By now you know that Florida is a high-risk environment exposed to seasonal hurricanes? The flatness of the state lends itself to large flood plains that fill up whenever there is a storm. If you live in such a flood plain, and you probably do, now might be a great time to inspect your home for vulnerabilities. Here are five highly recommended renovations for adding more layers of protection against strong winds, heavy rains and flooding.
High Impact Windows
These windows are specially designed, coded and tested to resist projectiles hurled at high speed. Make sure the windows you choose have received a certified rating and FEMA approval code to qualify as a high impact product. Don’t just take the company’s word for it. Do your research with a reputable government agency before you go shopping. Additionally, confirm the window frames are also approved to hold impact windows, otherwise you could find your high impact investment flying out of the window framing with the first hurricane gust.
If high impact windows are out of your budget this year, storm shutters are the next best investment you can make to protect your home during hurricane season. There are different types of shutters at varying degrees of protection. According to Hilary Farr’s Rules of Renovation, paneled shutters are put up before the season begins and taken down at the end of the season and can be difficult for some individuals to put up by themselves. Accordion shutters stay up year-round and, like the name implies, fold back into an open position during the off-season. When properly maintained, almost anyone is able to close and lock these shutters prior to a pending storm.
If you haven’t repaired or replaced your roof in a few years, now is a good time to have it inspected. It is an expense, to be sure, but a vulnerable roof is often the first thing to go during hurricane-strength winds, and if it does blow or tear off, your home will sustain considerable damage. Even if your roof inspector says it is still in good shape, you may still want to consider installing roof-to-wall connections to add another layer of strength.
Much like high impact windows and shutters protect strong winds from entering your home, there are specially coded doors and shutters for your garage. Keep in mind that any unprotected area of your home has the potential to be a point of entry for high-speed winds and can lead to a sudden imbalance of pressure, which could cause your roof to blow off.
If you have a basement, make sure you have a sump pump that is in good operating condition and has a properly-installed battery back-up or generator. It is a good idea to have your sump pump installed, inspected and maintained annually.
Taking time now to prepare your home for the next “big one” is both a time and financial investment that you won’t regret later.
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Robert Slack Fine Homes
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