If you live on the coast, hurricanes are an unavoidable hazard. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and take whatever Mother Nature throws at you. We’re here to teach you how to prepare for a hurricane to minimize damage to your home and maximize your family’s safety. These hurricane preparation tips can’t prevent all damage, but they’ll ensure that any damage that does occur is relatively minor compared to an unprotected home.

Let’s show Mother Nature who’s boss:

Hurricane Preparation for Windows and Doors

Many people believe you should prepare for a hurricane by opening your windows and doors to equalize the pressure inside and outside your home. Do NOT do this: it’s a myth. This will do nothing but give windblown debris an easy entry point for damaging the inside of your house. Instead, keep entry points locked up tight with these hurricane supplies:

Garage Door Reinforcements

Reinforcing your garage door should be at the top of your hurricane preparedness list. If your garage door fails during a storm, the high winds will cause a pressure-cooker-like effect that can blow your roof right off. Double door garages are particularly high-risk. To stay safe, purchase and install a garage door reinforcement kit.

Hurricane Prep: Garage Door Reinforcements

Image source: Today’s Homeowner

Plywood Shutters

There are plenty of high-end hurricane shutters on the market, but in nearly every case, plywood shutters are just as effective for much less money. Making and installing plywood shutters is a simple DIY task, just make sure to use plywood sheets that are between half an inch to three-quarters of an inch thick.

Hurricane Preparedness: Plywood Shutters

Image source: FlaglerCounty.org

The Right Doors

In order to deflect debris and stand up to a hurricane’s high winds, replace your exterior doors with versions made from solid wood or hollow steel. For extra protection, install a third hinge to every door and a deadbolt with a one inch or longer bolt throw. If any of your entryways feature double doors, install header and footer bolts on one of the doors to better anchor them.

Inventory list for hurricane preparation.One digital way to prepare for a hurricane is to take a home inventory that includes photos and documents of both your personal possessions as well as the equipment, appliances and materials in your home. Doing this helps in two ways.

1. Doing a home inventory can make sure you are properly insured before a hurricane strikes.

2.  Your insurance company will want proof via a home inventory of the items that were destroyed and need to be replaced before they write you a check for these things.

John Bodrozic | HomeZada

Hurricane Preparation for Your Roof

Your roof is one of the most essential elements of your home to prepare for a hurricane. This is because high winds are the leading cause of damage during a storm, and roofs are more vulnerable to wind damage than any other part of a house. If your roof goes, the structural integrity of your entire home is at risk. Prepare your roof for a hurricane with these projects:

Reinforce Gables

Gabled roofs often cave in during storms. If you have a gabled roof, reinforce your gables by installing braces to the bottom of all gable trusses, anchoring them to adjacent trusses. While you’re at it, ensure that all trusses are securely nailed down, adding nails wherever necessary.

Preparing for a hurricane by installing gable braces.

Image source: Hurricane RetroFit

Reinforce Soffits

Without reinforcement, hurricane winds can tear your soffits away. Luckily, preparing your soffits for a hurricane is simple and inexpensive. Just apply polyurethane sealant (easy to find at Home Depot or any other hardware store) along the soffit channel and in the spaces where the fascia material meets the wall channel.

Hurricane Preparation: seal soffits with polyurethane.

Image source: FineHomebuilding

Secure Shingles

A major aspect of roof protection is ensuring that your shingles are strongly secured. Inspect your roof and use quick-drying roofing cement to re-adhere any loose shingles. Apply four daubs (about one inch across) of the cement to the underside of each shingle. Focus on shingles near the edge of the roof and near gable ends.

Applying roofing cement to prepare shingles for a hurricane.

Image source: DIY Advice

Hurricane preparation for your roof.If the budget is tight, the best way to prevent damage during extreme weather is to protect the roof. The roof of your home is made of a series of layers that keep the elements out. These layers all work in tandem with one another, and if any of them fails singularly, the rest will cascade down into water damage or worse with it.

Alexander Ruggie | 911 Restoration

Hurricane Preparation for Your Landscaping

Living in hurricane country means limiting some of your landscaping options. While most people focus on how to prepare their house itself for a hurricane, it’s a mistake to ignore the rest of your property. Many of the decorative elements that make your yard more inviting during good weather can cause serious damage during a storm. You can guard your home with these projects:

Remove Threatening Trees

When you’re planning new landscaping, don’t plant trees any closer to your home than the maximum height they will reach when fully grown. Remove any existing trees that are close enough to fall on your house if they are broken or uprooted during a hurricane.

Overhanging treeIf the roof is too big an expense then the next best option for protecting the home is to trim the trees around the property. One of the reasons that trimming the trees can be so effective in protecting the home from damage during major storms is because dead limbs or even fragile ones can impale your roof or your walls during a hurricane and eliminating these factors from the equation can prevent a lot of damage.

Alexander Ruggie | 911 Restoration

Get Rid of Gravel

A little-known hurricane preparation tip: gravel, which is solid yet light enough to be picked up by strong winds, can cause significant damage to your siding and windows during a storm. Remove any decorative gravel on your property and replace it with mulch (which won’t cause damage when picked up by storm winds) or groundcover plants.

Decorative gravel. Should be removed to prepare for a hurricane.

Image source: The Rock Place

Anchor Outbuildings

Sheds and other outbuildings that lack a permanent foundation can be torn up and turned into wrecking balls by hurricane winds. Make these structures more secure by installing ground anchors or straps.

Ground anchor securing a shed.

Image source: storage Sheds Wisconsin

Sandbags installed to prepare for a hurricaneFor rising water, there is really only one “after the fact” thing that you can do, and that’s to be ready to build a temporary water barrier. Calculate the number of sandbags you’ll need and keep them on hand for emergencies.

Kurt Heckman | vCalc

Storm season will be much less stressful now that you know how to prepare for a hurricane. If you have additional hurricane preparation tips, let us know in the comments! Need an easy way to get rid of gravel, trees and other debris from tackling these projects? We can set you up with low-cost roll off containers for any type of waste.