Although hurricane season started back in June, it’s right around the back-to-school time when US homeowners really need to start thinking about shoring up their defenses in preparation for a potentially disastrous storm. Record-breaking storms in recent years show how much damage a homeowner – and indeed, a whole community – could be in for if a serious storm hits. Even smaller storms pose a risk of flooding, wind damage, and other problems.
Your garage is a particularly vulnerable spot in your home during a storm. Take a look at what you need to know about preparing your home garage for a hurricane.
Your Garage Door
The garage door is a particularly vulnerable spot, as it’s the largest opening into your home. It’s important to make sure that you have a garage door that’s ready and able to protect you and your family.
The first thing you can do is to find out whether your garage door is wind-rated. If you’re not sure, having a garage door inspection can tell you whether your existing door is wind-rated, as well as about how old the door is. If your door is not rated for hurricanes or is especially old, replacing it might be the best way to go.
If your garage door is not ready to stand up to a hurricane but replacing it is too expensive or too time-consuming, your next best bet is to buy a bracing system. Brace kits are readily available in most home-improvement stores. If you have a two-car garage, you’ll need two brace kits, one for each side. If you only have one garage door, the brace goes in the middle.
Your garage windows are just as vulnerable as any other windows in your home to breakage during a storm. Protecting them can help protect the items inside your garage from water damage and breakage and can also protect you from flying glass.
You’ve probably seen others place big Xs made of duct tape across their windows, but you should know that this is not recommended. The duct tape won’t stop your windows from breaking under pressure, but it will ensure that the pieces of glass that go flying during a break are larger and more dangerous than they would be without the duct tape. Instead, install hurricane shutters or use 5/8-inch plywood pieces to cover windows and prevent breakage.
Sandbags or No Sandbags?
Sandbags are a common sight in front of homes during hurricane season, but do they really help? Experts say that in cases of more than a couple inches of flooding, the answer is probably no, especially if you only have enough sandbags to place directly in front of a door, garage, or another opening. To be effective, you would need enough sandbags to completely block all routes for incoming water. What’s more, if you’re in an evacuation zone, even lots of perfectly placed sandbags probably won’t help; in that case, you need to focus on securing your home as best you can and getting out safely.
If all you’re expecting to get is a slight brush with the hurricane and having some sandbags to block the openings into your home makes you feel more secure, go for it. But don’t waste too much time or energy on them, especially if you’re expecting storm surges or very heavy winds. There are more effective things that you could be doing to secure your home.
To find out more about garage safety and severe weather planning contact us for a free design consultation and estimate.