The south BC coast, including Metro Vancouver, is in the middle of a series of severe windstorms. This is just the first of more to come in this autumn/winter season. Local weather forecasters and news reporters have encouraged us to prepare our households. We’ve been told to buy extra food and bottled water, check our flashlight batteries, have candles on hand, pick your Netflix schedule for the days ahead and hunker down for the long-haul.
However, it’s easy to overlook home exteriors because of the assumption that it can weather the storm. Given that the Lower Mainland doesn’t see tornadoes and hurricanes like provinces east of B.C. do, we may neglect to think about preparing the exterior of our homes for high wind storms. For example, there are no calls to board up windows in Greater Vancouver. Therein lies the challenge. What is necessary, and what is overkill? Let’s find out what your household needs to do.
5 Steps to Protecting Your Greater Vancouver Home from Wind Storms
1. Trim and Secure Trees and Foliage Near Your Home
Broken tree limbs and even sharp twigs can impact your home exterior when slammed against the surface. That’s one form of damage. But that same foliage can be picked up by the wind and carried into your gutter system. When the rain comes, gutters get clogged, become weighted down, and can fracture, releasing rainwater onto your foundation and into the cracks and seams of windows and trim. In a matter of minutes the threat of wind damage is compounded by water damage.
When you catch wind of an approaching storm, trim all growth surrounding your home. The rule of thumb according to gutter installation experts is to trim a minimum of eight feet from the eaves of your property. This rule also applies to telephone wires near your back and frontward trees. In addition, tie-down bushes and small trees to prevent breakage, excessive swaying, and uprooting. If there is an old tree on your property that appears to be decaying, you may consider removing it from your property before it becomes a threat to your home. However, you should check with your local municipality first, as there may be tree protection bylaws in place. For example, the District of North Vancouver has very clear regulations on the matter.
2. Inspect, Repair, and Prepare Your Roof
Your roof and eaves are the primary line of defense of your home. Pick a dry day, and have your shingles and fascia inspected. Nail in or replace loose shingles and panels. Also check your gutter system and downspouts. Ensure that their brackets are screwed in properly and that the joint between your gutter and its downspouts are secure. Step back on ground level to perform a final visual inspection and note if your gutters sag at any point. If so, you may need to have the sagging section replaced before the storm arrives.
3. Storm-Proof Your Windows
Boarding up windows in the Lower Mainland is excessive. But that doesn’t mean you should not invest in appropriate protection. Installing storm-proof windows will give you peace of mind during the windy season, and will keep your home exterior, interior, and its inhabitants safe. An alternative, is to install storm-shutters. Attractive yet highly functional steel or aluminum storm-shutters can be installed on your windows and act as a sliding doors to protect windows from flying debris.
4. Remove Patio Furniture, Outdoor Decor, Toys, and More
It is not uncommon to keep patio furniture outside and on decks all year in Greater Vancouver. The mild climate also means that outdoor toys and recreational items are kept out on the lawn, too. These can become hazards when a major windstorm strikes. Fold-up, wrap-up, and tuck it all into a sturdy shed or within your carport. If the wind forecast is in excess of 60 km/hr you should also move portable planting pots, and garden gnomes, to a protected area. Perform a comprehensive check of the entire area surrounding your home to make sure that anything than can be pushed over is stored until the storm passes.
5. Check Your Garage Door
Inspect your carport/garage door. Is it study and secure? Give it a firm push (don’t kick) at all four corners and in the center. If it feels like it will buckle under pressure, it indicate a need to bring in a professional to repair or replace it. Your garage door is a gateway to your fortress, make sure that it is fortified.
Wishing You and Your Household a Safe and Secure Windy Season!
Finally, even after all your preparations, storms are unpredictable and powerful. Make a point of confirming that you homeowners insurance gives you sufficient protection against wind storms in Greater Vancouver. Contact Park Insurance to ensure maximum protection for your home.