Whether you live on the Gulf Coast or in the Midwest, and whether your house is old or new, you must be aware of the damages that natural disasters can do to homes all across the country. Strong winds can cause weak spots to cave in. Flying debris can crash through windows. Roofs can be ripped off the tops of homes.

Today, many durable, storm-resistant homes have been built with insulated wall panels that are reinforced with concrete forms. This makes them resistant to blustering winds and raging waters. But if you have a solid base, what else should you to keep your home resistant against threatening storms? Here’s a list!

1. Secure your garage
Secure your garage door! Many garage doors are made of lightweight materials, saving consumers a ton of money. However, this makes them highly vulnerable to strong winds. If you see a sticker on the inside of your garage door that gives you a pressure rating, you will not have to replace your door. This sticker should indicate a wind rating and a debris rating. If you don’t see a sticker, chances are you will need to reinforce the door.

Garage doors can be secured by installing horizontal bracing behind each panel. Bracing kits can be purchased from the garage door manufacturers. However, some products may not be up to code and they can be quite expensive. You really need to do your homework. If you do not want to install bracing kits yourself, and you do not mind paying a bit extra for protection, you could even have a contractor replace the entire system with impact-resistant doors.

2. Reinforce windows and doors
If you live in a hurricane- or storm-prone area, you may want to think about installing impact-resistant windows. These windows are designed to withstand debris, and they also reduce noise and protect against harmful UV rays. Although these windows may cost more, keep in mind that they are useful for more than just storm-proofing. If you live in an area that suffers from the occasional strong thunderstorm, you may want to invest in storm shutters. There are many styles ranging from plywood to aluminum. Remember, permanent shutters must meet the building code approval for your area.
Most exterior doors do not have enough bolts or pins to stand strong against high winds and debris. Installing additional bolts only costs between $10 and $40. Again, if you would rather hire a contractor and get a little more protection, you could replace your weak door with a storm door.

3. Glue your roof down
High winds can rip the roof shingles right off the top of your home! By gluing your roof down, you will be able to increase your roof’s resistance to wind. All you have to do is go to your local home improvement store and purchase a premium floor adhesive. This glue should have strong rating, as shown on the label. Using a caulking gun, squeeze a small drop of glue under the shingle where it meets the support beam.

4. Check your trees
How many times have you watched the news and seen a fallen tree protruding into someone’s kitchen or laying down on top of a crushed vehicle? Fallen trees and broken branches account for millions of dollars in damage to homes. So how can you fix it?

First, check out the health of your trees. Are there any significant cracks near the trunk? Are mushrooms growing from the bark? Signs of decay and fungus are usually an indication that your tree is dying and you should remove it immediately. If your house has ever had termites or other bug infestations, you may also want to look for those in your trees. If bugs are eating away at the bark, the tree could fall on your house without the aid of high winds. Second, if the branches are growing out over your home or close to windows, trim them! You don’t want a broken branch soaring through your bedroom window!

5. Secure your stuff
It can difficult to store a boat or an R.V. out of harm’s way. However, if you have patio furniture or decorative lawn accessories adorning your property, bring them inside when strong weather occurs. Also, don’t forget to store trash cans, portable grills and potted plants. Depending on your storage limitations, the best place to keep these objects would be inside a garage or a basement.

If you are unsure as to whether or not your home is fully protected from tornados or hurricanes, you can always hire a contractor to inspect it. Just remember that the key areas include the garage, the roof, the doors and the windows. You can take care of your own personal belongings that are scattered around your property. Remember, preparation now can mean protection later!