Coastal homeowners are more vulnerable now than ever to the damage caused by hurricanes, which data trends have shown have been consistently intensifying over the years. While it may be challenging to prepare for these storms, there are steps that homeowners can take to ensure that their properties are weather-proofed and protected from potential damage. Here we provide an overview of why it's essential to weather-proof homes for hurricanes with the potential consequences of storm damage, the steps homeowners can take to prepare their homes, and how we can help.
Research has shown that hurricane intensity is increasing over time (New York Times). In a 2013 study, researchers found a substantial global increase in the proportion of the strongest hurricanes - category 4 and 5 storms (Yale Climate Connections). A 2013 study found a substantial regional and global increase in the proportion of the strongest hurricanes – category 4 and 5 storms. At the same time, “the increase in those most powerful of storms is balanced by a similar decrease in category 1 and category 2 hurricanes.” They attribute this increase to global warming, which has caused a 25-30 percent per degree Celsius increase in these types of storms. “Generally speaking, the warmer the water temperatures, the more heat energy is available and the higher the potential for tropical cyclones to develop. So it’s reasonable to assume that as humans continue to release planet-warming greenhouse gasses, the likelihood of tropical cyclone activity increases.”
Another study found that rapid intensification, defined as an increase of wind speed of at least 35 mph in 24 hours, has been increasing at a rate of 4.4 mph per decade since 1986. NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory used “simulations from one of the most advanced climate models available, called HiFLOR” concluded from their research that they “cannot attribute the rapid intensification gains to human-caused warming, [but] they do say human-caused warming significantly increases extreme tropical cyclone intensification rates in the HiFLOR model.” So regardless of the cause, research shows coastal storms are increasing in intensity and likely will continue doing so in the coming years.
These changes have resulted in significant damage to properties, leaving homeowners to deal with the aftermath of the storm. Thus, it's crucial to weather-proof homes for hurricanes to avoid the potential consequences of storm damage. When high winds combine with rain bombs, water can quickly enter homes through windows and doors, causing water intrusion that can damage finishes and create an environment for mold formation. The aftermath of a hurricane can be chaotic and stressful, with many homeowners facing the challenge of repairing or rebuilding their homes. By taking proactive steps to weather-proof your home, you can reduce the risk of damage and the hassle of repairs in the event of a hurricane.
One of the most important steps you can take is to prepare your windows and doors. Most homeowners are not aware that all windows and doors can experience water infiltration once their water penetration limit is exceeded. The standard Water Penetration Rating (WTP) by industry standards is only 15% of the Performance Grade (PG). To put this into perspective, a PG50 performance grade means a 50 psf (pounds per square foot) design pressure, equivalent to a wind velocity of 141 mph. The associated WTP is 7.5 psf, roughly equivalent to a wind velocity of 54 mph. Therefore, it's essential to weather-proof homes to prevent water intrusion through windows and doors, which can lead to significant damage and expensive repairs.
One of the most significant consequences of hurricane damage is the cost of repairs. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused unprecedented damage to homes in southeast Texas, resulting in over $125 billion in damage. High rebuild costs are often beyond the means of many homeowners, leaving them with significant financial burdens. Homeowners can avoid such costs by taking steps to weather-proof their homes and prevent damage from hurricanes.
The best way to prepare for hurricanes is to weather-proof homes by securing windows and doors. One way to do this is to install hurricane shutters or impact-resistant windows, which can withstand high winds and prevent water intrusion. Homeowners can also reinforce doors with stronger hinges and locks to prevent them from blowing open during a storm.
Another way to weather-proof homes is to ensure that the roof is in good condition. Homeowners can do this by inspecting the roof regularly and repairing any damage, such as missing or damaged shingles. They can also install hurricane straps, which can help keep the roof attached to the house during a storm.
It's also essential to take steps to prevent water intrusion by sealing gaps around windows and doors. Homeowners can use weatherstripping or caulking to seal gaps, which can prevent water from entering the home. They can also install a waterproof barrier behind the siding to prevent water from entering through the walls.
While there are many small things you can take care of yourself, our products and professional evaluation can improve upon these tenfold. These measures may require an initial investment of time and money, the cost of repairing or rebuilding a home after a hurricane can be much greater. By taking steps to weather-proof your home now, you can protect your property and your family from the devastating effects of a future hurricane.
Two Different Types of Window and Door Protection
Storm panels and roll-down shutters are two different solutions for increasing window and door storm-readiness. Each option has its pros and cons, which should be considered before making a decision.
Storm Panels, also known as hurricane shutters, are demountable light weight panels which a homeowner can easily insert into pre-installed attachment channels installed by professionals. These panels can be deployed in advance of a named storm or can remain in place for seasonal protection. These shutters are made of clear polycarbonate thus allowing natural light to enter the structure. Panels and attachment hardware are engineered to withstand hurricane-force winds and flying debris. The benefits of professional seasonal closures include:
Affordability: Lower cost than mechanized shutters. No forward moving maintenance cost.
Durability: Hurricane rated storm panels are made of high-quality materials that are designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and flying debris.
Ease of use: Panels are numbered to your home's window and door locations. Panels are lightweight and easy to store away..
Requires more effort from the property owner or maintenance contractor to deploy panels.
Upper Level Openings may be more difficult to install or require staging.
Roll-Down Shutters are another option for homeowners looking to increase their window and door storm-readiness. Permanently installed, these rolling shutters can be quickly rolled up or down using built in motors or manual crank rods. These shutters are also engineered to strict performance standards.
Convenience and Safety: Always at the ready for fast protection and peace-of-mind.
Homeowners can control motorized shutters remotely and operate them without calling on professional services to put up or take down.
Not a DIY product installation: The design and installation of these shutters requires experienced professionals and a significant investment. Homeowners should seek contractors who specialize in installation and service of these products.
Maintenance Expense: Like your automobile, Roll Shutters must be maintained and cleaned routinely to insure reliable use and to extend the life cycle of the product.
In terms of cost-benefit analysis, both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Professional services which offer these solutions can give you guidance on what will work best for your situation..
How Can I Best Assess My Risk (both geographically and my home’s safety in particular)?