The weather’s been a little wet and wild recently, so protecting our property from storm damage shouldn’t be too far from our minds.
Storms can wreak havoc on both our homes and gardens, damaging plants, fencing and roof tiles — as well as leaving us with dangerous and slippery surfaces.
But while we can’t control the weather, we can take some simple steps to minimise the damage caused by the elements.
Store away your essentials
Protect your garden essentials from wintry storms by storing tools in a shed or a weatherproof garden storage unit.
It might sound obvious, but an empty shed is easily blown around by the wind. If you haven’t got enough to fill it, try a few paving slabs or even a bag of sand to help weigh it down.
Make sure any electrical power tools are raised from the ground — for instance on a shelf or in a plastic storage box. This will help prevent damage should the shed flood or leak.
Get on the fence
Sometimes a source of angst between neighbours, it’s important to know who is responsible for which fence, and how it can be fixing in the event of damage.
Storms are the prime time for this argument to ignite, so it’s best to get your ducks in a row if you know bad weather is on the horizon.
Check your title deeds to see if there is an existing boundary outlined.
If not, you can amicably make a new boundary agreement with your neighbours and save yourself any future issues.
Safeguard your greenhouse
If you own a greenhouse, it probably takes pride of place in your garden. So it needs to be protected!
To prepare, check your greenhouse for signs of weakness and broken glass panels. These are most likely to fall victim to strong winds.
If your glass is held in with clips, we recommend using silicone sealant to secure them.
It’s also important to make sure your greenhouse is anchored down to the floor as securely as possible with bolts, whether it’s on slabs, concrete or a metal frame.
Your greenhouse is usually included in your home insurance, but make sure to check this.
No greenhouse manufacturer is likely to give guarantees against storm damage.
Check your roof
Your home’s roof is exposed to all the elements, 365 days per year.
At the beginning of winter (and before spring comes around), it’s good practice to check your roof. But don’t go climbing up a ladder yourself!
Inspect it for any damage from the ground, as well as from inside the loft.
If you spot mould, missing tiles or signs of leakage, you should call a specialist.
Keeping your guttering clear is also a must, to ensure rainwater flows away from your property.
But we would always advise paying a professional!
Don’t forget windows and doors
Bear in mind that solid wood or hollow metal doors stand the strongest chance of braving high winds and keeping you safe.
You can also invest in draught-proof windows and doors, with a sealant you can buy at most DIY stores.
Make sure your entry doors are secured with a hinge and security lock.
Don’t forget to check your garage doors are securely shut and locked ahead of a storm.
Make sure your car is tucked safely away in the garage, too. No one wants a stray roof tile through their windscreen!
And if time gets the better of you . . .
If you’re caught by surprise, don’t fret — there are some last-minute steps you can take.
Place any potted plants or hanging baskets in a shed or garage to stop them flying around.
Failing that, group pots together and rest larger plants or trees on their side in a space shielded from the wind.
If a cold snap is forecast, disconnect your hose from the mains, empty any water features so ice can’t crack the pipes, and sprinkle your driveway with grit.
If the worst happens and your home or garden suffers storm damage, don’t try a rescue attempt during a storm.
Instead, stay safe and wait until the weather eases before making repairs.