Build­ing CR: Storm Pro­tec­tion for Your Home

Howler Magazine - - Contents - By Jar­ryd Jack­son

We are all at the mercy of Mother Na­ture, which means many things are sim­ply out of our hands and liv­ing in a trop­i­cal par­adise isn't al­ways easy. There are mea­sures we can and should take to pre­pare our homes and prop­er­ties against heavy rains, flood­ing, wind and fall­ing trees.

When build­ing a new home, some key de­sign con­sid­er­a­tions in­clude el­e­va­tion above ground level, prox­im­ity to trees, streams and rivers, and nat­u­ral drainage.

The qual­ity of con­struc­tion and ma­te­ri­als is also very im­por­tant, in­clud­ing the roof, win­dows and ex­te­rior wall sur­faces such as painted and/or stucco. High-qual­ity paint, win­dows and roof­ing pro­tects your home much bet­ter than a cheaper al­ter­na­tive.

It's al­ways best to build your home at least six feet above ground level to pre­vent flood wa­ter from en­ter­ing. Depend­ing on the home's nat­u­ral drainage and slope, I some­times ad­vise clients to build up to a foot off the ground to pro­vide bet­ter flood pro­tec­tion. Nearby streams or rivers mean your home is in a po­ten­tial flood zone, where it's best to be on the safe side and build it up a full me­ter above grade.

Roof over­hangs of at least three feet are ad­vis­able to pre­vent rain­driven wa­ter dam­age to ex­te­rior walls, win­dows and doors. Your roof over­hangs not only pro­vide shade and keep the home cooler, but also pro­tect your home from UV ex­po­sure, rain and other weather events that can cause dam­age. Us­ing high-qual­ity ex­te­rior paint will also pre­vent mold and fun­gal growth when the walls are wet; the higher the paint qual­ity, the bet­ter for the out­side of your home.

Dur­ing dra­matic rain events, your roof will be put to the ul­ti­mate test. That's when any leak will make it­self no­tice­able.

The bet­ter con­di­tion your roof is in, the less wa­ter dam­age you will in­cur dur­ing storms. I rec­om­mend check­ing your roof once a year and mak­ing sure it's in good con­di­tion be­fore the rainy sea­son or po­ten­tial big storms. Re­place rust­ing screws, re­pair flash­ing and patch holes as needed.

Clean­ing out the gut­ters and down­spouts is also very im­por­tant to de­flect rain­wa­ter away from your home.

Keep the trees around your home

Costa Rica Nearby streams or rivers mean your home is in a po­ten­tial flood zone.

trimmed to re­duce the chances of a bro­ken limb or trunk fall­ing onto the roof dur­ing a storm.

Poorly de­signed sep­tic sys­tems are bound to fail dur­ing sus­tained pe­ri­ods of ground sat­u­ra­tion, so be proac­tive in hav­ing them drained soon af­ter a lengthy bout of rain. Also keep in mind that un­der­ground util­i­ties are sus­cep­ti­ble to wa­ter dam­age. Elec­tri­cal prob­lems that oc­cur soon af­ter a flood event are likely caused by wa­ter en­ter­ing and re­main­ing in­side the plas­tic con­duits.

If you have any cul­verts or other drainage chan­nels that move wa­ter away from your home and prop­erty, keep them as clean and free of de­bris as pos­si­ble to pre­vent block­age, wa­ter buildup and ad­di­tional flood­ing.

Ne­glected roofs re­sult in higher main­tainence costs

New roof in­stal­la­tion with the lat­est ma­te­ri­als

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