Well, it’s that time of year again on the Outer Banks, beautiful blue skys reflecting off the ocean, sandy beaches filled with sunbathers and children splashing in the surf. Summer is by far the busiest time of year on the Outer Banks. Vacationers fill the numerous rental houses and hotels and the beaches become the hotspots filled with thousands of people with the pursuit of having the summer vacation of their dreams. This is the vision of summer on the Outer Banks, but there is something else that summer brings that is much less enjoyable…Hurricanes!
Whenever a hurricane approaches the coast you can usually turn on your television and more than likely see news reels of people using their time and energy “preparing” for the storm in an effort to minimize any potential storm damage. As a matter of fact you see this so often that you can easily fall into the trap of believing that these homeowners are doing the right thing.
If your house is in danger of being hit by a hurricane, protecting windows and sliding glass doors is almost always the number one thing you can do to ensure you’ll have a livable house if the worse happens. But once a hurricane is approaching, it may be too late to rush to a building supply store to buy plywood for your windows. As a matter of fact, if you wait until a hurricane watch is posted, you are almost surely too late.
Taping up windows isn’t going to keep your neighbor’s garbage can or any other loose debris which should have been put in a place where the wind couldn’t grab it, from breaking your window when 75+ mph winds fling it at your house. It may keep the glass from flying around the room but it isn’t going to keep the window from breaking allowing blowing rain to cause major damage to your home. An important rule for any severe wind storm is not to be in a room with windows that can be broken. If your house doesn’t have a room without windows, you should at least lie down behind an overturned table or sofa in case glass does start flying. If you’re taping your windows, about the best that you can hope for is that the storm will miss your house.
While tape doesn’t do much, heavy plywood or metal shutters are vital. But again, you can’t wait until a storm is bearing down to go buy the plywood because by then it’s almost surely too late, because the plywood has to fit the windows and it has to be firmly attached to them.
I recommend using at least 1/2 inch plywood and attaching it to the window trim with 1 1/2″ screws about 16 inches apart all the way around it. Are you going to have time to do all of this once a watch has been posted? This is the kind of storm prepararation that should be done well ahead of time so that the window covers can be stored with the screw holes drilled or screws started and everything you’ll need to install them, such as a ladder and drill are handy.
Another question you’ll want to have the answer to ahead of time is: Who is going to install the plywood covers with a 20 mph wind gusting to 40 mph as a storm approaches? It’s a good idea to contact some outer banks builders and have someone lined up for this before they become overwhelmed with the large influx of calls coming from distressed homeowners or property managers looking to put their names atop that list.
Why is protecting windows so important?
Once a window gets broken, hurricane force winds blow inside not only wrecking the interior but also saturating the walls and flooring with blowing rain, causing thousands of dollars in damages and weeks or months of remediation to gain control before mold takes over. A worst case scenario would be that the winds could apply upward pressure to the roof, which might be enough to send if hurling into the air. If this happens, the walls could collapse and you could lose your entire house.
Protection could also include impact resistant glass or other permanent materials that have passed the Miami-Dade County (Fla.) impact standards tests, such as sturdy shutters, or pieces of marine plywood, marked and cut to fit each window and glass door.
Here are some other extremely important things you should do before a tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning has been posted:
Find out if your home is in a zone that could be flooded by storm surge, which would mean you would most certainly want to evacuate.
Have a plan in place for where you would go if you did have to evacuate, when you would leave and how family members will contact each other.
If you do have to evacuate, have a pack ready which would contain important papers, such as your home owners insurance policy or other important documents.
If you live outside possible storm surge zones and your house is sturdy, you might plan on riding out the storm in a safe room inside the house, but you should always have an evacuation or survival kit ready with nonperishable food and water, a flashlight, batteries, a first aid kit and other things that you may need. Also, have a battery powered radio so that you can keep up with the latest weather advisories.
After a watch has been posted, you should have already done all of the things listed above and you should stay tuned to forecasts and possible warnings. If you are in an area that could be flooded, you should be ready to evacuate. Also, if you are living in a mobile home or a house that isn’t sturdy enough to withstand a hurricane force wind, you should evacuate early to avoid the rush.
Be hurricane ready!! If you need assistance boarding up your windows before the storm arrives or if you need emergency services after the storm has passed, such as roof tarping, roof repair, or water remediation, contact Outer Banks Remodeling. We are here to help with all of your Outer Banks construction needs.