Monday 15 December 2014

Storm damage: protecting your home

It is always worth ensuring that your home is protected against the elements and can offer shelter and refuge if the weather does take a dramatic turn for the worst.

Now, we’re not saying that you need to install storm shutters but it might be a good idea to check your windows for weakness and damage before and after the storm. High winds can loosen fixings, crack panes and cause structural damage to the outside of your house. Any openings like windows and doors are natural week spots and can be damaged. You need to fix any problems that you spot as soon as possible, or they could get worse.

To prepare for a storm

Preparing for a storm in advance can often be tricky as you won’t always get much notice. However, if you know a storm is on its way, it is worth looking into the material of the front door and possibly the back door to your house.

Timber doors are hardened to weather conditions and are a great deal sturdier than their plastic counterparts.

Lock away any furniture or ornaments from your garden in case they are ruined, destroyed, or blown into anything.

Gates should be kept firmly locked to stop them from swinging and breaking off in the wind – this can cause a lot of damage.

Ensure that all doors and windows are locked throughout the entire storm as the windows can break and blow away – a very expensive mistake to make! It’s a good idea not to sit near windows, and to close curtains to smother any breakages should the worst happen. Make sure you are not sitting in any part of the house that could be damaged by falling trees and try to keep in a room with few windows and doors.

Finally, ensure that you check the condition of your roof as if any tiles fly off this can cause a lot of damage and be very expensive.

Once the storm has finished you should check your chimney and aerials to ensure that no damage has been made.

The Kings Arms, York by Ian S, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Flooding often appears alongside a storm and can cause a lot of damage to your home. If you live in a period property, in a flood risk area, there are a number of things you may want to consider to help better prepare yourself and your property for potential flooding.

Understand where water can penetrate your property

Floodwater can penetrate your building via a number of routes, which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • around windows and doors
  • vents and airbricks
  • entrances to cellars and basements
  • from under the floor or foundations
  • masonry and mortar joints

In order to prevent water from seeping through openings homeowners can utilise a number of protective products such as airbrick covers, doors guards, and aperture protection.
‘Skirt systems’ that run the whole length of a property may also help to isolate the building in the event of flooding. However, it is important to note that these measures may only keep flooding at bay for a short period of time.

Have a flood protection survey conducted

You may want to instruct a surveyor or architect who specialises in repairing or adapting old buildings in your area to complete a flood protection survey as well as a flood-risk assessment. This will give you an idea of which parts of the building are vulnerable and which forms of protection are worth investing in.

Outline an emergency flood plan

To ensure you are ready to deal with a flood ahead of time, it is important to put an emergency flood plan into place. This will include turning off gas, electricity and water at the mains – ensure you know the correct procedure for this before carrying it out – moving irreplaceable objects to a safe location, detailing key numbers such as your home insurer and the Environment Agency’s Flood Warning line and arranging emergency accommodation. You may also want to put together an emergency flood kit.