Preparing for Hurricanes

An unfortunate natural calamity that people living around coastlines have to experience are tropical storms and hurricanes. Hurricanes are storm systems that form over the water and proceed to the neighboring land area. They are characterized by heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes and rip currents. Hurricanes are also referred to as typhoons or cyclones in different parts of the world.

Unfortunately, the United States is affected annually by these storms. You may be tempted to think you are safe, but this might not be the case if you are within a 100-mile radius from the shore. Lack of preparation can lead to a fatal outcome for the neighboring areas. While you may not be able to prevent one, you certainly can take the necessary precautions to minimize casualties, loss of life, and damage to property.

Basic Preparation Tips for a Hurricane

Before the hurricaneHurricane

Even if there is no imminent risk involved, it is always a good idea to stay prepared.

  • Get yourself emergency supplies for your household, pets, and your car.
  • Program emergency numbers into your cell phone and write them near all the phones in the house too. You could stick them on the refrigerator as well.
  • Learn the different shelters nearest to you and the safest evacuation routes just in case.
  • Educate your family members about warning sirens in your locality, use of fire extinguishers, and any relevant information to dispel any fear and anxiety.
  • Make copies of all important

Preparing your home

  • Trim trees before hurricanes to avoid damage to your property when they strike.
  • Secure and reinforce windows and glass doors with sheets of plywood or other protection to reduce damage from flying debris.
  • For power outages, install generators but keep them outside; at least 20 feet away from the windows and doors. They should also be shielded from moisture.
  • To prevent flooding, clear any clogged rain gutters.
  • Store away lawn furniture, trash cans, garden tools, etc., in a safe place to avoid them flying around and hurting others or damaging other things.
  • Buy a flood insurance for your property especially if you reside along the coast.
  • Insure your cars as well because you can’t be able to take all your vehicles to the shelter. If you can park it in a concrete multi-story parking garage, this is the safest place. But expect some damage when you leave it at your property.
  • Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do to protect your roof and siding. It will depend how well it was installed and even if it was installed well, your roof and siding may be damaged. What you can do though is to call several companies ahead of time to make contacts and ask them to put you on a list for storm damage repairs so they get to you sooner rather than later.

During the warning

Evacuation

  • Strictly follow evacuation orders if given.
  • Take whatever belongings are essential and nothing else.
  • Unplug all your household appliances and turn off the gas, water, and electricity.
  • Follow the recommended routes even if there is traffic.
  • Carry your car’s emergency kit with you.
  • Check up on family and friends and find out if they are safe.

If you need to stay at home

  • Ensure you keep listening to updates on the radio or TV.
  • Stay indoors unless there is official communication that the storm is over.
  • Steer clear of You can stay in your closet or a room without windows.
  • Be prepared to leave if you are ordered to.

Protecting your pets

For information on how to protect your pets during this period, get in touch with your local animal shelter or local government animal control services. Some of the agencies and organizations that can be of great help include;

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Red Rover
  • Pet Travel and Lodging Resources

What You Should Have in your Hurricane Kit

  • First aid kit
  • Batteries and flashlight
  • Local maps
  • Battery powered radio
  • Whistle to look for help

 

Dealing with Damage on Roofs and Siding

After the storm, if you were unlucky and did get some damage, call the company or companies you contacted in advance and set up a time for them to come out and work on your property.

 

Vinyl Siding Benefits and Options

There is definitely a reason why vinyl siding is one of the most popular siding options for construction and remodeling. Our friends at Bel Air Gutter & Siding (http://www.belairgutter.com/) say the best thing about it is its resistance to rotting, peeling or splitting. It gives an almost similar look to wood without the difficulty in installation and maintenance. Once installed, you don’t have to worry about painting, scraping or ever staining it.Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is plastic material manufactured from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The bigger percentage of its weight is PVC while about 20% are the ingredients that make up the color, durability, flexibility, etc. There are three main categories of vinyl siding: Horizontal, vertical and shakes. Different types of vinyl sidings are available in various textures, lengths, and thickness and therefore prices differ.

