How to Save Your Windows and Doors After a Hurricane
Our hearts break for our readers and their families who have been affected by the devastating hurricanes in recent weeks. We realize that many have suffered complete destruction, and we hope that the rebuilding of homes and lives is swift.
As many of us know, Hurricane Harvey resulted in major property damage and flooding in and around Houston. According to published reports, between August 26 and September 1, 185,000 homes were damaged, with 9,000 homes lost. Hurricane Harvey created 130 mph winds and 30-50 inches of rain, resulting in $150-180B in damage.
Hurricane Irma was the first Category 5 hurricane ever to hit the Leeward Islands. Between September 6 and September 12, Irma brought with it 185 mph winds, 10-15 inches of rain, and $40-65B in damage.
Most recently, Hurricane Maria left 3.5 million without power in Puerto Rico alone. Between September 19 and September 24 Hurricane Maria created 155 mph winds, 20-40 inches of rain, and $40-85B damage.
As storm victims try to regain the strength to move forward, they don’t need the added burden of struggling to pay for the high cost of purchasing new doors and windows. In fact, some window and door repairs only require swapping out hardware.
Our thoughts remain with those who have lost the most, and we hope that every broken window and door is soon replaced. For those who sustained less intense damage, we offer the following tips that could save you the cost of buying new windows and doors.
or Window Screens
Sometimes hurricane winds throw more than dirt and bugs at your house. If the storm is feeling really ornery, there’s a chance you’ll find a rock blown right through your window. Now, your initial instinct may be that you need the whole window replaced. Some professionals will even tell you that this is exactly what you need to do, but the best solution in this case happens to be the easiest. If you contact a local glass shop in your area, they will be able to simply swap out the broken glass pane in your sash with a fresh one. What was originally a project costing thousands of dollars is now something you can see done in a day for a fraction of that cost.
You may also find that hurricane winds have kicked up debris that tore through window screens. Fortunately, a glass shop can help you out with this, as well. With the right tools, you could even replace your screen mesh at home. If the frame itself is damaged, then we definitely recommend checking in with your local shop to see if they have replacements available. It may even be a good time for an upgrade, while you’re at it.
and Screen Doors
If you do not properly secure storm and screen doors, then there is a chance that a hurricane could rip them right off their hinges. The solution to this is obvious, of course: before every storm, always make sure to firmly lock your storm doors. You also may want to invest in a protective storm door chain. A chain will keep the door secure even under high winds. However, keep in mind: not even a strong chain will help if you don’t lock the door.
But sometimes we forget. It happens to the best of us. If it’s already too late, then you can expect to see significant damage to your hinges and storm door closer. Thankfully, this hardware is very simple to replace. Before you know it, your storm door will be back in place and working like new. Most hardware stores should have just what you need, especially those mom-and-pop outfits who are familiar with homes in your area.
Loose Debris Clogging
Windows and Doors
Not all damage is as obvious, though. With all the dirt that gets whipped up by the weather, it’s no surprise that some finds its way into your home. If there is too much debris clogging the operation of your doors or windows, it will not just hamper their operation. In many cases, it will also damage the internal hardware. To avoid this, we recommend removing your window sashes and sliding doors and give the inner frame a thorough cleaning after a major storm.
For casement windows, you’ll want to check the hinges at the top and bottom of the window sash. On sliding glass and screen doors, you want to check the tracks and rollers (while you’re at it, you should check your rollers to make sure they are free of damage or corrosion, especially if you live in a salt air environment). For hung windows, check the side jambs where the balances go.
It’s also advisable to lubricate these areas. We like to use silicone spray, but if you’re in a pinch you could even use an old candle. Surprisingly, this is one of the few situations where we don’t recommend WD40. Heavier oils gather a lot of dirt that can just make things worse. Silicone and wax are a lot cleaner and work just as well.
A good way to help prevent debris in the track in the future is to replace your weatherstripping. You may not even know that the weatherstripping has worn down over the years. Weatherstripping doesn’t only keep out the cold air and rain. It also prevents any bugs or dirt from floating in on an errant breeze. Take good care of it after a storm.