Prepping Your Home for Different Natural Disasters

Insulation
Appraisal and Home Inspection
Walls
By Contractors.com Team July 19, 2021

Disasters do not start when a hailstorm shatters windows or a tree is knocked onto a roof. They start when homeowners neglect to prepare and instead take the risk of trusting mother nature. You can never be too safe when it comes to natural disasters as regardless of how accurate modern meteorology is, there is always some room for error. 

While we cannot predict or prevent natural disasters we can do our best to minimize the damage they can do to our homes. And when you consider just how much damage natural disasters are capable of on an annual basis, prepping for natural disasters may just become a higher priority. On an annual basis, wildfires cause around $800 million worth of damage, hurricanes cause $1.9 billion worth, and snowstorms a whopping $2.1 billion. 

This is a lot of money and while a large chunk of it is inevitably going to be lost to the elements, there are still some steps homeowners can take to keep the damage to a minimum. The effectiveness of your countermeasures will depend to some extent on the natural disaster, location, and your home’s structure. You can rest assured, however, that if you take precautions you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you did everything you could to protect your home and family. 

Have a Storm Kit on Standby

Everything You'll Need for a Fully-Stocked Storm Kit

Everything You'll Need for a Fully-Stocked Storm Kit

We can start with one of the easier proactive steps to take that will help you and your family storm the chaos. Storms are not always a life or death situation, but they can be quite dangerous.

A storm kit is perfect to have on hand if a storm hits hard. You will have emergency food and water supplies, but there are also a variety of tools you can have on hand as well. These tools will help you prevent bigger disasters from happening, be it a malfunctioning pipe or fuse. For example, if the power goes out you should have a flashlight on hand. If your home becomes filled with debris you need to be able to see where you’re going to avoid any hazards. 

Your storm kit should include a small assortment of basic tools, such as a screwdriver, wrench, hammer, etc. These will come in handy in case you need to reroute electricity or turn off the water mains. While this will not keep your home safe from the storm directly, it will allow you to make some small repairs that could save your home from further damage.

How to Prepare for Flooding 

Best Ways to Protect Your Basement From Flooding

Best Ways to Protect Your Basement From Flooding

Many individuals who live on the waterfront frequently need help on how to prepare for a monsoon. Living in an area close to a large body of water has its advantages, the biggest one being that you live close to the seaside. The advantages pretty much speak for themselves, but one problem with waterfront houses is that floods are quite common. To prevent flooding from causing too much damage you must take certain precautions.

While a big enough flood can destroy your house entirely, it is far more common for floods to damage the basement as the water does not rise past the ground level. So, at the very least you should find ways of waterproofing your basement. Luckily, there are three primary methods of basement waterproofing: interior waterproofing, exterior waterproofing, and irrigation channel waterproofing. Using a combination of all three will be the most effective way to prevent extensive water damage and keep your basement bone dry. 

How to Prepare for a Hurricane or Tornado

Most Trusted Storm-Proofing Methods and Tricks

Most Trusted Storm-Proofing Methods and Tricks

One of the biggest causes of home damage during a hurricane or tornado are flying objects that come loose during the storm. Countless windows, roofs, and other areas of a structure can be damaged as a result of a flying lawn chair or a loose fence picket. If you are preparing for a storm with strong winds, be it a blizzard, tornado, or even a hurricane, it is important to collect loose pieces of furniture, decor, and other items and bring them inside. 

Ensure that everything in your backyard that is not tethered is brought indoors. For bigger pieces of furniture that are not likely to be blown away, you can simply tie them to the ground using a sturdy chain. If possible tie these items to a solid object to keep them from shifting. 

Weather-Proofing Home to Withstand Even the Strongest Storms

Weather-Proofing Home to Withstand Even the Strongest Storms

It is also very important to ensure that your fence is in good condition. Loose picket fence boards are prone to be blown away by a strong gust of wind. This not only damages your fence but can also pose a lot of danger to nearby objects and people. Imagine a loose, sharp wooden board flying through the air at high speed and you get the picture; it can cause lots of damage. Take a look at your fence, replace old or missing nails, and check its sturdiness before the storm hits. 

