Preparing your home for a hurricane should happen before the storm nears

Ray Gohill, owner of the Sahara Motel, does some last minute boarding up of his windows...
Ray Gohill, owner of the Sahara Motel, does some last minute boarding up of his windows Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Hurricane Matthew continues to make a path for Florida's east coast. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)(Chris O'Meara | AP)
Updated: May. 21, 2020 at 3:51 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hurricane season in the Central Pacific runs from June 1 to November 30, and experts say it’s wise to secure your home well in advance of any oncoming storm.

“It’s essentially tying the roof all the way to the foundation,” says Dennis Hwang, author of the “Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Natural Disasters.”

Homeowners should fortify their properties from top to bottom, a process that can finished in as little as a few days, provided you have the right equipment.

For many, the process starts with attaching hurricane clips to the wooden beams that form the roofs of many single-wall constriction homes. The clips are pieces of hardware that help secure the roof to the rest of the home, in the event that destructive winds rip through your area.

“Generally, the weakest part of a house is the roof to wall connection. That’s why the hurricane clip is so important,” Hwang said.

Single-wall houses should also be secured to their foundations. You can attach wooden braces and metal tie downs to the home’s footings, which helps creates what structural engineers call a continuous load path ― something that can save a home in a hurricane.

When the roof is attached to the wall, and the wall is attached to the foundation, every major structural intersection in a house is fortified with a strong connector, experts say.

For homes with double-wall construction, plywood is the least-expensive form of protection for windows. Experts recommend accounting for four extra inches of overlap on each side of any window, then cutting the plywood to size and labeling each panel.

To install the pieces of wood, drill pilot holes in the upper corners of the plywood and the window frame for the nails or screws that’ll hold it in place.

“If all your panels are prepared beforehand, and stored neatly in the garage, you could put them up in five or ten minutes for an incoming event,” said Hwang.

Window protection for homes made with single-wall construction can be a bit more expensive.

Window companies make shutters, polycarbonate plastic panels or awnings of impact-resistant glass that cover jalousies. Those companies can do the installations, too.

When it comes to the exterior of your home, there are plenty of quick and simple ways to prepare for an incoming storm.

Remember to trim trees or plants on your property, particularly anything that looks dead or dried out. Move any outdoor furniture inside, or find a way to lock them down in place. Secure any other loose outdoor items that could fly around in the event of a storm.

Most of the supplies and tools you’ll need to retrofit your home for a hurricane you can find in a hardware store. Homeowners can do most of the work themselves, but may need help from a contractor to secure their home to its foundation.

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