several things that you should do to prepare your home before it hits and to remedy the damages quickly after it passes. Before hurricane season even starts, conduct a home inspection to see where your homes weaknesses are that need to be addressed. Check the roof for leaks, loose or missing shingles, and cracks in the seals and take the necessary steps to correct these issues.

As soon as you know that you are in the path of a severe storm, the first areas to protect are the windows. If you don’t have storm shutters, boarding the windows with plywood is another option as long as they fit securely. Taping your windows is the least effective method. However, if they are broken during the storm it will help to prevent the glass from shattering. During the storm, keep your family in a room or area of the house without windows just in case they do break.

Cleaning up your yard prior to a storm is a beneficial step to help protect your home from significant tropical storm damage. Trim back tree branches or old trees that aren’t strong enough to withstand the constant winds or a squall. Garbage cans and recycle bins can pose major threats to your home in severe weather and high winds if they aren’t secured. Remove any decorative yard features that could also cause additional damage to your, or your neighbors, house.

Make sure you know your surrounding risks and your home’s vulnerability to storm surges, flooding and flying debris. In case of an electrical outage after the tropical storm or hurricane, be sure you are stocked on foods that don’t require cooking and plenty of water. Candles, flashlights, batteries, tarps, and a generator are all important items to have when you are restricted to your house until the storm passes and power comes back on.

Perhaps even more important than the storm preparation, is your response time to fixing the damages. After the storm passes and it is safe to go outside, do a full house and roof inspection to assess the damage. A tropical storm often brings about wind and hail damage. The hail damage removes granules and exposes the asphalt to ultraviolet rays which then leads to deterioration and asphalt migration over time. If you notice any issues right away, or even need help assessing the damage, call on our professionals at AJ Wells to help you determine your losses. The sooner you can get the insurance claim started the better off you will be.

AJ Wells is both a certified roofing contractor and a licensed general contractor, meaning we can help you with repairs for everything from the roof down to the carpets. Oftentimes when you call your insurance company to report damage they will tell you to go ahead and put a tarp over it. However, this is a huge personal liability. Our roofing experts do not recommend for homeowners to get onto a damp, unstable roof after a storm. Instead, let a trained professional handle it by calling a roofing expert before the insurance company. A professional from AJ Wells will tarp the roof for you right away so your home doesn’t suffer any secondary water damages. We will assess your entire home and record all the wind and hail damages we find. If you’d prefer, AJ Wells will also represent and handle your insurance claim.

We have expert knowledge of the claims process to ensure that you get the appropriate settlement for the wind and hail damage your home acquired. Typically, homeowners have a hurricane policy included in their insurance, however, if it was a tropical storm then the deductible tends to be higher. AJ Wells can help you sort through your options and the best way to repair the damage.

Most homes in Jacksonville currently have shingle roofs that are soon reaching the end of their 20 year life span. If your home falls into this category then you might want to consider having a new roof installation before this year’s hurricane season. AJ Wells offers both shingle and metal roofing options. New metal roofing options prove to be a better investment and stronger layer of protection for your home. A few of the benefits of a metal roof are durability, sustainability, energy efficiency, fire and wind resistance, lightweight design and numerous design styles.

Contact AJ Wells for a free estimate before hurricane season rolls through Jacksonville.

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