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Home > Preparing Your Screen Porches for Hurricanes

Preparing Your Screen Porches for Hurricanes

To live on the coast has often been a dream for many Americans. Cooler breezes, the beautiful scenery, beaches, and the crisp clean air. There are many fantastic reasons to living near or along the coast, yet when it comes to prepping for hurricane season, it can be difficult to remember what those fantastic reasons were. Hurricane season prep is an essential part of living anywhere coastal, and where many American homeowners take advantage of the exquisite scenery using large, screened-in patios or porches they may not be aware of the sort of prep needed to protect those gorgeous screens.

It is important to try to begin to prep your home for a hurricane as soon as the warning is issued, and this includes preparing your screens.

Here are actions you can take to hurricane prep for screen porches.

Earliest Prep and Prevention

Even before hurricane season begins and well before the first projected storm that may approach, you can do something to prepare for the coming storm. If you know who installed and manufactured your screened-in porch, contact them, and ask them if it was hurricane tested. Many coastal manufacturers and screen manufacturers, in general, should have options for windspeed tested screens and frames and should have installed those models in a home within an area that experiences hurricanes.

Inspection

Before or just as hurricane season begins, it is important to do a close inspection of your porch. Even if your porch was lucky enough to survive last season and any hurricanes that came with it, it is important to inspect every year.

You will want to look for and note any:

  • Rust. Check all fasteners for rust.
  • Loose. Check all fasteners and screens for any looseness.
  • If any anchoring cables are present, double-check that they and their bolts are tight.
  • Remove and replace any rusted, loose items immediately.

If you are unsure your screen was properly installed or not familiar with how to tell, while it is expensive, hiring a structural engineer or screen and frame installment professional to check it out is best. It is far less expensive to have it properly installed, with the right fasteners and repairs than to have to replace the entire structure due to the loss of your porch in a hurricane.

Clear the Porch

While it may have taken you years to perfect the right décor for your screened porch when it comes to a hurricane itself, it will only take one moment and one wrong piece of furniture to ruin the screens. The first thing you should do to minimize damage is to remove every and all furniture. This also includes any hanging, standing, or potted plants, tables, chairs, cushions, lamps, bar, stools, TVs, and so on. These items themselves can quickly become damaged in the storm, and they may also become airborne to be flung into your screens and screen frames.

Pick up any patio furniture and place them inside.

Remove the Door

To remove the possibility of having your screen door, whether on the patio or the front door of the back door, torn off the hinges by hurricane-force winds—then it is best to remove it. Like the porch or patio furniture, store the screen door inside for safekeeping. While this may let in water to your porch, it will prevent having the door being ripped off, flying, and possibly damaging other parts of your home or neighbors' homes.

Remove the Screens from the Frames

The next step if you are unsure whether your screens will hold up or being able to afford a replacement if they become too damaged is to have the porch screens removed entirely for safekeeping.

Most often, if the screen spline is in good shape, your porch screens should be easy to simply remove, roll up, and place in the house until the storm passes.

There are several reasons to consider doing this:

  • During a hurricane, the rain from the storm will often soak your porch screen. If the porch screen is particularly fine-meshed, these rain droplets often take the space between the mesh instead of letting the air blow through, essentially turning your screen into a sail that catches the wind. This can not only cause a screen to be blown out, but structural damage to the porch framing as well.
  • Structural repairs and replacement cost more than the screens themselves. Removing the screens cuts down on the chance of structural collapse while simultaneously saving you the cost of having to repair and replace any torn screens.
  • If you absolutely must and are certain a hurricane is landing and removing the screen is not an option (be certain the hurricane will make landfall) then you may use a utility knife to cut through a screen to allow the wind through and prevent structural damages. For a small enclosure, only cut 1-2 screens on each side and 1-2 along the back wall. If you have a larger enclosure, cut 3-4 on each side and 3-4 along the back wall. It is recommended not to cut the main screen panels above any chair rails, as they are typically the biggest and will allow the most air through.

Safety note: Do not try and remove porch screens during a hurricane. Always watch the hurricane forecast and remove anything as a precaution before it hits, never during.

Trees and Bushes

Look at any trees or bushes near your screened porch. Any decaying branches, weak-looking limbs, or limbs that grow near or are touching your screen should be cut back before a storm. Pay extra attention to trees and shrubs that are near your home as well. They can be easily blown into the area your screen is and become a projectile.

Be prepared and be proactive about your porch before the hurricane hits. Our hurricane prep for screen porches will help you to be ready, be safer, and hopefully cut down on massive porch structural damages saving you heartache and money in the long term. Stay safe this hurricane season!