Mother Nature doesn’t play around, and neither should you. If you live in an area where high winds and hail are a common seasonal hazard, it is crucial to know how you can protect your property. Hail and high wind damage could cause tens of thousands of dollars to your home, so it is just not worth leaving it up to chance.
Investing a little bit of time and money can go a long way and save you from lofty repair jobs so here are some ways that you can protect your home from hail and wind damage.
Fortifying your First Line of Defense
Your roof is the most essential feature of your home for protection against the elements, so the very first thing you should do to get your property ready for hail season is making sure your roof is up to snuff.
The first step is removing the roof covering, the laminated waterproof layer just above the roof deck so that you can inspect the inner layer of the roof itself. This layer is called the roof deck, and you should look for any parts that are de-laminated, cracked, bowed, or otherwise damaged and replace this decking with the same kind of material and thickness.
If you have an older home that hasn’t been reroofed in the past 20 years, then you probably have staples or standard nails holding your roof deck to the framing. These buckle easily in high winds and hail and should be replaced with ring shank nails 2 and 3/8” in length and 0.113” in diameter.
Installing more fasteners as needed is another excellent way to ensure that your roof can hold up to winds that can tear the roof deck from the roof framing.
Next, you should make sure that you have the proper flashing installed. Flashing is used to waterproof your home at weak points in your roof where it meets vertical structures like upper room walls and chimneys.
The Best High Impact Shingles
Once you have fortified the inner layers of the roof, it is time to start considering high impact or impact resistant roofing shingles. These can be a little pricey, but if you live in areas where hail and high wind (Denver, Louisiana, etc.) are present dangers, it is worth it to make the investment.
You are going to want to install only shingles that are class 4. This is a roofing industry standard rating for shingles that can stand up to high impact hail and debris. The best high impact shingles will have a class 4 and a UL 2218 (currently the most top rated impact shingles you can buy) rating. They will generally be made of copper, resin aluminum or plastic.
Hail-Proofing the Lawn
Making sure your lawn is not posing a threat to your home is also vital in protecting your home against the ravages of the elements. For instance, you should start by trimming trees that may be overhanging on your roof or intruding on outer walls and especially glass.
It is a good idea to trim exceptionally long tree limbs even if they are not close to your actual house because a high-wind hail storm can easily rip them off and send them crashing into your home. Also, look for dead, rotting, or dry limbs of trees on your lawn or in your backyard and be sure to shear them off before storm season.
Even smaller shrubs can wreak havoc in a strong enough storm so be sure to trim or remove any shrubs that seem weak or have tenuously held branches.
Defending Your Glass
One of the most vulnerable and dangerous points of any homestead are the glass windows. A powerful storm will make short work of unprotected windows and send glass and debris flying through your home.
The best way to defend your glass is to install storm shutter or hurricane shutters as they are sometimes called. These are permanently affixed to the outside of your window frames and can be engaged or disengaged at any time. They come in a variety of styles such as accordion, roll-up, Bahama style, colonial style, polycarbonate, and more.
The next step you can take is making sure that you aren’t leaving any patio furniture or loose items in your front or backyard. You can tie down items that can’t be moved quickly and bring everything that can inside.
Mind your Gutters
All too often, homeowners forget about their gutters, but the fact of the matter is that your gutters play a significant role in protecting your roof. When gutters are clogged with leaves and debris, rain and melted hail can build up in them and make them heavier than they are built to withstand.
When gutters become overloaded and break off under pressure they leave your roof exposed, and in a bad hail storm, you simply can’t afford to let that happen. Be sure that your gutters and downpipes have been thoroughly cleaned and that no blockages are heading into hail season.
Choosing the Right Contractor
Many will opt to hire a roofing contractor to inspect their roof and make any necessary repairs or new installations. So before you decide on one, make sure that they have references, are fully licensed and insured, try to find one that is a member of regional or national associations. Make sure they explain what they are doing at all stages and get a written proposal for any and all work.
Taking these necessary steps will give you the best chance of avoiding a disaster on your property even when the weather is nothing short of disastrous.