The 2019 hurricane season caused approximately $13.9 billion in damage; the 2018 hurricane season caused $50 billion in damage; and the 2017 hurricane season caused a staggering $220 billion in damage. Hurricane damage to home exteriors can wreak havoc, leaving homeowners unsure where to start with repairs and wishing their home had been more protected.
While many hurricane solutions need to be built into the structure of the home, here are five actions you can take immediately to increase your home’s resilience in the face of environmental threats.
While we hope you never get caught in a hurricane, knowing if you are in a flood zone and preparing your property for the worst is incredibly important. Before a storm, you need to take in all outdoor furniture, check for vulnerable trees and branches (and remove them if possible), clean your gutters and take note of your home’s building materials’ condition.
Check around the perimeter of your home for anything that could become airborne during a hurricane. The high winds from storms can catapult everyday objects you wouldn’t usually notice into the air, damaging property, breaking windows and even hurting people. Make sure to bring in your patio furniture, garbage cans, tools like rakes or shovels, umbrellas and anything else that can propel.
Check property for dead trees, leaning trees or large branches that could break and fall. You need to make sure all your gutters are clear from leaves and debris so water can drain properly. Otherwise, water can pool and cause roof leaks, flooding or exterior damage that leads to molding or rot.
You should take inventory of your home and document all possessions and how much everything is worth. In the case of damage, you will need to know what needs to be replaced and if it’s covered under your insurance plan.
The building materials of your home will make all the difference in how prepared your home is for hurricane season. Knowing what materials, such as roofing, exterior siding, windows and garage doors, will need to be replaced by a professional is important. If there’s enough time, try and get repairs done before the storm hits. If not, note any areas that may already have minor damage so you can check them immediately after the storm to see if they’ve worsened or failed.
Roofing, windows and doors may be able to be replaced on your own if you are handy. Missing flashing, gutters and shingles are common after a storm, but they won’t necessarily need a professional to repair or replace.
And depending on the siding your home has, you may have escaped with little or no damage.
Certain sidings will need professionals to repair. Stucco and vinyl can be handled on your own if it is just a sheet or two, but if the repair area is larger or deeper than a kit can cover or if windows and corners are involved, it is best to call a professional. You should expect to pay between $40-$50 an hour for labor for a contractor.
Harder to replace materials that will no doubt require a professional installer are brick, stone and wood. Brick and stone also require material removal with extensive damage in addition to the repair costs. Each of these materials require specific repair methods and could cost you a pretty penny.
Other areas you’ll need a professional are for gas leaks and HVAC problems due to flooding. These can be costly repairs and are highly dangerous due to the possibility of explosion, fire, heavy corrosion and breeding grounds for mold, bacteria and other growth that could lead to serious health risks.
Pricing for damage can vary, but specifically for siding, the average cost of damage is $600-$1,200, but can be as high as $2,000. The cost of wind damage alone during hurricanes generally ranges from $880 to almost $11,000 with most homeowners spending between $4,600 and $7,000.
Choosing fiber cement siding, a hurricane resistant siding option, could save your home from endless amounts of damage and extra costs. How? Clip installation systems keep panels in place, and a built-in rainscreen keeps residual water out of the cladding and prevents damage from moisture build-up.
And some fiber cement, like that from Nichiha, has been designed and rated to withstand severe wind pressure and meet strict wind requirements in HVHZ regions.
Waiting out a hurricane or tropical storm is only the beginning. Once the storm is over, it’s important to inspect your home to see the extent of the damage and determine what needs immediate repair. If you’ve built using Nichiha’s fiber cement panels, the chances are lower that you’ll need to add siding to that list.
To learn more about modern fiber cement siding, check out our FAQs here.