Wind Damage Prevention

Once a major wind storm hits, it may be too late to protect your home and property. There are several things that can be done beforehand to protect your property and limit potential wind damage. Some are simple and inexpensive, while others will require a contractor. Be sure to consider the characteristics of the structure, financial resources, and potential losses.

Know your risks:

Anchorage has a high wind risk. Throughout the year, high winds with gusts in excess of 50 MPH occur. Normally, these gusts are higher on the Hillside and through Turnagain Arm. During the winter months when it is snowing, the risk is not only to structures but to people as well. Winter winds can pile drifts up, blocking roadways, driveways, and potentially overloading roofs.

Evaluate the structure:

If the structure is fairly new, 1990 and later, your structure is protected by strong building codes and enforcement. In Anchorage, that means hurricane straps that secure the roof trusses and the walls together as one unit. This prevents roofs from blowing off, should the wind get under the roof panels and attempt to lift the roof. The code even covers the installation of shingles which can be damaged by high winds. Check with Development Services, Building Safety Division to learn more about the Building Codes, hurricane ties, and roof installation.

If you have an older structure, you may want to examine the sheathing from the inside of the attic. If many of the nails have missed the rafters, you may need to re-nail the sheathing. If you’re putting on a new roof, make sure the sheathing complies with current recommended practices.

During a major wind storm, the side walls of the roof take a real beating and can collapse. Gable bracing often consists of 2” x 4” boards placed in an “X” pattern at both ends of the attic: From the top center of the end gable to the bottom of the brace of the fourth truss; and from the bottom center of the end gable to the peak of the roof. For more information on this type of installation, contact Development Services, Building Safety Division.

Here are some other areas that could fail, regardless of the year of construction.

Are double entry doors secured at the top and bottom?

The exterior walls, doors, and windows are the protective shell of your home. If the shell is broken during a wind storm, high winds can enter the home and put pressure on the roof and walls, causing serious damage. For each double door, at least one of the doors should be secured at both the top of the door frame and the floor using sturdy sliding bolts. However, most bolts that come with double doors are not strong enough to withstand high winds. Your local hardware store can help you select the proper bolts. Some door manufacturers provide reinforcing bolt kits made specifically for their doors.

Has the garage door been properly secured?

If the garage door fails, winds can enter your home and blow out doors, windows, walls, and the roof. Contact a contractor or local home improvement store for guidance.

Review your insurance policy:

Even if you have taken steps to protect your home from damage, an annual review of home insurance coverage is essential. Make sure you know what is covered and what is not.