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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Home Improvements and Hurricanes

The weather has been sunny and windy. The wind has not helped us in our quest to finish painting the house but the temperature is just right for other things. It's helpful to make a check list of the things that need to be done. I had been lucky in the past, for example, in my old house I went through hurricane George in 98, it took down a tree but I had minimal roof damage. Fast forward to June of 01 and along comes tropical storm Alicia. She caused way more damage and as I was having a new roof put on the roofer explained to me that I was a damn fool for staying in the house for any storm. It seems that when new plywood went on the house only every other board was nailed down! Then we had some rot in the corner soffits of the house. I had a bad feeling and had it fixed right before Katrina came calling. It was a good thing because if I hadn't, the roof on half the house probably would have blown off instead of just damage as it was the side that was hit the hardest. Also if my ceilings would have been screwed in instead of nailed in it probably wouldn't have had it come down. The subdivision I lived in and the one I live in now was built right after Camille. There are some things that were more up to code, like hurricane trusses and steel framed windows but corners were cut in other areas, like nailing sheet rock and only nailing every other board on the roof! After getting hit with Katrina, most home owners who still had homes pretty much knew where their weaknesses were. And please don't assume if you buy a new home, post Katrina, that your house was built with that in mind. There are some new subdivisions being put up with spit and glue, and right next to and around canals and water retention ponds. Doesn't make much sense to me.
Try to replace damaged wood, secure gutters, think about hurricane shutters and yard drainage. Make sure out buildings can be secured. Decluttering is a good idea also not just to get rid of stuff but to make room for things you have to put away in case of a hurricane. Not just for things outside but if you are in danger of flooding you will need clear spaces to put things up higher. An effort put in now can save you heartache, frustration and loss later.

1 comment:

Bellen said...

Very good advice. I'm in SW FL and was here for Charley. Now, everyone picks up all loose outdoor stuff at the merest hint of a hurricane. We had a Wind Mitigation inspection done for insurance reasons - found our trusses were not only strapped to the roof but the straps were wrapped around the trusses - best way to go.

It was worth the $250 spent on a home inspection to determine if anything needed repair, reinforcment etc. Our inspector is a former engineer who takes his job very seriously because he was digusted with inspections he had seen done.

Probably his 2 best pieces of advice - if having any work done on your house be sure to check references and then watch everything that is done and second, do a monthly inspection of both interior and exterior of your house and fix anything you see!!

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