Before Hurricane Irma hit, Florida Keys was the ultimate getaway. Now the sand and palms of America’s southernmost tip have turned into a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
According to FEMA estimates, Irma destroyed 25 percent of homes in Florida Keys. Property owners who paid for the awesome sea view but not the spilling ocean water are now looking at the risks of inclement weather.
How to Weatherproof your Home in Florida Keys
Hurricanes are among the worst types of weather disturbances. They carry strong winds and storm surges that can blow away roofs, break down doors, shatter windows, submerge basements, and send debris flying all over the place.
There are 18 states that are considered hurricane-prone. Among them, Florida has the strictest building codes that require homes to be weatherproof.
Here are some of the home improvements you can do to protect your Florida Keys home from violent storms.
A super strong hurricane can rip your roof apart. Without the roof, your home is completely exposed to the elements. If the roof collapses, it might even extend the damage to the structure of the house. The state of Florida allows only certain materials and shapes of roofs to ensure optimal load and runoff.
If you need to secure your roof before the hurricane arrives, you can try installing lateral anchors, tie downs, and embedded connectors. It is best to hire a professional to do this for you. They are more knowledgeable on the kind of products to use, how many you need, where to install them, and how to comply with the local building code.
If you prefer to do it yourself, one option is to glue your roof to the beams with a heavy-duty construction adhesive. Check the shingles for loose seals and glue down the ones that are located around the roof edge.
Glass windows are extremely vulnerable during bad weather. Strong winds carry debris that can come crashing through your window. Sometimes, just the speed of the wind can cause glass to shatter.
One way to weatherproof your windows is to install sturdy storm shutters. Before the hurricane arrives, lock your shutters to protect all the glass panes.
If your windows are due for a replacement, choose impact-resistant storm windows to protect your home from storm winds.
The most vulnerable entryway of your home is the garage door. If it breaks down, storm winds can enter the house and tear the roof apart.
You have the option to replace your existing doors with made to measure wooden gates which are storm-resistant models. If a new door is not possible under your current budget, you could reinforce your existing doorways so they do not give way during a hurricane. Replace old hinges and screws. Install a heavy-duty dead bolt instead of a regular lock. Consult with a professional builder from ASP Windows and Doors on how to purchase and install a retrofit kit for bracing your garage door.
Secure your patio, porch, or lanai by replacing sliding glass doors with storm-resistant panels and thicker frames. Storm screens can also protect doors from natural forces.
Keep your landscape free of debris
If you have trees on your property, make sure that you inspect them before the start of hurricane season. Trim branches that extend over power lines and parts of your home. Check for cracks in the trunk or if the tree is leaning to one side. These could be signs of unstable roots that could result in trees toppling over during a storm.
Remove any landscaping decor that could turn into projectiles during a hurricane. These include potted plants, lawn furniture, rocks, gnomes, gravel and solar lamps.
Let water flow away from your house
Clean your gutters and downspouts regularly to make sure that nothing blocks the flow of water away from your house during a storm. Backups can result in water damage to your roof and attic.
Keep your basement and crawl spaces dry with sump pumps and an efficient drainage system.
Weatherproofing your home in Florida Keys does not mean your property is 100% protected from the wrath of a storm. If evacuation is a must, be sure to take your family to safety before the hurricane wreaks havoc.
ASP Windows is devoted to helping the community prepare for future hurricanes. If you have additional questions about how to protect your Florida Keys home, we are happy to assist. Contact us today!