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Selecting the Right Siding and Doors To Weather the Storm

When a hurricane is predicted in your area, undoubtedly your first thought is to ensure your loved ones are safe and decide whether you will need to evacuate. In those critical moments, the construction of your siding and doors are probably not your first concern. For this reason, it is important that you consider the best type of siding and doors that will stand up to a strong tropical storm beforehand, so that you can focus on what really matters – the safety of your loved ones.

Choosing the right siding and doors for your home can save you money and protect your home from severe damage in the event of high winds, heavy rain and even hail. Homeowners need to choose siding and doors that are strong enough to stand up to the inevitable wind and rain that comes with a major hurricane.

  1. Inspect your siding

A major factor in determining the integrity of your siding is the age, condition and materials used in its construction. Start by inspecting your siding thoroughly. Look for cracks and openings where the siding might have deteriorated. Apply pressure on the siding to test its strength and verify it is attached firmly and can withstand high winds. If siding has pulled away from the walls, windows or door frames it needs to be resealed. Be sure to check the areas around the dryer vent, exterior faucets, the main water line, natural gas entry points and any HVAC vents or pipes. These are all vulnerable areas. An annual inspection of your siding can help you identify problem areas before they become magnified and will ensure your siding is prepared for a major storm.

  1. Seal gaps

One of the best ways to prevent winds from damaging your home is to make sure your siding is sealed properly. Usually there are gaps, cracks and areas where the siding has pulled away from the foundation due to being exposed to the elements. You can easily use caulk or spray form insulation to fill in the gaps. If there is significant damage, it is prudent for you to replace the damaged section.

  1. Install siding properly

If you are installing new siding or replacing old or damaged siding, it is important that you ensure your siding is installed properly. Pay attention to local building codes, manufacturers’ instructions and any special considerations you need to take into account due to the location of your home. For example, if your home is near the coast, you will need to use stainless steel fasteners that are suitable for the area in which you live.

Proper installation includes careful attention to the lowest deck of materials. This layer must be carefully installed because damage to siding often occurs from the bottom up. Other installation tips will depend on the type of siding material used.

  1. Consider installing impact-resistant doors

Doors provide the first line of defense from high winds and blowing debris. Interior doors are important as well. During a hurricane or high winds, all doors and windows, including interior doors, should be closed in order to prevent the build up of pressure inside the building. Closing doors can also help to compartmentalize damage from wind or rain that might seep in.

 

Strict building codes exist in many coastal areas that frequently experience high winds. Many areas that are designated hurricane zones require impact-resistant doors. These doors are constructed out of materials proven to withstand high velocity winds and are installed using techniques that help them better withstand high winds, rain and blowing debris.

There are several benefits to installing impact-resistant doors. Impact-resistant doors offer:

  • Better security for a home, even in the absence of high winds
  • Improved sound and temperature insulation
  • Protection from a doorway breach in high winds
  • Visually-appealing options that are virtually indistinguishable from regular doors
  • The potential for a discount on your homeowners’ insurance premium
  1. Reinforce your doors

If you have standard doors, you can still assist them to better resist storm damage by reinforcing them. Most projects are simple that you can do yourself. Here are some simple steps you can take to reinforce your doors:

  • Fill any cracks in your doors and caulk to prevent air leaks
  • Replace any missing or damaged hardware
  • Replace standard hinge screws with longer, stronger screws that will reach into the wall
  • Make sure threshold will seal the door and is screwed into the floor securely
  • Install a deadbolt to exterior doors with a minimum of one-inch extension
  • Make sure any French-style double doors are refitted with bolts that extend at least an inch into the floor
  • Plan ahead to reinforce your doors (and windows) with sheets of plywood that is at least one-half inch thick. Click here to learn more

It is essential that you consider basic design and installation techniques for siding and doors that will enhance wind-resistance in hurricane-prone areas. Siding is frequently blown off walls during hurricanes. Making sure your siding and door areas are in good condition, have been installed properly and are reinforced if needed will help to improve their performance during high-velocity wind storms.

Protecting your home from high winds and flying debris by securing your siding and either installing impact-resistant doors or reinforcing your doors will help reduce the risk of substantial loss in the event of a tropical storm in your area. Click here for more information on emergency preparedness to protect yourself, your loved ones and your property. Contact the experts at Lanier Upshaw for more information on how we can help you prepare for a hurricane or other major disaster.