Storm Brendan: How to protect your home from storms and gale force winds
Storm Brendan has hit the UK and left a trail of destruction in the UK. The East of England has not experienced as much damage as the western half of the UK, but walking around Cambridge, with winds of up to 50mph, the effects of storm damage are evident.
Let’s hope that the worst has passed, as high winds can damage and weaken buildings. Such high winds can result in damage to buildings and risk to life from flying objects, so it is important to make sure you, and your property is safe.
Prevention is better than cure so here are some ways you can protect your home from storms. Carry out regular maintenance to save yourself a lot of hassle and costs. Look at what our experts have to say and get in touch to discuss any problems that have come as a result of the recent adverse weather.
Protect your home from storms
The roof is the most vulnerable part of your home, and like anything else, subject to wear and tear. It’s your first line of defence from the elements, so take some time to inspect it carefully before and after a storm. Here are some tell-tale signs to look out for:
- Debris on the ground – tiles, slates or shingles – indicate a problem.
- The flashings – the thin pieces of metal positioned to provide a watertight barrier; unchecked they can create rot or contribute to internal wall damage.
- Standing proud, chimneys are also subject to deterioration so look for signs of damage.
- Rusted nails, mould, sagging material and loose sheathing are signs of leaking.
- Check under the eaves and overhangs and around dormers and skylights for water leakage.
- Flat roofs covered with bituminous felt need regular checking as they are prone to leaks and water damage. Check for cracks, heat bubbles, pooling water, de-lamination and joints between the flat roof and walls.
- Ensure that the stone chippings (where relevant) have not become displaced as this can expose the felt to the elements, leading to damage.
Guttering, facia and downpipes
You should aim to clean out your gutters at least twice a year, and always check them carefully after a heavy storm.
The following are signs of damage:
- Sagging gutters and loose brackets nails. However, if you see signs of rust on the rain gutters, the entire gutter may need replacing. Your aim is to make sure that the gutters are clear of leaves, twigs and other debris so that the water can flow freely into the drains and prevent expensive water damage elsewhere.
- Ensure there are no gaps on the fascia boards (the vertical pieces that connect your roof to the house) that can let in moisture, insects or animals into your roof or attic. Left unchecked these can cause expensive damage, so keep in a good state of repair.
- Check that down-pipes lead straight into drains and soakaways, and that all the fixing brackets are intact and securely attached to the fascia board. Finally, to avoid leaks, secure sections of gutter that have come apart.
Your outdoor space can take a real battering during a storm, but there is a lot you can do as soon as you hear the forecast that will minimise damage. For example, put away garden furniture and equipment, stake plants and secure bins. In addition, put things that are liable to be blown away, such as bird tables, hanging baskets and ornaments. You may have heard about the trampoline that ended up on the M7 in Limerick.
Invest wisely and don’t opt for cheap solutions when buying a greenhouse. Invest in one with toughened glass and make sure it does not go in an exposed position. Also ensure it is fixed to a stable, secure and level base. The same can be said for sheds. For both, always shut all the doors and vents, so that wind can’t funnel through the greenhouse and blow the glass out from the inside or lift the roof off the shed.
To ensure your fencing remains in place, it is important to use good quality fence posts. Make sure they are sunk deeply into the ground and are well secured. Do remember that gates can swing open during high winds so close and lock your gates to prevent damage.
Think about the long term and be careful where you plant trees because they can cause extensive damage to your home if they get blown over in storms.
Gale force winds will test your windows and reveal any signs of damage and areas for repair. Keep them closed during the storm and if you are concerned speak to a specialist to check. Windows should not let in draughts and noise, they should not rattle with the wind, but keep it out. The only thing your window should let in, is the light.