Mold Resources

Whether building a new house, renovating a property, or making upgrades, there are quite a few options homeowners can make to safeguard their homes from the effects of a powerful hurricane. It may seem like a high cost, but the more money invested and steps you can knock out, the better prepared your home will be to avoid water damage from a hurricane and any unwanted indoor contaminants. 

A good idea is to go zone by zone through a home and figure out what you can do to protect each area. You should also check out your local area, including flood information, and determine the risk level for your home. 

It’s important to note that for homes in states prone to hurricanes, make sure to check with local and state building codes and regulations for any new renovations and installations. For example, Florida specifies the wind speeds new buildings must be able to withstand. This will offer a baseline guide for any decisions you make regarding your home. 

That being said, here are some steps you can take to safeguard your home from water damage and mold after a hurricane: 

1. Reinforce Doors

There are several ways to protect doors from the heavy winds and rain associated with hurricanes. 

  • Use powerful door hinges and bolts: This will add a layer of protection from wind and debris, making sure the door stays closed and water does not get in. Make sure that they are at the top and bottom of the door. 

  • Upgrade to an impact-resistant option: These are engineered to withstand heavy winds, rain, and projectiles tossed around during the storm. For glass doors, in particular, this is a huge area to focus on.

  • Install a Storm Door: These are secondary, outer doors placed in front of the main exterior doors to better protect your main entrance. Think of them as an extra layer buffering your home from anything being tossed around. They’ll take the brunt of the hail and debris that can damage your exterior door or knock it open.

  • Opt for storm shutters: These can be deployed to act as a barrier between the weather events outside and the openings into the home.

  • Raise the thresholds of any exterior doors: This will give them a bit more protection against any rising water levels outside of the home due to hurricane conditions. 

  • Add flood shields: This will add a layer of protection against water coming in and help protect against mold after a hurricane. 

2. Bolster Windows

  • Install high-impact windows: These are made with heavy-duty frames and safety glass, making them a great option for safeguarding a home from damage due to a storm as well as mold after a hurricane. 

  • Opt for storm shutters: These can be used in lieu of high-impact windows or as an added layer of defense against wind, hail, and blowing debris. 

  • Ensure that windows are installed properly: One of the main issues leading to water damage, in general, is improperly installed windows. Checking to make sure that your windows are in tip-top shape and resolving any issues helps ensure outside moisture doesn’t make its way inside. 

  • Add flood shields: This will add a layer of protection against water coming in and help protect against mold after a hurricane. 

3. Protect the Garage

  • Install a drainage system: Like the shower drain, these systems will divert any water that made its way into the garage, right back out. The sooner water can be removed from the environment, the better. If this system isn’t already in place, it should absolutely be added. 

  • Invest in a wind-resistant or impact-resistant door: These are engineered to improve the maximum wind speed the door can withstand as well as any flying debris. Make sure to check the impact rating to see exactly how much it can hold. 

4. Secure the Roof

  • Opt for a roofing material that can withstand hurricane-force winds and damage: Metal roofing, for instance, can withstand 140 mph on average and does not absorb moisture so that rainwater can run right off. They’re also better at withstanding damage from hail and debris.

  • Install hurricane ties: These are used for deck or roof framing to secure rafters, trusses, or joists to the wood framework to protect the roof from high winds that can lift the surface away from the home. 

  • Include a sealed roof deck: This is a secondary water barrier that is meant to stay in place in case the roof blows off the home.

  • Limit roof overhangs: These are prone to wind damage, causing widespread roof and structural failure. Limiting this area to under 20 inches will help your home resist hurricane-force elements. 

5. Assess Landscaping

  • Make sure that landscape grading slopes down and away from the home in all directions: This helps divert water away from the home so that it doesn’t pool near the foundation. 

  • Elevate low areas or improve the surrounding space by adding layers of topsoil: This helps to redirect water more efficiently so that it doesn’t pool around the foundation.

  • Ensure that trees and plants are far enough away from the home: This makes sure that roots will not crack the foundation. 15–20 feet is ideal, but take a look at the growth characteristics of each specific plant. 

6. Safeguard Basements and Crawlspaces

  • Seal basements and use a spray-on encapsulant on crawl spaces: These are the lowest levels of the homes, so they need a bit more effort to help prevent flooding. Sealing them can help prevent outside moisture from coming in and mold after a hurricane. That being said, there are a few key points to consider with this. Poly-encapsulation systems are not recommended as they can trap mold, mildew, and bacteria. For concrete or masonry-based product basement or crawlspace wall systems, a good quality spray on moisture inhibitor is best. For wooden structural and semi-structural members, a good quality, zero VOC, and permeable mold inhibiting coating is highly recommended for protection against microbial surface adhesion. 

  • Consider flood vents in the crawlspace: In some states, flood vents are mandatory by code and for proper flood coverage by insurance companies, depending on the area and proximity to a flood zone. The NFIP Regulations and Building Codes require that any residential building constructed in Flood Zone Type A have the lowest floor, including basements, elevated to or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Enclosed areas (enclosures) are permitted under elevated buildings provided that they meet certain use restrictions and construction requirements such as the installation of flood vents to allow for the automatic entry and exit of flood waters. This wet floodproofing technique is required for residential buildings. Flood vents may be of a solid (non-vented) variety to allow more aggressive humidity control countermeasures (such as a suspended dehumidification system).

  • Install a backwater valve or floor drain plugs: This device will help prevent backed-up sewage and water from entering the home.

  • Install a sump pump or french drain: These will help direct any pooled water away from the home so that it doesn’t continue to build up and cause mold after a hurricane. If possible, get a battery-operated backup pump as well, so that it can still be used in the event of power loss. 

7. Secure the HVAC

  • Outfit the system with metal tie-down straps: These tools secure the system to the ground so that strong winds can’t rip it away.

  • Install a protection cage: This will help secure the system so that strong winds don’t pick it up and help protect it from damage. 

8. Assess the Gutter Situation

  • Make sure that they’re installed properly and that downspouts point away from the home: Opting for downspout extensions is a great way to add another layer of protection so that mold after a hurricane does not occur.

9. Increase Siding Resistance

  • Choose a siding that is better equipped to handle heavy winds and storms: Siding options vary depending on each unique situation but typically, vinyl is a great material option. 

10. Miscellaneous

  • Replace hard landscaping materials like gravel and rocks with softer materials such as mulch or dirt.

  • Elevate the home if you’re in an area prone to flooding or storm surges. This is incredibly costly but can save you money down the line from recurring water damage and mold after a hurricane. 

  • Move appliances and utilities to higher-level floors and above Base Flood Elevation (BFE) in case of flooding. This is safer and can prevent them from getting water damage or becoming contaminated with mold and bacteria. 

  • Using mold-resistant materials in the home. Opting for things like mold-resistant paint and caulk is a great way to prevent mold after a flood occurs in your home. 

  • Opt for flood damage-resistant and moisture-resistant building materials. These materials are designed to sustain little or no damage after 72 hours of water exposure and can be successfully cleaned to render them free of harmful pollutants. Check out this guideline by FEMA for more information. 

  • Anchor the fuel tank to the ground to help prevent any damage. 

  • Take extra precautions to anchor down any outside additions such as aluminum carports, storage buildings, or dog houses.

When in doubt, contact a qualified professional to come out and assess the home to see what protections you can install and which are best suited for your unique needs. 

To learn more about protecting your home from mold before a hurricane hits, click here. 

To learn more about protecting your home from mold after a hurricane hits, click here. 

To learn more about whether or not your insurance will cover you for mold after a hurricane, click here

To learn more about checking for mold after a hurricane hits, click here

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