Living on the coast has numerous benefits, from having a gorgeous view to feeling and smelling the beautiful ocean breeze. But it also has its drawbacks: expensive housing and high risk for hurricane damage.
Many coastal and southern homes have screened in porches to take advantage of the panoramic views and warm temperatures. But they face a high-risk during hurricane season. During a hurricane warning, it’s important to take all necessary steps to prepare so you can protect both your family and your home.
Check out these steps when protecting your screen porch from a hurricane.
Before hurricane season even starts, you can still prepare for the coming storms. If you know who exactly installed and manufactured the screen porch, call and ask them if it’s been tested against hurricanes before.
Many of these companies will have windspeed tested screen and frames options and will have installed them in homes within the area that experiences hurricanes regularly.
Inspect the Porch
Before the start of hurricane season, conduct a close inspection of the porch to examine its condition. If it made it through the last hurricane, it may not make it through future storms.
Be on the lookout for any:
- Rust: Double check any fasteners for rust.
- Loose materials: Check any fasteners or screens for looseness.
- Tight bolts: If you have any anchoring cables, double check to make sure they are bolted in tight.
- Replace items: If any screws, bolts, or fasteners are damaged in any way, make sure to replace them before the next storm.
If you are ever unsure if your screen was installed properly or are not familiar with screen porches, a structural engineer will be able to do it for you. It can be expensive, but definitely worth it if the screened porch is large and was installed a while ago. They will also be able to make any repairs beforehand, so you don’t have to worry about the porch falling apart during a hurricane.
Clear the Porch
The next step after inspecting the porch and making any needed repairs is to clear it. Regardless if it looks nice and it took you a while to find the perfect decorations, they will be ruined if you don’t remove and secure them.
The best way to minimize damage is to remove potential sources of damage, including decorations, furniture, potted plants and other items not secured to the floor. This includes bars, stools, TV, cushions, chairs, potted plants, tables and more. The last thing you want is for them to be airborne, damaged, or damaging your home.
Remove the Door
Believe it or not, hurricanes are incredibly strong and are more than capable of ripping off doors. So it’s crucial to remove it before the winds tear it from the hinges and whip it into your home.
Remove the Screens from the Frames
If you aren’t sure whether the screens will remain intact during the hurricane, you might want to remove them for safe measure. In the worst situation, debris like broken glass, rocks, sticks and even your neighbor’s furniture can tear into the screen and you’ll need to replace it.
Here are some more reasons why you probably should do this:
- The rain from the storm can soak the porch screen. Because the material is fine meshed, the water beads will weigh down the material instead of letting the air blow through. Not only can the screen be blown out, but there can be structural damage to the porch framing.
- Structural repairs and replacement will surely be more expensive than replacing the screens themselves. Simply removing them beforehand will reduce the chances of structural collapse while simultaneously saving money from having to repair or replace damaged screens.
- If you are not able to remove the screen yourself or are certain a hurricane will not make landfall, you may need to use a utility knife to cut through a screen to allow the wind to flow through and prevent damage. For smaller screens, just cut 1-2 screens on each side as well as 1-2 along the back of the wall. For larger screens 3-4 on each side in the front and back should suffice. Just don’t cut the main screen panels above chair rails since they are the biggest and allow the majority of air through.
Important note: Never try to remove porch screens during a hurricane as it is a safety concern. Make sure to remove everything beforehand.
Trees and Bushes
If there are any trees or bushes near the screened porch, any weak limbs or branches around or near the screen should be cut back and thrown away before a storm. Pay close attention to the trees and bushes around the home as well as they can be easily blown into your home.
Hurricane Damage Restoration
While living on the coast does have its perks, hurricanes are never anything to be taken lightly. There are always steps you will need to take to prepare and minimize any damage. While it’s impossible to stop it from occurring, we can only prevent as much damage as possible and make repairs when needed.
If you live near the Stoneham, MA area and have experienced hurricane damage to your home or screen porch, it’s important to contact a professional right away. ServiceMaster Disaster Associates, Inc. provides both hurricane damage restoration and water damage restoration services for homes affected by floods, storms, and hurricanes.
We will respond right away to your first call, to stabilize your property structure if needed, remove any standing water, dry out the affected areas, and remove any remaining debris around your home or building.
We can also provide structural repairs as needed to restore both your home and peace of mind after any large storm, flood, or hurricane.
When a storm or hurricane strikes your home in the Stoneham, MA, be sure to call ServiceMaster Disaster Associates, Inc. at (800) 649-6369 for emergency water damage restoration and hurricane restoration services.