Your home will be protected and storm-ready when you can check off everything on this list
Hurricane season officially started on June 1, and while storms have already caused problems down south, New Jersey doesn’t usually start seeing much action until a little later in the year. August and September are typically the busiest months for storms in N.J., and of course, we can’t forget Hurricane Sandy, which hit in October. Another good reason to mention Sandy – the most destructive hurricane in N.J.’s recorded history – is because even almost seven years later, its effects are still being felt.
Unfortunately, when it comes to hurricanes, most of the time we are reactive: We rebuild and wait for the next storm. The better option, however, is to be proactive. Putting measures in place to face Mother Nature head-on can help limit the damage – and resulting expenses – dramatically. Before we get hit hard again, here’s what homeowners should prepare for and how they can do it.
Why are hurricanes so devastating?
It probably comes as no surprise that the two main elements of a hurricane that cause the most trouble are rain and wind. With intense, unrelenting rain, roofs – especially older ones – can take a beating, and if there was a small hole or crack already, water will almost certainly find a way inside.
Wind is generally the bigger problem during a storm. When Sandy made landfall in N.J., for example, winds were at 80 mph, and in some places they got as high as 89 mph. Winds this strong can damage a roof by tearing off shingles and dislodging other components. They can also knock down branches or cause entire trees to come crashing down on a roof.
5 things you should do before a storm hits
If you are trying to be proactive about your roof, you will want to take the following actions sooner rather than later.
Get a roof inspection
You need to know that no matter what Mother Nature throws at your home, your roof will be ready for the challenge. This is why it has to be examined thoroughly. You can do this yourself, but if you’re not sure what to look for (or if you are worried about safety), call in a pro.
A roofing contractor will go over every inch of your roof. They will make sure the membrane doesn’t have any holes or rips and that the flashings are secured correctly. They can also look at your gutters to see if they are firmly attached.
Clean the gutters
Speaking of gutters, you will want to clean them out before the rain comes. This is also true for your downspouts. Gutters are like a magnet for leaves, pine needles, twigs, and other debris, and they could be clogged. And when strong rains come and the water can’t flow freely, it will get backed up, which could cause standing water on your roof. This extra weight not only puts a strain on the structure, but it can also lead to a leak.
Replace missing or damaged shingles
The shingles on your roof are the first line of defense against a hurricane, so they have to be able to do their job properly. If you or your contractor have noticed missing shingles, new ones will need to be added. Shingles usually don’t fall off very easily, so it will also be worthwhile figuring out why this happened. If there are any damaged shingles, they need to be replaced. Signs of a bad shingle include curling, discoloration, or missing granules.
Cut down overhanging branches
As mentioned, a lot of hurricane damage comes from nearby trees and other debris falling on a home. If you have branches hanging over your house, you should strongly think about trimming or completely removing them. This is particularly true if the tree is dead, as the branches are more likely to come off in strong winds.
In some cases, it may make sense to have the entire tree cut down. While expensive, the cost could pale in comparison to the damage caused to your home if the tree falls on it.
Closely examine your homeowners insurance
While the steps above will help fortify or protect your roof, you never know how bad a storm will be. This is why you should verify that your homeowners insurance policy is up-to-date, and you should know exactly what it does and doesn’t cover.
If need be, talk to your insurance agent to get more information or perhaps a supplemental policy. If you end up having to file a claim, that is not the time to discover that something wasn’t covered. You should also consider taking inventory of your possessions; a written document is good, but photos or even video could be your best bet.
Because we’re usually pretty far away from where hurricanes strike or at least do the most harm, it can be easy to get complacent. But, as we have seen in recent years, the weather is getting more unpredictable. This is why when it comes to your roof, it pays to remember this old adage: Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
To make sure your roof is ready, get in touch with Blue Nail. We will send out one of our experts for a free consultation. In addition to roofing, we can also talk to you about gutters, windows, or siding. You can call us at 973-937-8876 or just fill out our online contact form.