How to Prepare Your Home to Reduce Storm DamageJames Trafford
Recently, the UK was battered by heavy storms and climate change is set to intensify them as well as make them more frequent. Consequently, homeowners are thinking about ways in which they can reduce the impact of storms, as well as their anxiety, on their property, which can be costly to put right in the aftermath.
By taking some simple steps, you may be able to avoid thousands of pounds worth of storm damage, something that is becoming a necessity at a time of price inflation eating away at the purchasing power of our savings. Prevention and adaptation are key. And if you do experience storm damage, having the know how to do repairs will also prove vital. For example, one estimate shows that by practising good prevention and knowing how to deal with leaking water through your ceiling, you could save as much as £5,000.
So, although the recent storms have now passed, it’s a good idea to start gaining the knowledge of what to do when future storms hit as they are sure to do more frequently and with more force.
External preparation to mitigate storm damage
- Check the fences and shed
- Clear the garden
- Check the roof and aerial
- Secure your vehicles
- Stash away bins
- Think about the plants
- Check the fences and shed
Check the fences and shed
Fencing is vulnerable to storm damage, and some designs will be more vulnerable than others. With panel fencing, they can act like sails on a boat and easily catch the full force of the wind. Reinforcing the fence will make it sturdier until the storm passes.
Likewise, sheds can easily be damaged during strong winds and rain. You could therefore consider removing some of the side panels to let the wind pass through it reducing the structural stress.
According to one source, “If a storm rips apart your garden and sheds and fences get blown into neighbouring properties causing damage, it’s unlikely your policy will pay out, according to the Association of British Insurers. This is because in some cases fences are excluded due to having a flimsy construction – so ensure you have taken care to bolster the strength.”
Clear the garden
Any items left around the garden, such as children’s toys, can be hazardous and act as missiles when strong winds pick up. Removing anything that can be blown against your property and cause damage or injury to others is a good idea. It wouldn’t take much for something to be blown against your windows, causing them some costly damage.
Furthermore, cut back overhanging branches in your garden as well as consider ones in proximity to your property, consulting a tree surgeon first.
Check the roof and aerial
Strong winds can easily rip the TV aerial off, so make sure it’s as secure as possible.
Unfortunately, it’s all too common to hear roof tiles being blown off roofs in strong winds, so it’s a good idea to visually inspect the condition of your roof tiles. Even from a distance, you should be able to spot loose or cracked tiles, along with any loose bricks around the chimney area. Loose tiles can easily be flung from the roof by a storm and have the potential to not only cause damage to property but also to people nearby.
Secure your vehicles
If you have a garage, then that’s great. For those that don’t have one, a top tip is to cover the vehicles with some padding and then with a waterproof material like plastic sheeting. You can also buy car covers reasonably cheaply, which will also do the trick to keep the padding in place.
Stash away bins safely
Bins are quite big and bulky but quite light, which makes them a potential hazard to both people and property. Stashing them away somewhere or weighting them down will help. You could also consider securing the lid so it doesn’t fling open and flap around.
Think about the plants
Pay special attention to any potted plants that are vulnerable to breaking in a heavy storm; placing them somewhere in shelter will reduce this likelihood.
It’s important to keep in mind that excessive rain might severely harm and even snap your taller outside plants. When you have a tall plant, it’s best to secure it to a wooden or metal post pushed into the ground. As a result, your plant will be supported and protected from the wind.
Action to be taken after storm damage
In the event of storm damage, keep calm and take some practical steps. Keep everyone safe, and turn off the electricity, water, and gas, and call out the relevant repair people for the job.
Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment, offers some helpful advice: “Be sure to take photographs from multiple angles to document the extent of the damage done by a storm. To ensure that your insurance provider knows the full scale of the damage and is able to recover any financial losses, it is critical that you document the damage on your property as thoroughly as possible.”