Hurricane season for those who live in South Florida can be a challenging time of year for both business and homeowners. Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid the path of the hurricane’s eye you will likely still feel their impact as they churn high winds and pelting rains that can be experienced hundreds of miles from the epicenter. The good news is that if you know how to prepare ahead of time you can help avoid problems and damage to your property. That includes your all-important roof, which is the lid that keeps all of that intense weather from invading your home, where it can do extensive, expensive damage and even threaten the health and safety of your family. Here are some expert tips that can help ensure you are ready for this year’s weather – no matter what Mother Nature throws at you in the form of hurricane season chaos.
Check the Roof and Gutter System
Before it’s too late, check your roof and gutters. Conduct preventative monitoring at least twice a year, if not every season.
- Don’t risk doing it on a high ladder. Every year many people wind up in the hospital or worse because of falls while trying to scale a ladder or roof. Instead if you have an annual maintenance plan with your roofer, call them and have them conduct the inspection. If you don’t have a maintenance plan then we suggest you get one.
- Look for telltale signs of potential weakness such as cracked tiles or flashing around vents and dormers. Replace any loose, curling, or missing roofing tiles for example, and ensure that flashing around vents and dormers is intact and properly sealed.
- Be sure to check the gutters, too, to make sure they are clean of leaves and debris and are not sagging or bent. They need to be able to drain properly, and that requires the correct angle to encourage the water to flow into the downspouts.
Take Advantage of Expert Help
Always keep in mind that the roof on your home is one of the most vital structural components, because it protects the entire house. If yours is damaged in a hurricane (and South Florida has seen its fair share) because it was not adequately maintained, will cause tremendous aggravation, not to mention an additional expense that could have potentially been avoided.
When there is insufficient support beneath the surface of the roof which can happen if the original roof was not properly designed or if seepage has created wood rot in the decking, all these damages may go completely undetected until a serious leak develops.
Regardless of what kind of roof you have and whether it is pitched or flat, you should protect your investment by proactively keeping an eye on it. Having a qualified roofing company perform maintenance checks annually will provide additional peace of mind, during a hurricane.
Other Preparation Tips
As soon as you learn that a storm is developing, while there is still plenty of time to get ready, you should start at the boundary of your property and police the area. Work toward your house while looking for any stray items – including lawn furniture, fallen branches, toys, tools, or trash containers that could go airborne in high winds. Gather all the loose items and put them in a secure location such as your basement, garage, or tool shed.
Tree limbs are another potential hazard, especially if they are rotted or diseased. Always keep trees trimmed so that there is no dead or rotten wood that become dislodged. It is also a good idea to have a qualified and reputable arborist check the trees on your property every year or two to make sure that they are in good health and that you do not have any limbs that are ready to come crashing down on you or your roof.
Propane Gas Tanks
You should never store propane inside your home, where it can be potentially hazardous. You also don’t want to leave it out in the middle of hurricane winds, either, because a strong enough wind can hurl it through the air like a hand grenade – or send it flying toward your house with so much force that it will hit it like a wrecking ball.
The solution is to tie it securely to a structure like a sturdy tree stump, the outer wall of a tool shed, a solid retaining wall, or a fence post that is cemented into the ground. If you cannot figure out a safe place to tether the tank just ask your local fire department for advice on what to do until the storm passes.
By the way, if your house uses some form of natural gas for heating and cooking, learn how to turn off the main valve in the event of an emergency and teach that procedure to other family members. That way if a line gets ruptured you can stop the gas from leaking by shutting down the source of the gas before it enters your home.