Here are the styles available

Horizontal Lap/Clapboard siding

  • Dutch Lap

They are designed in a similar way to wooden planks where they overlap each other sharply to form troughs between the boards.

  • Traditional lap

These are long, broad planks that overlap each other. That means that each plank slightly covers the one below it. This design not only enhances the appeal, but it enables water to be shed effectively.

  • Log siding

Many home owners desire the rustic look of the log cabin without the costs associated with the real wood. This style, therefore, gives the owners that authentic wood look at a lower cost and maintenance.

  • Beaded

Each panel has a notch or a rounded groove at its bottom which creates a shadow. This style is associated with a wealthy and luxurious lifestyle.

Shingle and Shake

  • Cedar shakes

These engineered cedar shakes are lower in cost and maintenance than the original cedar shakes. They are arranged vertically and have a variety of color options. This dramatic rough textured look is also known as the traditional edge.

  • Half-round/scalloped shakes

These mimic a cedar shingle look providing a flat finish and texture. They are a charm evidenced by their presence on historical or gable homes.

  • Insulated siding

The best thing about this type of siding is its significant resistance to extreme weather conditions. It also acts as a great buffer against noise.

Vertical

This style is most common in barns, office buildings, and farmhouses; although many homes have now embraced this style. Beneath the vertical siding, furring strips are used to achieve a smooth finish.

  • Board and batten

These are long vertical boards which are attached using battens to the homes. The battens also cover the seams. Battens are long, flat, wood or metal pieces used to firmly secure or fasten things to the walls.

If you are considering a home makeover, speak to a siding contractor. If you are in the Baltimore, we recommend Bel Air Gutter and Siding. Whichever contractor you call will advise you on the available siding options and their different qualities. This way, you will be better suited to make a favorable decision for your home.

Wide Variety of Roof Material Options

Roof Material Options

Roofing options are now more readily available than before. They come in a wide array of materials with different functions. These roofing styles greatly enhance the appearance and design of your home too. Different materials have their strengths and limitations so here are some tips on how to determine which one suits you.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Roofing MaterialStanding Seam Roof

  • Lifespan
  • Slope of the roof
  • Style of your house
  • Cost of the materials
  • Ability to withstand natural calamities
  • Its weight compared to the existing roof frame
  • Eco-friendliness of the roofing materials
  • Approval of the roof type by local building codes

Types of Roofing Available

Some examples of roofing materials commonly used in the market include;

  1. Asphalt Composition Shingles

Over 80% of the residential roofings are made from this material making it the most popular type used in homes; probably because it is cheaper. They deteriorate quickly due to UV rays and emit solvents into the air. Their dark color contributes to the ‘heat island effect’ of increased temperatures in the urban regions. They are not a very durable option as they are more prone to leaking and water damage. Depending on the weather, quality and surrounding trees, their longevity ranges from 12-20 years.

  1. Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are 100% recyclable at the end of its lifetime. However, when it rains, these will be a bit noisy which some people actually like. With time, probably 25 years, the screws might need replacement because of damage from the UV rays. It is also recommended to install snow guards. Metal roofs are bound to last for at least 50 years or more.

  1. Wooden Roof

Wood Shingles

Also known as cedar shingles, they are low energy, and highly resistant to rot, moisture and wind. They give your home a natural like appearance. These appear thin and flat. They are not allowed in some areas prone to fire hazards. Hail can also cause the shingles to split. Depending on the type of finish, they stain every 5 to 15 years. They have an average lifespan of at least 30 years.

Wood Shakes

Thick wood shakes can serve you for 35-40 years, but they need constant maintenance. These are split from the logs. Shakes are more resistant than shingles. To ensure they last, remove debris soon as it falls, removes moss when it forms, replace curled, cupped or split shakes right away.

