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Planning ahead: How to protect your home from severe weather events

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(BPT) - Between the damage caused during severe storms and the increasing threat of fast-spreading forest fires, homeowners are understandably concerned about taking steps to protect their homes from damage due to natural disasters, whether that means hurricanes and tornadoes or flooding and wildfires. According to a nationwide homeowner survey, the majority of homeowners (76%) reported that their home renovation plans were impacted by the possibility of extreme weather, with more than half (54%) saying the possibility of extreme weather events strongly or somewhat influenced their home renovation decisions.

In the survey, conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of James Hardie in late 2021, nearly half of the homeowners (47%) said they or someone they know had repaired or renovated their home as a result of extreme weather, and 3 out of 4 of those homeowners who had personally undergone weather-related renovations focused that work on the exterior of their home.

Making sure your home's exterior is in top condition and as strong as possible to endure tough storm conditions can give you and your family more peace of mind. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent damage when the weather dishes out its worst.

Focus on landscaping

Damage to your home is sometimes caused by features around the property, including trees and how your land is graded. It can be helpful to hire professional help (such as arborists and landscapers) to assess potential hazards around your home. Prevention measures may include:

  • Trimming dead or overgrown tree branches to minimize the possibility of branches hitting your home during strong winds.
  • Removing trees that are diseased or located too close to your home.
  • Grading your lawn to ensure water runoff flows away from your home to help prevent flooding.
  • Removing any debris in and around your property.

It's also a good idea to make sure you can easily and quickly store or secure all your lawn furniture or any other outdoor items that could be picked up by strong winds before a severe weather event occurs.

Upgrade to siding you can trust

The siding you choose to put on your home is vital to help protect against the elements and damage caused by severe weather, including wildfires, floods and strong winds. While there are many choices available on the market, the best option that can help provide trusted protection against extreme weather is fiber cement siding, which is noncombustible and more durable than other building materials such as wood and vinyl.

For example, Hardie® siding is specifically engineered to resist damage from moisture and rot, while also being able to hold its own against rain and high winds.

Hardie siding also helps protects your home by being noncombustible, with strong fire resistance. This siding will not ignite when exposed to direct flame, nor will it contribute fuel to a fire — unlike wood, which fuels fire, or vinyl siding, which melts easily in a fire (or even from the reflection of the sun off Low-E glass windows). Hardie fiber cement technology resists warping, sagging and melting when exposed to heat or flame. Hardie siding is even recognized by fire departments across the U.S. Many insurance companies may offer discounts for homes using this siding, so it's a good idea to ask your homeowners insurance provider.

“Homeowners are looking for beautiful finishes that also help protect their homes and families,” said Sean Gadd, president of James Hardie North America. “At James Hardie, we believe our products help provide trusted protection against harsh climate, pests, rot, and even fire.”

Don't forget the roof

Nothing is more hazardous to your home during severe weather than a leaky or damaged roof. Make it a regular practice to have your roof inspected for areas of concern, including the flashing around your chimney, and to check that your gutters and downspouts are cleared out and in good condition. Water can cause a lot of damage to a home, so having a strong roof in good repair is essential.

To learn more about how you can help protect your home from severe weather, visit JamesHardie.com.