Although you can’t make your home completely stormproof, there are a number of improvements you can make to help protect it – and your family – from extreme weather. Retrofitting your home to make it storm resistant can be more economical than making repairs. Plus, a storm protection renovation could save you some of the hassle and heartache that come with weather damage. If you live in an area threatened by severe weather, consider making these home  exterior upgrades.

Preparing for your home exterior upgrade

Before you begin, find out about any local building code requirements that may apply to your improvements. Also, look into discounts that could help offset the cost of your home exterior upgrades. In some states, insurance companies are required to offer discounts to policyholders who make their homes more storm resistant.

Next, consider your financing options. If you don’t have cash on hand and don’t want to dip into your savings account, you may want to think about using a home equity loan or line of credit to fund your storm protection renovation. Both of these can be affordable options for covering the cost of materials and professional help.

Roof, Windows and Doors: Three home exterior upgrades to provide storm protection

1. Roof

  • Adhesive: If a storm rips the roof off your home, the walls are likely to collapse, which can quickly result in the complete loss of your home. A simple way to help secure your roof is to apply hurricane adhesive to the underside of your roof. This will also help keep water out during a severe storm.
  • Bracing: Houses with gabled roofs (two slopes that peak and create an “A” shape at each end) are more susceptible to wind damage than other houses. This is because gabled roofs are often not adequately braced during construction, which can cause the end wall of the home to collapse under strong wind pressure. As part of your home exterior upgrade, hire a professional to reinforce the trusses (structural supports) and gable ends with 2-by-4 boards. No matter what kind of roof you have, professionally installed, galvanized metal strips can also help fasten it to the walls.

2. Windows

  • Storm shutters: You have two main shutter options for your home exterior upgrade. You can install permanent storm shutters – such as roll-down, accordion, Bahama or awning shutters – that you can close when there is threatening weather. Or, you can keep temporary shutters – such as plywood, steel or aluminum shutters – on hand, and install them as needed. Permanent shutters are more expensive, but you can use a home equity line of credit or loan to help cover the costs.
  • Impact-resistant glass: Impact-resistant glass, as its name describes, is designed to withstand impact from airborne objects, as well strong winds and internal pressure. Significant impact or pressure may cause the glass to crack, but it should not shatter. Use a home improvement loan to install impact-resistant windows and glass doors to provide reliable storm protection.

3. Doors

  • Outside entry doors: Secure any other outside-entry doors with three hinges and a bolt with at least a 1-inch throw length. You can install extra bolts for more security.
  • Garage door: Storm-force winds can rip garage doors, particularly wide ones designed for multiple-car garages, out of their tracks. You can reinforce your garage door with a bracing kit, which will help strengthen it at its weakest points.

Budgeting for your storm protection renovation

If any of these improvements make sense for your home, area and budget, you can use home equity financing to fund your renovation. First, obtain quotes from several contractors and create a budget. Once you know how much money you need to borrow to cover the cost of your project, you can apply online for an equity line of credit or loan.