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While your beautiful coastal home provides you and your family a lot of pleasure, coastal residents face special challenges. One of the biggest challenges you and your family may face are catastrophic weather events such as hurricanes. The decisions you make during the construction or renovation of your coastal home can help protect your family, home and possessions from a severe storm or any local disaster. As a Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina homeowner, you can reduce the risk of coastal living by taking action to help reduce the human and financial consequences of a hurricane.
Let’s review typical coastal home construction to help determine how vulnerable your home may be to hurricane or severe storm damage.
Window, doors and skylights: Install impact-resistant storm shutters on all windows including garage, if applicable; French doors, sliding glass doors and skylights. When selecting opening protection, choose a product with the proper approval for impact-resistance. Your installation company should be able to provide you with information on the different products that meet approved ratings. There are many manufactured storm shutters on the market. They can even be custom designed to fit your home, lifestyle and security needs. If you live in a high-velocity hurricane zone, retrofits on shutters, windows and doors must meet rigorous building standards. Every state has their own requirements and you can find them here:
Entry doors: Install entry doors with at least three hinges and a deadbolt that fully secures into the doorjamb. Ensure the deadbolt extends well into the strike plate or metal on the doorjamb. Double-entry doors should also use surface bolts that extend well into the jambs and floor. Choose solid wood or hollow metal entry doors for added protection from winds and for better security.
Garage doors: Choose impact-resistant garage doors, which are designed to withstand high winds. Due to their size, doublewide garage doors can weaken and collapse in high winds. Some garage doors can be strengthened with retrofit kits that reinforce the doors at their weakest points. Garage door retrofits run between the $150 do-it-yourself project and about $500 if a contractor installs a two-door retrofit, well below the cost of a new garage door. If your home is struck by a hurricane, high winds could enter your home. The weakest construction points tend to fail and damage can become catastrophic.
Roofing: Your home’s roof covering and structure should be designed to withstand high winds. Framing of the home should include all building code approved hurricane straps at the roof to wall connection. It is important to know your roof type to anticipate areas of weakness. For example, gable roofs are more likely to suffer damage from a hurricane, and should be properly braced.
Power Supply: Reliable backup power is more important than ever, consider installing a gas-powered backup generator. In the event of a power outage, a generator allows you to power your appliances, run air conditioning, and provide lighting. You can also help prevent water damage by keeping a sump pump running during the outage.
While it’s often difficult to find money for repairs before you need them, proactive retrofits make your home more severe-weather resistant and helps ensure your family’s safety. Insurance helps after a disaster, but you can never replace the treasured memories of photos, heirlooms and other personal items. Money spent to improve your home’s durability can help you weather the storms that are a big part of living in the Southeast coastal region. If you would like a Frontline homeowner’s insurance quote, visit this link.
Do you know the damage a hurricane can do to your home?
Damage from high winds and high waves, often called “storm surge,” can devastate your home. Strongly consider flood insurance if you live near a coastal area or in a flood zone.
Debris can break windows and doors, which allows high winds to enter your home and cause extensive damage. The force of winds can cause areas in your home that are already weakened to fail.