5 Tips to Prevent Storm Damage to Your Patio
Summer storms can really mess up your plans: You can’t go swimming, have a barbecue, or soak up rays on the patio. But worse than that is the potential damage high winds and heavy rain can bring to your home or backyard.
The good news is, there are steps you can take to keep broken branches, wind gusts, and downpours from wreaking havoc on your outdoor space. Here are five tips to prevent storm damage to your patio.
1. Landscape with a plan.
Did you know that if you plant trees and shrubs a certain way, you can protect your home from the wind? Evergreen trees are a great option for deflecting or lifting gusts over your property. You can also try planting trees with low crowns, like elms or maples, that will block wind close to the ground.
If you plant taller trees, keep these a safe distance away from your house. This will reduce the risk of trees falling onto your house or patio if wind or lightning knocks them over. The Lightning Protection Institute also recommends installing a protection system for trees taller than your house or within 10 feet of your property. This will provide a direct path to the ground if lightning strikes.
2. Take care of your trees.
Once you’ve planted your trees, make sure you tend to their branches with regular trimmings. Limbs will be less likely to break off during a storm if you prune them as soon as they weaken or die. Check your tree trunks for signs of decay, too, and safely cut down any dead trees so they don’t fall onto your house or patio.
Another helpful tip: Don’t over-water trees as they’re growing. This can cause shallow root systems, which weakens a tree’s ability to withstand strong winds. In fact, you only need to water trees daily for the first two weeks after planting them. For tips on when, where, and how much to water your trees, check out this article from the University of Minnesota.
3. Clean, stain, and seal your patio.
Once you’ve taken care of your trees and landscaping, it’s time to clean and protect your patio surface. Start by moving everything off your patio to sweep it. Then rinse the surface, spray any stains, scrub, and rinse again. (Check out this blog for helpful patio-cleaning tips!)
If you have a wooden deck or porch, stain the surface and apply a water repellent. Then, heavy rains will run off during a storm instead of soaking into the boards, which can cause warping and splintering. For concrete patios, use a sealant to protect your surface from storm and debris damage. This can also help you prevent staining from everyday spills.
4. Secure loose objects.
This tip seems obvious, but consider this: Homeowners can spend anywhere from $300 to $3,800 on patio repairs after a storm. Strong winds can turn heavy outdoor furniture into projectiles, which can hurt your property or another person. And storms will damage (or even blow away) small objects like pillows, canvases, and cushions.
To prevent this, tie down patio furniture or push it against your house before a storm. Bring smaller pieces indoors, especially T-spun polyester cushions that can’t wick away much moisture. You should also store outdoor rugs, art, and curtains. Even waterproof canvases and other pieces can’t withstand downpours and strong wind, so it’s best to keep them inside until the storm passes.
5. Bring flammables inside.
Not every storm will have lightning, but you can still prepare by storing flammables before bad weather. That includes cushions with acrylic, olefin, or T-spun polyester (fabrics that can catch on fire easily).
By moving these pieces indoors, you’ll reduce the risk of a lightning-related fire on your patio — and expensive repairs after the storm is over.
Don’t spend your summer picking up branches and paying for property repairs! By taking steps to protect your home from the elements, you can prevent storm damage and keep enjoying your patio.
Summer Living Direct has helped homeowners and decorators find custom cushions, curtains, outdoor art, and umbrellas for their patios since 1994. To learn more, please visit our website or follow us on Facebook.