If you live in a area that is prone to severe weather of any kind, remodeling with this in mind might be a good investment for the safety of your family and the protection of your home and property. Remodeling for severe weather endurance will give you greater peace of mind,  and might save you money on home insurance, particularly if you live in high-risk area.

Severe thunderstorms can occur anywhere. These storms carry the risk of lightning, wind and hail damage. Lightning can enter and run throughout a house via the electrical wiring, plumbing, or telephone and other above-ground lines. Preventing damage is a matter of providing alternative ways for the electrical surge to travel into the ground.

Unplugging all appliances, electronics, telephones, and other devices during the storm is one way to protect your property from electrical damage.  Another way is through protective devices, which are are available through your electric company and home improvement stores. These vary in price and effectiveness and should be investigated.

Check with your insurance company regularly to ensure that you have adequate coverage for the kind of damage that can result from severe thunderstorms. Flash flooding and excessive rain can put your home at risk for flood damage. This is not covered by most homeowners’ insurance policies. If you live near a stream which floods regularly, or you are located in a flood plain, it is probably wise to investigate flood insurance, despite the cost.

If you live in a region prone to tornado damage, there are a number of things you might want to include in your remodeling plans to protect your family, your home, and your pets. Some of these remodels might reduce your insurance costs. To keep your family safe during a severe storm with high winds, consider constructing a safe room built of concrete with steel doors.  To protect your home:

  • Replace any gravel or rock used in landscaping with shredded bark mulch.
  • Trim, prune or remove any trees or large shrubs with weak branches or dead spots. Remove all dead trees.
  • Check and repair all connections between the parts of your home – roof walls, foundation – and reinforce where necessary.
  • Replace windows with impact-resistant windows or install impact-resistant shutters.
  • Make sure all door frames are firmly anchored to wall framing.
  • Use only doors with three hinges.
  • Install a deadbolt with at least a one-inch bolt on every exterior door.
  • Replace patio doors with impact-resistant door systems or install impact-resistant shutters to cover them.
  • Upgrade to a garage door system where both the track and door can withstand strong winds.  Reinforce doors that are more than 8 feet wide.
  • Make sure that both the roof covering and the sheathing will withstand strong winds.
  • Reinforce the end wall of any gables.
  • Anchor the roof to the walls with metal clips and straps.
  • Be sure walls are properly anchored to the foundation.
  • Be sure the framing of the second level of the house is properly anchored to the framing of the lower level.

While all of these steps might not be a necessary part of every remodel, if you live in a high-risk area, these tips will help you provide the greatest possible safety for your family and your possessions. Remodeling is the perfect time to check the structure, the connections and the strength of your walls, roof, windows, doors, and frame.

Our remodeling workbook and organizer will help you plan your remodel.  Click here to take a look at it.