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A hurricane home inspector shares tips

storm shutters
Hurricane home inspector Rob Davis recommends storm shutters to protect windows.

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Gerri Willis
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(CNN) -- Storm season means it's prime time to take steps toward protecting your home. High winds and heavy rain do the most damage to a house during a hurricane or major storm. But all it takes is a little bit of work to make sure your home doesn't fall apart during the wild weather.

CNN's Gerri Willis spoke with Hurricane Home Inspector Rob Davis about ways to safeguard your home against storm or hurricane damage.

Gerri Willis: So, Rob, let's talk about the roof here, big vulnerability. How do I know if I might have a problem?

Rob Davis: Well, there are several things you can do. If you can get up on the roof, check for missing, broken or lose shingles or tiles. ... It's the hip and ridge tiles that had the most problems during Hurricane Charley.

Willis: Let's talk about something that is really simple, and that's items in your yard that can turn into projectiles.

Davis: Just go out with your family and walk around the house, and anything that you possibly think might fly up in the air, go and pick it up and put it inside

Willis: Rob, people think about the outside of their homes, but what about the inside?

Davis: The inside definitely needs to be inspected as well. You want to make sure it's in top shape for hurricane season or any extreme weather coming through. If you have safe access to the attic, it's good to get up there and just look around to see if you [have] any broken or cracked pieces of wood up there. ... If you have any roof leaks, [that's] definitely something that says your roof isn't as strong as it should be.

Willis: Windows are a big vulnerability. How do I keep my family safe?

Davis: We like to see code-approved shutters. There are tons of options these days. ... You can do metal corrugated shutters. Clear plastic shutters. Also, impact glass is a great way to go.

Willis: Now, I know you could cover this up with wood. Why wouldn't we just do that?

Davis: Wood is only good for temporary emergency board-up procedures and there are a couple of things you need to remember. You need to make sure you have the correct thickness, 5/8-inch plywood is sufficient, and you need to fasten it and install it correctly to the side of a house.

Willis: Don't you need a pretty good margin around the edge of the window?

Davis: You absolutely do, because you have to remember that whatever protection you put up there is going to move. It's going to bow in and out with the wind and if you have it too close, your window protection could actually break your window.

Willis: You have to be careful of the materials you pick to protect those glass windows and doors. Some will actually disintegrate when wet. OSB (Orient Strand Board) is not a great material for protecting your home during a hurricane.

Davis: That's right. When OSB gets wet, it turns to oatmeal and just dissolves. It's really just a lot of wood particles glued together. ... Plywood is what you want for window protection.

Willis: Secure your shutters or plywood to windows with a 2 1/2-inch margin around them. That way when the wind picks up, your window protection doesn't accidentally break your windows.

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