Throughout last winter we saw several storms wreak havoc across the entire country. Schools and roads were closed, record gusts of wind were recorded, and Storm Eunice even ripped the roof of the O2 arena in London. In fact, following Storms Dudley, Eunice, and Franklin, 169,500 insurance claims relating to property damage were made, costing a staggering £473 million (Association of British Insurers).
If you’re looking to protect your home from storm damage as effectively as possible, the good news is that there are a number of precautions you can take. To mitigate as much of the damage as possible, use the following tips to storm-proof your home for extra peace of mind this winter.
Check window seals
Double or triple glazed windows are very important for keeping your home safe in a storm, but this isn’t all. This winter you should check thoroughly that the seals of your windows are in top condition, as even the smallest gaps can cause water to leak in and damage the inside of your home. Major deterioration in the seals can be spotted by eye, but smaller issues may require you to investigate further.
One of the simplest ways to check whether your window sealant is in top condition is to simply hold a hand out near the windows and doors to feel for a cold breeze leaking through on a windy day. If your seals do need replacing, the good news is that this is usually a simple fix. Simply remove the old sealant in its entirety and install the new rubber seal, which should fit into place snugly in the window frame. If there are gaps in the applied rubber seal, simply fill these in with a little bit of silicone sealant.
Prepare your roof
Roof damage is relatively common in storms, so it’s a good idea to spend some time making sure that it is in the best condition it can be this winter. One way to do this is by checking for broken or loose roof tiles. A loose roof tile is likely to come off in strong wind and may even take multiple roof tiles with it, damaging the roof further. If you see any damaged tiles or some appear loose, make sure to fix these before a storm is due to arrive. This can be a tricky job, so you may want to call an expert out to help you with this.
It’s a good idea to check your loft area for signs of leakage from the roof as well. If there are already signs of leakage, this will get even worse once the storm arrives so it’s best to get this sorted sooner rather than later.
Clean your gutters
An often overlooked aspect of the house is gutters, but if not properly maintained these can actually cause a lot of damage to your home when a storm arrives. Keeping your gutters clean will allow the heavy rainfall to travel to the drains quickly without leaking and damaging your home. Gutters heavy with built up gunk are also more likely to fall off, potentially damaging objects beneath them.
It’s recommended that homeowners clean their gutters just twice a year. But even if you have already done this biannual clearance, you should still take this precaution before a storm is due to hit — it’s better to be safe than sorry! To do so, make sure your ladder is secure and simply use a small scoop to remove the gunk. You can use a garden hose to get rid of the excess once the bulk of the build up has been removed.
While you’re up there, you can use this opportunity to inspect the gutters too. If they look like they could use some TLC, you can contact a gutter expert to check them and fix any damage. If you don’t feel comfortable on a ladder, you can also contact an expert to clean them on your behalf as well.
Prevent your garden from damaging your home
In order to storm-proof your home, you also need to storm-proof your garden or yard. Heavy winds can cause not only the furniture outside to become damaged, but it can be moved around with gusts and potentially even damage your home if an object hits a window with impact. Before a heavy storm is due, store potted plants in your garage (or anywhere else in the home if you don’t have one) to prevent this damage. You should also try to store larger items in your home, like light items of garden furniture. If this isn’t possible, try to weigh them down with something very heavy, like a large dense rock.
Trees can also damage your property if they aren’t properly maintained. If there is a large tree near your house, trim the branches to prevent them from smashing though the windows, or breaking off and damaging your home.
Check your home insurance policy
No matter how well you prepare for a storm, unfortunately in some instances damage is inevitable. As well as storm-proofing your home as much as you can, it’s important to prepare for if something goes wrong. Having a comprehensive home insurance policy is vital in this instance. Fortunately, most home insurance policies do cover storm damage, but the insurance company needs to be satisfied that this damage has been caused by the storm and not by prior wear and tear, so make sure that you can prove this in case you’re required to put in a claim. And if you don’t already have a home insurance policy, invest in one as soon as you can — it can save you a lot of money in the long run!
“While preparing your home for the worst can seem like a daunting prospect, storm-proofing your home is vital for your own safety. The good news is that there are many cheap and easy precautions you can take through some simple DIY, like replacing old or damaged window sealant and keeping plant pots and garden furniture indoors for the night.
“As well as preparing your home for facing a nasty storm, these tips come with a number of other benefits too. For example, broken window sealant and a damaged roof can make your home much colder and a lot draftier. By fixing these issues you can keep your home warmer through the winter and potentially reduce your energy bill, as well as protect your home from storm damage.”