Storms are a serious threat to most homes in the United States. A Congressional Budget Office analysis puts the average cost of storm damage each year at $54 billion, with much of it going to residential homes. Even houses that aren’t leveled by hurricane-force winds and devastating floods can lose shingles and siding in a bad storm. Learning how to prevent storm damage to your home is part of responsible ownership. It’s also one of the best ways to keep your home costs under control, regardless of the weather.
Start Outside the House
The effort to protect your home from storm damage starts outside, from the property’s edge to the foot of the house. Some basic conservation can keep your property safe during storms.
Plant Trees as Windbreaks
Wind is the leading cause of storm damage. One of the easiest ways to keep wind speed over your property low is to plant tall, leafy trees upwind of your house. A solid screen of trees can act as a windbreak, and they might catch debris heading toward your home.
Trim Problem Trees
Trees are great, but they can’t be too close to your house. Trees that jut over a roof or lean toward your home can easily cause tons of damage in a storm. This mostly occurs with older trees or trees that are too heavy on one side. You can prevent storm damage to your home from falling trees by regularly trimming lopsided branches and clearing weakened old trees from near your house.
Ensure Good Drainage
Flood water is another destroyer of property in a storm. If water pools around your house, it can seep into the foundation and cause uneven settling. Eventually, this leads to cracks in the masonry or water damage to siding and walls. Prevent this by casting good drainage around your house that leads water away from foundations and pavement.
Fix Small Problems Early
Sometimes small problems become big deals during storm season. Taking a few steps to fix minor issues early can make the difference when a major storm blows through. Small fixes include:
Cleaning the gutters: Cleaning the gutters is a chore, but it can be imperative to protecting your home from storm damage. Your roof is a large collection surface for rainwater, which flows wherever gravity takes it. Clean gutters catch that water and shunt it away from your house. Clogged gutters, however, enable water to drop right onto the foot of your walls, and if part of the soil under your slab swells up from the water while the other side doesn’t, the shear could crack your foundation.
Maintaining the sump pump: Homes constructed in wet climates or places with a high water table often have a sump pump to help keep the basement dry. Under normal conditions, the pump doesn’t have to work hard to keep water out. When a storm drops several inches of water on your property, however, a poorly maintained pump might not keep up. Even gentle rain over several days can raise the water table and flood your basement with water.
Fixing loose shingles and siding: Between the high winds and hard rain, siding and shingles suffer the most. Storm damage to a roof often begins with shingles or shakes warping in the extremes of winter and summer. Nails come loose over time, as does flashing. When storm-force winds hit a weakened roof, shingles can fly off. This exposes the underlayer of the roof, accelerating the damage storms can inflict.
Siding has similar issues. Aluminum siding, for example, is usually set in long strips, which have only a few connection points to each other and the wall underneath. If a few of these work loose over the years, it only takes one storm to lift off a panel and send it flying. As with roof shingles, a single missing piece of siding accelerates the damage and causes other parts to drop off faster.
Protect Your Home From Storm Damage
You can protect your home from storm damage by inspecting the roof and exterior work at least once a year. Storm damage happens fast, but there are ways to prevent extreme cases from occurring to your property. Thompson Creek has professional builders who can inspect your house and share valuable tips on how to prevent storm damage inside and out. Contact us for a free estimate today.