How to Protect Your Home from Storm Damage

It seems as though the snow has come back to Metro Vancouver, then followed by a week of rain, according to the 7-day forecast for the region. Strong winds bring driving rain and snow. They can also deposit tree limbs onto a roof; rattle gutters or disconnect downspouts from a gutter system; and turn backyard items into projectiles that damage siding. Use these simple tips to protect your home from storm damage.

Schedule Regular Roof Inspections

Out-of-sight-out-of-mind is not a game you want to play with your roof, especially in winter. Schedule regular professional roof inspections once every two years to ensure your roof stays healthy. A roofing company will be able to identify potential problem areas related to structural issues that might not be readily spotted by most homeowners.

Between inspections done by a roofing technician, conduct your own inspection every three months or with each change of the season. Avoid walking on the roof. Take a pair of binoculars, either standing on the ground or on a ladder, and look for:

  • Missing or damaged (curling edges, cracks, faded) roofing shingles
  • Damp patches that don’t dry up after 48 hours after a rainfall
  • Extensive moss growth
  • Appearance of mold

Repair or replace roofing tiles and leaks as soon as possible. A roofing system can handle a windy day no problem if it’s in good shape.

Clean the Gutter System

Clean the gutter system at least twice a year. Common gutter problems such as overflowing, leaking seams, cracked troughs, and sagging gutter sections are all preventable if the gutters are free of debris. Debris allowed to hang around and build-up, clog the gutters and downspouts, put unnecessary pressure on the fascia, and add weight to the gutter system. By clearing the gutters and downspouts on a regular basis, you will save yourself time and money.

For more reassurance, conduct inspections after an active weather system to make sure downspouts and gutter troughs are still attached to the house; no brackets/hardware are missing or have been loosened; and the gutters haven’t sustained damage that requires immediate repair or replacement.

Remove Seasonal Items

Remove any seasonal items from your backyard such as patio furniture, the grill, and yard tools that can be blown around into siding or windows.

Secure recycling bins. Make sure lids are always properly closed. Don’t leave things such as a ladder, a shovel, or lawn care tools leaning against exterior walls where they can damage siding in a wind storm.

Are Your Trees Healthy?

If you have trees on your property and haven’t checked up on them after the two consecutive hot summers we’ve experienced in the lower mainland, now is a good time to see how healthy they are. Signs it’s time to remove a tree so that won’t be able to fall on your house in a windstorm include:

  • Pest infestations
  • Has become diseased
  • Displays vertical cracks, blisters, dead limbs, and advanced scarring
  • Noticeably leans to one side
  • There is a significant reduction in the number of leaves from the previous autumn

Even though the tree is still standing and showing some indications it’s alive, pest infestations, fungal growth, cracks, and other visible signs of damage can weaken the tree, making it vulnerable to active winds and rainstorms.

For trees that are healthy but grow close to the house, trim back overhanging tree branches so they don’t scrape against roof shingles, siding, or the gutters. Pruning tree limbs will also help prevent more debris from falling into the gutter system.

Inspect Your Home’s Exterior

Inspect your home for weak areas that could be susceptible to active weather, resulting in storm damage.

Siding: Examine siding panels for any loose hardware or damaged sections where moisture can get in.

Windows: Replace any cracked or broken window panes. Apply caulking around window trim and loose panes to prevent air from entering or escaping your home.

Doors: Caulk around door frames to make entry doors less vulnerable to the elements. Eliminate any gaps between the bottom of the door and the door frame.

Other Structures

Ensure that other structures on your property such fences, a detached garage, and a shed are in good shape. Other backyard structures like a trellis, pagoda, or gazebo should be firmly secured. Remove or close any awnings or canopies covering patios or decks