Across the UK and Ireland, spring storms seem to be getting more ferocious and intense every year. Storm Doris caused 20,000 power cuts in Ireland and cost the UK an estimated £400m. That’s some amount of carnage from one angry lady!
What the above figures cannot reveal is the cost of individual property damage for home owners across the country. Be it from dislodged roofing slates, leaks, fallen trees or the impact of flying debris, your home is not impervious to Mother Nature when the mood takes her. But the good news is that a lot of the damage caused is completely preventable. Here's how:
Tackle those small home repair jobs
It goes without saying, the imminent arrival of a storm – or storm season itself – is a good time to fix any lingering structural or peripheral weaknesses in your home. The adage of paying a little now, or potentially a lot later on after the storm hits is particularly apt here!
Here are some of the most common areas you should look at before a storm hits:
- If you have cracked window glass or broken window structures you should get a qualified glazier to fix it before the high winds arrive.
- Fix any issues with outside doors that don’t close property or come unstuck in high winds.
- Equally any existing issues to decking or outside carpentry (think sheds, fencing, gazebos etc.) will be more prone to further damage in stormy weather. You should secure loose boards or remove rotten wood where possible and weather proof them accordingly. Get a carpenter in if it is above your current abilities – you can see how much a carpenter will cost for the job here.
- Blocked or broken drains can cause the accumulation of water and increase the chances of leaks or burst drains. It’s a good idea to address them sooner rather than later. A roofer or handyman can help here.
While these are some of the most common areas we see, it is worth doing a survey of your property to identify other potential issues to be addressed. As with all of the above, you can get a quote for your repair job from our qualified trade professionals here.
Inspect Your Roof
In storms, the roof is one of the areas of your home that takes most of the impact. Damage caused can vary from dislodged roofing slates to structural damage. Roofs with overhangs can be particularly prone to structural storm damage in the wrong conditions. Indeed, a number of years ago in Carrickmines in Co. Dublin the entire roof of an established apartment complex was torn from the building in high winds. Scary stuff!
The good news is that some regular maintenance and surveying of your roof structure can the significantly reduce the likelihood of any storm damage.You can read all about how to spot roofing damage in our previous blog post.
We would also advise that you hire qualified roofer to undertake an annual inspection to identify any potentially weak spots. From a structural perspective you can also get a building surveyor to assess any potential defects that might cause issues in your building.
Trees, hedges and Mother Nature!
You will often hear on news reports of fallen trees blocking roads in the aftermath of a major storm. Unfortunately these occurrences are not restricted to roads or public areas, they also happen in and around our homes. There are many occurrences where fallen trees or branches have damaged homes.
Overgrown and unhealthy trees are more prone to becoming damaged in stormy conditions and falling onto your home. However, assessing the health of a tree is a highly specialised area and it should be carried out only by a qualified tree surgeon (You can get a quote here). We would recommend getting one in to see if there is a risk to your home and taking the appropriate action.
Trimming back and pruning overgrown branches yourself is something that you can potentially do yourself. If you don’t have the necessary equipment, our sister site Handyhardware.ie do an extensive range of chainsaws, Hedge trimmers and forestry kits at reasonable prices. Pay particular attention to trees and hedges beside your home.
Anchoring potential debris and flying objects!
Often in a storm it’s not structural issues in the home itself that can cause problems, but items outside or near the home that collide into your structure causing breakage or damage. In storm Doris we were told of an incident where a home owner’s full-size trampoline ended up in a neighbors back garden. The crazy thing was that it hopped 2 gardens on its journey and ended up right outside the neighbors back window (thankfully not going through it!)
So the advice here is to tie down or weigh down movable objects outside the home. These include (but are not limited to):
• Wheelie bins / Bid lids etc.
• Garden furniture
• Pots and Planters
• Trampolines and other movable objects!
Using good quality rope and a strong tarpaulin is key, with anchor points also helping to secure items.
In reality the potential for damage will be largely based on the ferocity of the storm that arrives. While you can follow the above to limit damage, sometimes it is in the lap of the gods. If we can help further please let us know.
Stay safe and warm this storm season!