Wet weather, hurricanes, and their aftermaths are nothing new to North Carolina homeowners, but sometimes it’s tough to know exactly what Mother Nature is going to dish out. For instance, Hurricane Ian’s path through Florida and along the Atlantic Coast continually changes, but North Carolina is projected to experience the remnants in the form of several inches of rain that can flood crawl spaces and basements and destabilize foundations.
Ian is only one of a handful of storms this year, as Danielle kicked off a late season as the first named hurricane. Hurricane season typically begins June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30, so more storms are expected as the National Weather Service maintains its prediction for an “above average” season.
Thousands of homes can sustain damage, from coastal locations like Wilmington to inland cities like Raleigh. With the average insurance claim for hurricane damage at $115,000, anything you can do to prepare your home ahead of time is important. However, local foundation experts will be by your side if your home does sustain damage. Learn the four ways to prepare your North Carolina home for hurricanes and how Tar Heel Basement Systems can help.
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1. Prepare for Hurricane Flooding
We’ve all seen the photos where streets become waterways. Flood risk is very high during a hurricane. Water management systems can reach their maximum capacity because of the combination of heavy rains, storm surge, ocean tides, and overflowing rivers.
Flooding causes a lot of damage and is very expensive. FEMA reports that just one inch of water in an average home can cost more than $25,000 in damage. A home with one foot of water could see a loss of more than $72,000.
When it comes to flooding, the adage is true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, every $1 spent on mitigation saves $6 in repairs. Plus, flood mitigation may also lower your insurance premiums, with some homeowners seeing a 15 percent reduction. Many flood insurance policies will also reimburse homeowners up to $1,000 for flood mitigation efforts.
There is a clear financial incentive to reducing flood risk, but what should you do?
- Add Basement or Crawl Space Waterproofing
When preparing for a hurricane, one of the first steps is to waterproof your basement or crawl space. Because these areas of your home are at ground level or below ground, the work you do to add waterproofing can have a significant effect on how well your home can withstand rising floodwaters.
Following an initial assessment of your basement or crawl space needs, professionals commonly recommend repairing foundation cracks where water could enter your home, adding interior drainage systems, and installing basement wall systems or crawl space encapsulation.
- Install a Sump Pump
A major aspect of hurricane preparedness is installing a sump pump. These automated devices can help you quickly manage water problems, pumping out thousands of gallons of water. The faster you’re able to get water out of your house, the less flood damage you could experience. Not only can sump pumps help you better manage a flood, but they also let you rest easy knowing you’re prepared.
- Protect Doors with Sandbags
Protect Doors with Sandbags
- After making these ground-level preparations well before a hurricane, that only leaves your entryways to secure before the storm hits. Create a sandbag perimeter to prevent water from entering your home at the bottom of a doorway. Start with a layer of plastic sheeting, and build your sandbag wall against it. Even if you still get water seeping in through your sandbag barrier, your sump pump will be able to quickly deal with it.
2. Prepare for Heavy Rain
Throughout the hurricane season, regular yard maintenance will position you to better withstand the storm. Here’s what you can do to prepare.
- Maintain Gutters and Drainage
Start rain preparations by clearing your gutters, downspouts, and drains . If you’re facing a foot of rain, that’s nearly 12,000 gallons of water that will be falling on your roof. Clean up yard debris so that gutters function smoothly and rain is directed away from your foundation. You may also need to contact local officials to maintain storm drains in your neighborhood.
- Clean Up Your Yard
Removing yard debris before a hurricane can help you reduce the chances that you’ll have a drainage clog during the storm. More than just leaves and sticks, consider how heavy rains could take down tree limbs. Addressing large problems beforehand can help you avoid major roof damage during a storm.
- Have Tarps Ready
Tarps can help you manage hurricane rains. If something does happen where you have rainwater coming inside, a tarp can help you to manage or mitigate the worst of the water damage.
3. Prepare for Hurricane Winds
The long coastline of North Carolina makes the state especially susceptible to hurricane damage. When Hurricane Isaias made landfall in 2020, the shore near Wrightsville Beach had gusts between 85 and 99 mph, causing extensive damage.
- Cover Your Windows
To prepare for high winds, start with the most breakable part of your structure—the windows. Not only can a broken window result in significant damage to your belongings, but it can also cause a tunnel effect where the wind could blow your home apart. A sheet of 5/8” plywood is a common tactic, but there are also options such as permanently installed storm shutters.
- Secure Doors and Garage
Doors are a weak point in your home and can be vulnerable to wind gusts. If your garage door fails, the wind will likely cause your roof to fail. Secure your home with a wind-load garage door or by retrofitting your existing garage door with a brace or hurricane shutter.
- Reinforce Your Roof with Straps and Ties
Hurricane straps and ties can secure the joints and improve the stability of your structure. One of the strongest protections against wind damage is to use a system that anchors the roof, walls, and foundation together to create a continuous load path.
4. Prepare for Hurricane Outages
Often, the area of power outages extends far beyond the parts of the state that have the worst flood damage. However, the worst effects can occur when there’s the combined impact of flooding during a power outage. To protect against these circumstances, it’s important to have backup power for your water management system.
- Add a Backup Battery for your Sump Pump
After installing a backup battery, your sump pump can keep pumping water out of your home even when the lights go out. Many sump pumps have an integrated battery so you won’t have to worry about hook-ups or connections. During a flood, it can be a while before it’s safe to activate power lines or use a generator, but sump pump batteries are designed to function safely in wet conditions.
- Prepare Your Household with a Generator and Bags of Ice
Also, prepare the rest of your household for power outages. This includes having ice for perishable food and having a generator to run appliances after the immediate water threat has passed.
Prepare for Unpredictable Weather with Expert Service You Can Count On
Your home is important to you, and safeguarding it with the best solutions is crucial in maintaining its structural integrity, safety, and longevity. Strong storms, hurricanes, and their remnants can be devastating for home foundations, basements, and crawl spaces, but Tar Heel Basement Systems can help you weather the storm and protect your home.
We realize that every North Carolina home – from Wilmington and along the coast to Raleigh, Winston-Salem, and beyond – is different. Each faces its own challenges and needs certain repairs, and we have created specialized solutions to permanently meet those unique needs.
Contact us today to book a free inspection and estimate, and learn how Tar Heel Basement Systems can help you be prepared for a hurricane with trusted basement waterproofing, foundation repair, and crawl space repair solutions.