Any point of entry into your home, be it a door, window, archway, balcony, or skylight, is vulnerable to breaking. By far among the most fragile areas of your home’s exterior, the entryway can easily become damaged, allowing a storm to invade your home and damage its interior. With no windows or doors to keep the elements out, your interior is also going to see plenty of damage as a result. 

Your best bet is to reinforce these thresholds before the storm even gets close. For a temporary fix, you can nail wooden boards on the outside of the windows and doors. This will protect them from flying debris. For a more permanent solution, you can install special weather-proof shutters as well as reinforced window and door frames that can withstand greater force than the standard ones.

Biggest Dangerous On Your Lawn and Backyard During Windy Storms

Biggest Dangerous On Your Lawn and Backyard During Windy Storms

Unfortunately, trees also regularly topple over during powerful storms. Even if you have the strongest, healthiest looking maple tree growing in your backyard this does not eliminate the possibility of loose branches smashing right through your exterior cladding, roof, or windows. With a strong enough wind, even the sturdiest tree can and will fall. Even if all that falls are a few branches, that’s still nothing to shake a stick at.

As such it is a good idea to prune the weaker branches of the tree to ensure that they do not break off and fly straight through your expensive window installation. Consider hiring a professional gardener for this job. Pruning is not always self-explanatory and there is a lot of nuance to it. You do not want to accidentally cut off a perfectly healthy branch. Also, clambering about a tall tree to perform tree surgery is a rather dangerous task if you don’t know what you’re doing. Ask a professional to take a look at the trees closest to your house.

Of course, the most prudent course of action would be to take these precautionary measures without necessarily having a storm warning - just a sunny regular day would be best.

How to Prepare for a Wildfire

Taking All the Little Precautions to Fire-Proofing Your Home

Taking All the Little Precautions to Fire-Proofing Your Home

Wildfires are one of the biggest natural disasters plaguing the southwestern coast of the United States today. All it takes is one small flame and soon countless acres of land are scorched and a huge amount of wildlife is lost, not to mention so many homes. While putting out a wildfire is a huge undertaking and preventing it is a completely different story in its own right, you can take steps to keep the fire from spreading.

If you are into gardening, it’s a good idea to check how often your area experiences wildfires. If they are common, consider getting plants that are not as flammable or prone to drying up. Dried-out plants are the perfect fuel for a wildfire to get even more powerful. Succulents, cacti, or aloe-type plants are known to be more fire-resistant. As for trees, you have the option of planting maple or cherry trees. Ask a master gardener to show you the ropes in terms of which plants will not contribute to a wildfire.  But it will also help here to prune your trees and maintain your lawn regularly in order to have as few dried up leaves and twigs about as possible. 

How to Prepare for Landslides and Earthquakes

Biggest Dangers to Avoid Around Your House During an Earthquake

Biggest Dangers to Avoid Around Your House During an Earthquake

Earthquakes and landslides can be scary, but sometimes the shaking is not the scariest part. We have all kinds of items and pieces of furniture all over the house that can come loose or fall over at any minute. So if the earthquake does not cause any damage to our homes these interior items certainly will. Earthquake proofing your home involves finding items that could shift and doing your best to secure them. 

If possible, nail or screw pieces of furniture to the wall and floor. You can do this by using specialized brackets that are designed to hold a lot of weight. Ensure that before you purchase the brackets you know what their maximum weight threshold is. Also, speak with a licensed contractor or carpenter who will help you determine where to fasten the furniture. Some walls are not strong enough to support a lot of weight so you should try to find the strongest portions of your interior for this purpose.

The most proactive step you can take in preparing your home for a landslide or earthquake is to give it a structural retrofit and make sure your home is as sturdy and stable as possible.

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team