Stormy weather can happen at any time of the year. Whether it is a snowstorm, ice, hail, or high winds, your Minnesota home can be subject to a great many damaging weather elements. And while you can’t control Mother Nature, you can do a lot to prepare ahead of time to come through her storms safely and with your home intact.
At Iron River Construction, we have worked with many Minneapolis/St. Paul area homeowners to repair storm damage, address hail problems, and make upgrades that help prevent future damage. To help you safeguard your home from storms, we’ve outlined 9 prevention steps you can take, as well as some tips on what to do if storms cause harm to your home.
What to Do to Protect Your Home Before Storms Occur
1. Update Insurance Policies
One of the easiest things a homeowner can do to prepare for seasonal storms is to look over current insurance policies to assure coverage of losses from storms or natural disasters. Earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes aren’t normally covered under homeowner policies, but can be covered in other specific policies. Knowing your policies can help you make preparations to stay eligible for insurance claims.
2. Protect Windows
To avoid costly hail damage, keep the elements from penetrating windows, exterior cracks, entryways, and garage doors. Make sure windows and doors are sealed securely and, if needed, attach storm shutters to windows.
3. Install Steel Doors
For storm protection, installing steel doors can make a difference. Strong, tornadic winds can tear through the weak doors of a home, leaving little protection for your home interior from the storm’s effects. Steel doors with adequate support can stop that from happening.
4. Care for Roofing
Inspecting and maintaining your roof year-round is important for preventing storm damage. Remove ice and snow during the winter, and clear away fallen leaves and tree branches during autumn to keep your roof free from damaging debris. Have a professional roofing contractor check your roof before storm season.
5. Inspect Foundation
Protecting your home’s foundation can make you better prepared to avoid storm damage. Notice cracks in ceilings or walls, gaps or separations, like windows no longer fitting their frame. Go through your basement or crawl space and see if there are any zigzag-patterned cracks along mortar lines. If you see any of these, contact a professional. A solid home foundation is of utmost importance during storms.
6. Trim Landscaping
A simple way to protect your home’s roof, windows, and doors from the need for hail damage repair is to attend to any loose or dead tree limbs or shrubbery. A strong wind combined with a heavy tree limb could cause damage to the home and even be life-threatening. Additionally, bushes that are not firmly planted can create destructive debris during a heavy storm.
7. Clear Gutters
Nobody likes cleaning gutters. It’s a pain to drag the ladder out, put on a pair of gloves, and start climbing. But the problem is that the gunk and grime filling up your gutters block hail and storm water from running off your roof. When anything settles on your roof too long, it causes irreversible damage that could have easily been avoided with a clean gutter system.
8. Store Yard Furniture
Anything loose in your yard can be lifted into the air during a storm. Pick up any tree limbs lying on the ground. Secure lawn furniture and yard ornaments or store them when not in use. Even flowerpots can blow away if light enough. High-speed winds during a severe storm can cause damage to windows and other exterior features, like siding and garage doors, if everything isn’t solidly secured to the ground.
9. Plan for an Emergency
During a seasonal storm, it is important to plan for all possibilities. If your electricity fails, flashlights, extra batteries, a radio, or a backup generator can all be important things to have, especially during emergencies caused by storm damage. Stocking up with anything you might need when battening down the hatches, like blankets, non-perishable food items and bottled water, can even prove lifesaving during the worst storms.
What to Do if You Have Hail and Storm Damage
When storms affect your home, it helps to act fast. These steps can help you minimize the damage and get repairs made so your home is protected.
- Do a visual inspection of your home exterior and yard, noting anything amiss.
- Be sure to check everything — windows, doors, siding, roof, gutters, foundation, and fencing.
- Look for moisture damage inside and outside.
- Take photos of any damage so you can clearly document the issues.
- Contact your insurance company to make a claim, if appropriate. Do this as soon as you can after the storm, because the sooner you report the issue, the more likely it is that your claim will be successful.
- Watch out for scams. Scammers often show up after stormy weather trying to make a quick buck. But it’s better to use a trusted, local contractor for any repairs you need.
- If the damage is significant, or if you’re not sure how serious it is, contact a home contractor to give you an assessment.
Take Action Today to Ensure Your Home Stays Beautiful
Preparing for storms and hail damage now is a smart way to protect the investment you have made in your home. And repairing damage quickly helps get your home in its best shape, ensuring you a comfortable, beautiful, long-lasting home you love.
If you suspect your home has suffered harm from snow, ice, hail, wind or other stormy elements, Iron River Construction is here to help. We’ll give you a detailed inspection and plan for any repairs needing to be made, and we’ll work with you and your insurance to make the process go smoothly. Contact us today to schedule an appointment — and feel confident in your home year-round.