Homes are built to be fortresses that block out the hazards of the outside world. Even so, they can only do so much when severe storms start rolling into your area. This is why it’s crucial that you, as a homeowner, do everything you can to keep your home’s exterior strengthened against the elements. Otherwise, you risk not only property damage but also the hefty price tag that often comes along with it. These are some of the best ways to protect your home from storm damage and make it the perfect place to take shelter.

Trim Back Your Trees

Heavy branches are responsible for most of the damage a home sustains during a storm. This is because, should branches break and fall, the force of the impact could tear off shingles and even rip open siding. As such, if you want to reduce the number of costly repairs on your hands, it’s crucial that you cut back these branches before they can cause a problem. It’s recommended that you cut them so that they’re at least three feet away from the home. This way, they won’t hit anything important if they do break.

Clean and Repair Your Gutters

Maintaining your home’s gutter system is also one of the best ways to protect your home from storm damage. The purpose of your gutters is to direct rainwater away from the property’s foundation. This allows it to seep into the ground without having direct contact with the home. If water puddles near the foundation, it can enter the home and cause mold or wood rot. So, make sure to take the time to clean debris out of the gutters and repair any damage to them prior to a storm hitting.

Install Durable Roofing

Trying a different type of roofing may be the key to keeping your home safe from rainwater. Wood and plastic shingles are most often effective, but they’re easier to damage. Once they’re chipped or torn way, your home is vulnerable to leaks and other forms of water damage. This is why metal roofing has become popular in recent years. In fact, there are several other benefits to installing metal roofing as well, including improved durability and energy-efficiency.

Fix Sealing Along Doors and Windows

Additionally, you’ll want to fix any seal leaks around your windows and doors. These areas are even more susceptible to water than your foundation, and they’re at risk of being damaged by wind as well. As such, filling any cracks in the sealing can reinforce your defenses when a storm rolls in. To do this, use a waterproof caulk product to fill in the grout between the window and its wooden frame. Make sure you give it enough time to dry, or the storm could wash it way.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.