6 Ways to Assess Your Home Before a Natural Disaster
Written By AD&V®
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | AD&V® is dedicated to advanced and energy-efficient sustainable architecture & interior design that enhances people’s experience of the world and improves their lives.
THE CONDITION AND STRENGTH OF A HOME’S STRUCTURE DEPEND ON CONTINUOUS MONITORING AND FREQUENT MAINTENANCE.
Homes can suffer structural damage due to natural disasters and hazards. That’s why it’s essential to inspect your home’s interior and exterior at least once a year.
The best way to maintain your home’s structure is to understand each vulnerability and implement the solution that best targets it. Here are six ways you can assess your home before a natural disaster.
1. KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR TERMITES
Termites eat organic material and weaken the strength of wood. For this reason, you should regularly inspect all wood components in your home for signs of termites, such as small, pin-sized holes and sawdust mounds. This includes checking porches, soil near foundations, trees, wooden columns and beams, doors, and cabinetry. If you find termites in your home, call a professional immediately to exterminate them.
2. CHECK FOR CRACKS & FISSURES
Cracks and fissures allow water and air to enter your home during a natural disaster, leading to even larger cracks and fissures and more structural damage to your home. To prevent them from forming, avoid using nails and instead drill holes on the wall before inserting screws. Also, check for corroded rusts, as they can all cause cracks. Make sure you fix any cracks and fissures as leaving them unattended can permanently damage the home.
3. LOOK FOR CORROSION
Salt residue in the air and interaction between metals lead to corrosion and weak structural joints. This is why you should examine your home’s anchorage, nails, and screws for corrosion, especially those around structure joints. You can avoid this by regularly applying waterproof sealants to metal components and substituting any corroded screws/plates with new ones.
4. KEEP UP WITH MAINTENANCE
Lack of maintenance can be detrimental to the structure of your home. Exposed wires can end up in short circuits or fire, leaks can expose structural elements to humidity and deterioration, overgrown trees can fall over the roof, and untrimmed bushes can attract pests that might debilitate columns, beams, and foundations.
To keep up with your home’s maintenance, we recommend that you regularly paint to reduce material deterioration, eliminate electrical systems that could potentially create flammability concerns, cut vegetation that can damage the structure, and hire a licensed electrician/plumber to solve any issues regarding power lines, water systems, and gas. Always be mindful of your home’s maintenance, both inside and outside.
5. CONDUCT PERIODICAL INSPECTIONS
Each home has its own set of vulnerabilities based on its structure and site. That’s why you should inspect your home annually, establish a routine to maintain building systems, and make needed repairs. Always consult with a building professional (can be a contractor, engineer, or architect) to get the most thorough inspection possible.
6. KEEP SAFE
While no one can anticipate all the consequences of a natural disaster, past events have taught us that being prepared is the key to successfully overcoming them. Take advantage of resources like the Keep Safe Guide for Resilient Housing Design in Island Communities to help you become educated and better prepared to survive future disasters.
You can download the complete Keep Safe Guide for free! Click here to get the English version of the guide. For the Spanish version of the guide click here.
Properly preparing for natural disasters is the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe. Assessing your home by identifying points of weakness and implementing proactive solutions can protect lives, save money on repairs and rebuilding, and lessen the odds that relocation will be necessary when a natural disaster occurs.