Homeowner's Checklist

Double Entry Doors

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

End Gables

During a severe storm producing high winds, the side walls of the roof (end gables) take a real beating and can collapse. Gable bracing often consists of 2-by-4-foot 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.

Garage Door

If the garage door fails, winds can enter your home and blow out doors, windows, walls, and the roof. Ask your Building Department for guidance on what to do.

Hurricane Straps

Hurricane straps made out of galvanized metal help keep the roof fastened to the walls in high winds. They can be difficult to install, so you may need a contractor. Ask your Building Department whether hurricane straps are required or advisable in your area.

Know Your Risks

Ask your emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for information about the hazards in your community.

Roof Sheathing

During a windstorm, wind forces are carried from the roof down to the exterior walls and to the foundation. Homes can be damaged when wind forces are not properly transferred to the ground. Roof sheathing (the boards or plywood nailed to the roof rafters or trusses) can fail during a windstorm if not properly installed. Examine the sheathing from 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.


Installing storm shutters is one of the most effective ways to protect your home. Purchase or make shutters for all exposed windows, glass surfaces, French doors, sliding glass doors, and skylights. There are many types of manufactured storm shutters available made out of wood, aluminum, or steel. You can also make storm shutters with 5/8-inch thick exterior-grade plywood.