Home Storm Preparation

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Make sure your roof and windows are ready for severe weather.

Storm season is well underway, and it’s time to start thinking about storm preparedness. Your home’s roof and windows could take a beating, receiving the brunt of wind and hail damage. But while you can’t control the weather, you can take steps to weatherproof your home. Here are some ways to minimize a storm’s impact through proper storm preparation.

Clear the gutters. Removing debris, such as leaves, from your gutters ensures that water runoff from your roof drains properly — away from your home, says Dave Lincon, director of product management and business development at Sears Home Improvement Products. It also prevents backups that could cause water to pool and damage your roof. Make sure your gutter downspouts are pointed away from your home so water won’t collect near the foundation.

Look up. Walk around the perimeter of your home, inspecting the roof for missing shingles or rotted wood on fascia boards. These run along the roofline and act as a finishing trim, usually where the gutters are attached. Lincon also suggests looking for protruding nails because those shingles could blow off in high winds.

Seal windows. Prior to a storm, inspect your windows and make sure you know how to seal a window. Use caulk to seal any window cracks that could cause leaks. Make sure to scrape away old caulking first to ensure the new adheres for a good seal. And when it’s time to batten down the hatches, make sure to securely lock and latch all windows to keep out any leaks or drafts.

Add shutters and storm windows. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, weatherproofing your home is essential. Invest in exterior-grade plywood or metal shutters to protect your windows from high winds and debris. If your home has older windows that might not hold up during a severe storm, consider having storm windows installed. Impact-rated windows will provide protection and still allow for natural light. “The added bonus,” says Lincon, “is that you don’t have the hassle of installing the wood shutters, and don’t need to have the space requirements to store them after the storm is gone.” Storm windows also will help make your home more energy-efficient by reducing drafts in the winter.

Trim the trees. Tree branches that come crashing down due to strong winds during a storm can cause significant property damage. Remove branches that seem likely to fall. If there’s one growing directly over the roof that’s too large to remove yourself, it’s best to call a professional, Lincon says.

Bring in an expert. It might be a good idea to have licensed roofing professionals perform an inspection prior to storm season. If you have an older roof, they’re equipped to assess areas that could be the most vulnerable to storm damage. Plus, they can make any minor repairs that could prevent larger problems from cropping up after you’ve weathered the storm.

If a storm does cause damage to your roof, windows or siding, make sure to secure the area and notify your insurance company, Lincon says. Then call in a repairman. For a free consultation, contact Sears Home Services at 1-888-565-4048.