THE BLOG
08/20/2015 10:09 am ET Updated Aug 20, 2016

Just Moved In? Four Things You Should Know to Protect Your New Home From Hurricane Season

Are you enjoying your summer? Yep, it's time for BBQs, trips to the beach, pool time and vacations with the family. Unfortunately, every summer is also hurricane season. And this year, due to an El Niño event, it is predicted to be an above average hurricane season. So, if you are one of the millions that also moved into a new home this summer you want to be sure to protect your new abode from Mother Nature's wrath!

Hurricane season runs through November 30. Hurricane hazards include: storm surges, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. What's the best way to prepare your home to seal out hurricane damage this season? There are simple steps you can take to reduce your home's risk of damage before a hurricane or any intense storm hits.

I connected with a home construction & residential waterproofing expert, David Baur at Grace Residential Building Materials, and gathered these four vital tips to save your home and your money.

David says: As a homeowner, it is essential you take action before a storm, not after:

1. Your Roof's Warranty - Read your roof's construction and warranty paperwork (which, hopefully, you did before moving in anyway). Understanding how your roof has been constructed is the first step in evaluating its current condition and determining if repairs or upgrades are required. Understanding the terms and conditions of your warranties can prevent you from making changes that will void the warranty.

2. Inspect your Home - Look for potential problems on the roof. Loose or curled shingles, broken or missing tiles all need to be repaired. Inspect the flashing, drainage system, and accessories such as vents and skylights. Ask a trained roofing professional if additional reinforcements to the roof structure, such as additional fasteners or hurricane clips, are required.

In addition to the roof, a home's doors and windows can also become major leak zones. Commonly, this is due to window breakage due to flying debris. However, even if the windows and doors are well shuttered, wind-driven rain can blow into the house especially if the doors and windows have not been properly flashed and weatherproofed. The following are signs of water damage:
• Leaks or breaks in seams around window trim and sills
• Uneven doorframes
• Discolored plasterboard
• Peeling wallpaper
• Chipped or cracked stucco finishes
• Mold, mildew, or rot in the walls, insulation, and electrical systems
• Missing, cracked, or blistered paint inside the home

3. Use the Right Products - If repairs are needed, don't skimp on quality to save a few cents. Much of the damage associated with hurricanes and other serious storms results from water entering the home when roof coverings or siding is blown off. It is imperative that you have a secondary layer of waterproofing protection underneath the shingles and the siding. If proper protection measures are not taken, the resulting leaks are the main cause of interior damage, as well as potential causes of rot and mold. Rot and mold can lead to major structural damage and even potential health problems for you and your family.

Roof: FEMA published recommendations for the use of fully-adhered roofing underlayments as an enhanced secondary water barrier for homes in both coastal and inland hurricane-prone areas. In the event roof coverings are blown off or water manages to get underneath your shingles, these underlayments are the key to preventing water infiltration.

Windows, Doors and More: Flexible flashings can be used to seal the most vulnerable spots, including: windows, doors, corner boards and other non-roof detail areas. Ask your contractor or local hardware store about highly conformable, self-adhering waterproofing membranes as they form a weather-tight barrier around unwanted openings in the wall sheathing system.

4. Find a Proven Professional - Check social review sites such as: Yelp, Angie's List and the Better Business Bureau to do a background check on whom ever you hire. These sites can assist you in identifying reliable and knowledgeable professionals that can perform work safely. Make sure all inspections, maintenance and repairs are completed by trained and experienced people with stellar service records. Make sure they use high quality materials. The amount of money you save by selecting less expensive lower quality products is insignificant compared to the damage caused by water infiltration.

Following these four steps you will ensure that you have a water tight home and a strong roof over your family's head. Now, you can relax and enjoy the rest of the summer!