Resolve to Recover 2014
The start of a new year often means making resolutions to better ourselves. Why not make a resolution that involves bettering your home as well—making it stronger and safer for you and your family?
As rebuilding continues in central and southern Illinois after the Nov. 17 tornadoes, keep in mind the tips and ideas below for making your recovery an opportunity to protect against future disasters.
Rebuild Safer, Stronger and Smarter
- Reinforce your Residence. Consider retrofitting options, or steps to improve your home’s protection from natural disasters, including high wind events. One of the most common type of wind damage to a structure is called “uplift”—when a roof lifts and collapses back down on the house causing costly damage. Fortunately, you can minimize the chances of this happening by installing straps connecting the structural members of your roof to the wall studs or columns.
Other risk reduction ideas include:
- Use shingles rated for 90+ mph wind and use a minimum of four nails per shingle.
- Make sure windows and doors are properly shimmed and nailed into the framed opening, tying the window and door frames into the adjacent studs, and
- Install a garage door that is designed for higher wind speeds.
FEMA recommends consulting with a certified home inspector to determine if these are viable options for your home.
Fortify those Floors. Homeowners can secure their structure to the foundation by using anchors or metal straps. Your builder should ensure there are anchor bolt connections between the plate and the foundation at least every four feet. Ensure the bolts have nuts and washers to secure the sill plate to the foundation. It’s also a good idea to use an exterior wood sheathing (either OSB or plywood) to prevent wind-borne debris from penetrating the walls of your home.
Consult with your local building code official as well as a certified home inspector to determine the best options for you.
Trim & Tighten. High velocity winds from thunderstorms and tornadoes can turn patio furniture, grills and tree branches into destructive missiles. If the area immediately surrounding your house contains trees, outbuildings, trash cans, yard debris, or other materials that can be moved by the wind, your house will more likely be damaged during a tornado or windstorm.
All storage sheds and other outbuildings should be securely anchored, either to a permanent foundation or with straps and ground anchors. The straps and ground anchors used for manufactured homes can be used for the anchoring systems for outbuildings, such as garden sheds, which are not placed on a permanent foundation. Outdoor furniture and barbecue grills can be secured by bolting them to decks or patios or by attaching them to ground anchors with cables or chains. Trees should also be trimmed so they’re at a safe distance away from your home.
- Elevation is a Smart Renovation. Flooding is a real risk in Illinois and elevating your home and its critical utilities can significantly reduce the risk of water damage. Elevating your home may even reduce your flood insurance premiums. Contact your local floodplain manager to learn the flood risk and elevation requirements for your residence.
- Assure You’re Fully Insured. Take the time to review your insurance coverage. Are you adequately insured for the risks your community faces? Are you covered for wind, flood and sewer back-up? Has your policy been updated to reflect the value of your home? Many homeowners find out too late that their insurance coverage has not increased with the value of their home. Contact your insurance agent to get these questions answered and ensure your home is financially protected.
Preliminary Damage Assessment Report
PDA Report; FEMA-4157-DR