  1. Green Roofs

There are two types of roofs; intensive and extensive green roofs.

An intensive roof is also called a rooftop garden. The soil is dug to a depth of up to 6 inches to support green and healthy small trees, shrubs, and vegetables. This blocks UV rays reducing the heat island effect. It also reduces runoff through absorption of rainwater. It, however, requires a lot of maintenance and you would have to factor in the cost of an irrigation system and creating access to the roof. If installed correctly, it can last from 30 to 50 years.

Extensive roofs provide similar benefits but only support the growth of drought resistant plants such as rosemary, thyme or chives. They are a bit heavier than your typical roof and may require additional structural work. Vegetable gardens don’t thrive well in extensive roofs because of their depth.

  1. Clay Tile

They are made from natural clay which is fired in a kiln. In other names, clay tiles are sometimes called Spanish tiles. They remain in relatively good shape. You should avoid walking on them as they can break.

  1. Concrete Tile

These are fire resistant and quite heavy too. They are less expensive than clay tiles and are durable. They are made from a mixture of sand and Portland cement. It is suitable for moderate and steep sloped roofs.

  1. Slate

It is made from natural slate rock/stone laid out on the roof. It has stood the test of time and is considered the best, oldest, and most durable material in the market. With a lifespan of 100 years, if installed correctly, it is well worth your money. It requires a strong structure for support as it is a heavy material. It provides resistance to both fire and wind. To ensure it continues to provide full functionality, replace your copper flashing if it turns black and replace broken tiles too.

What are the Benefits of Seamless Gutters?

Should I choose a sectional gutter system or a seamless gutter system? Homeowners often ask this question when they want to purchase aluminum gutters for their homes. This is a choice you’ll have to make at one point. For the most part of the past years, homeowners were using sectional gutter systems which were available in pieces and sections. Once one purchased the gutters, he could use a sealant to connect the pieces or sections to each other so that it could fit the home. With a seamless gutter system, homeowners don’t have to form a gutter system out of multiple sections or pieces. Seamless gutter systems can be installed as a single section or piece. It’s important that you understand the benefits of installing seamless gutters in your home.

No Leakage

One of the things that make seamless gutter systems superior to sectional gutter systems is their ability to minimize leaks. Over time, sectional gutters start to wear and soon start leaking water. Installing a gutter system that doesn’t leak means that your home, roof, and foundation are safe from water damage. Problems arising from leaks can result in health complications as well as structural damage to property. Mold growth often leads to respiratory and breathing problems. A seamless gutter will carry away all the water from your home thereby protecting your foundation, basement, and roof.

Aesthetics

Seamless gutter systems look great as well. Remember your home is a huge investment hence the need to maintain and add value to it. The goal of any home improvement or renovation project in your home should not only be to increase your comfort but also add value. Installing seamless gutters will help you improve the look and appearance of your entire home. Note that seamless gutters are available in different styles and colors. You choose what works best for your home. The joints on sectional gutter systems not only cause leaks but are also unattractive.

Customizable

As mentioned, seamless gutters are available in different styles and colors. This means it’s so easy for you to choose what fits the design and style of your home. They are customizable in style and color. That means you’re not limited to work with a specific type of style. You’re free to choose what blends perfectly with your home. You can integrate seamless gutters precisely with your home’s existing structure.

Easy to Maintain

Well, everyone wants to install hassle-free alternatives. You want something that needs less of your time and resources when it comes to maintenance. The last thing any homeowner wants is spending hours every week or month maintaining his or her gutter system. With a seamless gutter system, you’ll spend less time every few months taking care of your gutters. Remember aluminum is one of those materials that don’t require much when it comes to maintenance.

Better Return on Investment

Most people get scared about the initial cost of installing seamless gutters. The fact that this option comes with less repair and maintenance costs means you’ll spend less in the long run. You’ll need to hire a qualified professional to help install it in the first place. This might seem costly but will offer you with a better return on investment.