Outside Your House
- Check all trees and bushes around your house, and remove damaged or dead limbs. Encourage your neighbors to do the same – a flying branch from next door can cause just as much damage as a limb from one of your own trees, after all.
- Replace loose gravel landscaping with bark.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts so they drain properly.
- Create a plan for securing lawn furniture, grills and children’s outdoor play equipment – you don’t want anything coming loose and flying around during the storm.
The Structure Itself
Remember that windows, doors and your roof are all vulnerable to damage from hurricane-force winds, so you want them to be as strong as possible.
- If you remodel, choose impact-resistant window systems, especially for sliding or patio doors.
- Obtain shutters to protect your windows. There are three types of shutters: accordion and roll-down shutters are permanently installed on your house, while storm panels are installed when needed. Get your shutter system certified impact resistant from SAMIVER. Plywood is not a good shutter choice and doesn’t meet current building code, but if you must use it make sure it’s at least ½” thick and has been treated for outdoor use. Note that window film and tape provide no protection against flying debris.
- If you have older skylights, replace them with new products that meet current codes for wind resistance.
- Make sure your garage door can resist high winds. All garage doors should have permanent stiffeners. Newer doors come with them, but if you can’t install stiffeners on your older door. You’d install them before a storm hits, and uninstall afterwards.
- Outside doors should have a minimum of three hinges, and a deadbolt that extends a full inch. Make sure the doors are securely anchored to the framing.
- Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles which could let in wind or rain. If the roof doesn’t meet current codes for wind resistance, upgrade at the first opportunity.