How a few upgrades to your roof and windows can fortify your home ahead of a hurricane

WELLINGTON, Fla. - You might be months away from getting your income tax return, but now's the time to start thinking about fortifying your home ahead of next hurricane season. 

If Todd Hallett wants to look out his windows next time there's a hurricane, now he can. 

"We've been through a lot of hurricanes down here and last year was another one where everything was dark inside, didn't know what was going on," said Hallett. 

So, he made the decision to go with hurricane impact windows. 

"Most folks don’t realize there’s over 30 different ways to order hurricane impact windows," said Tat Granata, the vice president of sales and partner with Florida Home Improvement Associates

If you are making the investment, Granata said go with windows that will be energy efficient and make sure to have a warranty. Even if its impact glass, it can still damage your windows.

"Impact glass, it's glass. So, if it does hit with flying debris, it's going to crack," said Granata. 

So, where do you start? Granata says some clients don't have the budget to do all windows at once and that's OK. 

"Where were you last year in your home when you were scared? Where did you think was the safest part of your home, and let’s start right there. Let's start making that really safe. Let's protect that part of your home," said Granata. 

Next, now that your windows are stronger, make sure your roof is too. 

"If you get a little extra cash, and you want to save some money on your homeowner's insurance or you want to protect your house from wind uplift, definitely get the straps done," said Danny Tomici, the owner of The Roofsmith Inc. 

You can add straps to your roof even if you are not re-roofing your home. On an average size home, Tomici said you shouldn't spend more than $1,500 for straps. 

"The straps are attached to the cement block, so what it does is it takes the truss, it connects it to the wall, the cement wall and the straps go over the truss so it's basically bracing down the truss," said Tomici.

If you are re-roofing, Tomici suggests getting a secondary water barrier. 

"Once these plywood sheets are on here, it's basically a tap that would go at the seams of the plywood," said Tomici. "Worst case scenario, if the winds pick up all the roof material, this piece is actually adhered to the plywood, it would allow for the water to go over rather than into the home." 

On a home that's 2,000 square feet, Tomici says adding the secondary water barrier would cost around $1,200. 

Then, if you are re-roofing your home, consider upgrading the underlayment that goes on top of the plywood.

"So, to go above and beyond, you would use a self-adhered underlayment directly to your plywood in order to create a resistance of wind uplift in a hurricane," said Tomici. 

Tomici said the self-adhered underlayment on a standard home could add $1,500 to the job. 

If you are not on a budget, Tomici said consider getting a metal roof. It would be double the cost of a standard shingle roof, but Tomici said metal roofs will last longer and add more protection from wind uplift than a shingle or tile roof. 

These upgrades can mean the difference between minor and major damage. Hallett said he has a warranty on his new hurricane impact windows and should be set for life.

"We're good to go for good," Hallett said. 

Granata said you can also look into hurricane impact doors for your home if you don't have shutters to cover any windows on the doors.

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