Rebuilding Homes and Lives

How to Save Your Windows and Doors After a Hurricane

October 10th, 2017
4 minute read

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 it is our hope that the rebuilding of homes and lives is swift, with as few complications as possible.

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, when some window and door repairs only need some hardware swapped out.

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.   

Broken Glass
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, and 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 your window screen mesh has been torn or punctured by debris tossed around by hurricane winds. 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.

Damaged Storm
and Screen Doors

If storm and screen doors are not properly secured, 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 that your storm doors are firmly locked. You also may want to invest in a protective storm door chain that will keep it secure even under high winds, though not even a strong chain will help if the door isn’t locked.

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, and 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 and debris whipped up by fierce weather, it’s no surprise that some of it finds its way into your home. If there is too much debris clogging the operation of your doors or windows, it will not only hamper their operation, but in many cases it also will 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. For 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, since it gathers 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 not only keeps out the cold air and rain, but it also prevents any bugs or dirt from floating in on an errant breeze.



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    8 months ago


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