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Preparing your home and garden for bad weather

Snow Covered Rooftops

Did you know that most home insurance claims caused by bad weather are made within the first three months of the year? If you're in the UK, it’s easy to see why. From snow and heavy rain to thunder and lightning, our weather can be very unpredictable – so preparing your home can save you a lot of time and heartache further down the line. 

Thankfully, we’ve put together some steps you can take to prepare your home ahead of storm season. 

Clear branches and trim trees

Branches can easily snap or break during extreme weather, causing significant damage to your home and belongings if carried by wind. Pruning or cutting back your trees is one way you can irradicate this issue. 

Weak points of a tree or plant will always be affected first, so it’s a good idea to check for frail areas before the bad weather hits. Remove any sections that don’t look strong enough to survive. If the problem area is too big or tricky to manage yourself, you might need to enlist the help of a tree specialist. 

Reminder: using machinery or climbing ladders can cause serious injury, so please take care and follow the correct safety procedures that are put in place by the manufacturer.

Cutting Down Branches

Check gutters and drains

Guttering and drain blockages can be caused year-round, especially by natural occurrences such as leaf and moss build-up. These blockages can prevent your drainage system from working inefficiently, causing water to spill out from your guttering or drains, which can lead to damp issues within your home. 

It’s worth checking your guttering throughout the year to make sure there are no areas of concern. Always try to fix any breakages or damages before storm season begins. Joints should also be checked to ensure there are no leaks, and that they’re strong enough to withstand drastic weather conditions. If damage is left, it could cause further damage, such as weakened walls, water damage inside your home, and roof failure. 

Remember: climbing ladders can cause serious injury, so please take care and follow the correct safety procedures that are put in place by the manufacturer or seek professional help.

Man Cleaning Gutter

Put away or secure outside furniture

Big items can be affected by extreme weather as much as small pieces, so it’s important to ensure that your valuables are secure. 

Items that can be picked up or knocked over by wind like tables, chairs and trampolines should all be secured. However, avoid using other heavy items to weigh them down, as this can be dangerous. 

While smaller items like lights, potted plants and toys should be secured or brought inside to prevent damage. 

Side note: Please also remember to move wheelie bins into a secure place. Wheelie bins have the tendency to blow over in extreme weather, causing mess and potential trip hazards.

Covered Firepit

Check and secure fences and other outdoor objects

Fences are your first defence against severe weather, and as a result, they can often bear the brunt of mother nature. It’s always a smart choice to repair or strengthen your fences ahead of a storm. 

If you’re installing a new fence, you should first check your tenancy agreement or homeowner documents to fully understand the responsibility of repairing or replacing fences. Secondly, it’s worth researching the best style of panel to withstand high winds. They can also be torn from their ground base if they’re not firmly rooted, so it’s a savvy choice to research the best base posts for you. 

It’s also worth noting, if you are attempting to repair or replace your own fence, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure your safety and seek professional advice if you feel it’s out of your capabilities.

Ensure weeds and rubbish is moved away from the fence panels. Also make sure that there’s effective drainage around to prevent the fence base from getting waterlogged, as wood posts can rot if not maintained properly. Minor damages can be repaired with spare wood and nails, and during the warmer seasons, a fence preservative could be applied to protect the wood. 


Hammering Fence Panel

Check your roof and skylights

Checking your roof ahead of bad weather is vital to preventing extensive and potentially expensive damage during or after extreme weather. Some things to check include: 

  • Signs of leakage where the wall and roof connect (look for cracks, missing mortar and other openings)
  • Walls and ceilings inside where walls and the roof meet, including eaves.
  • Tiles, ensuring that they’re not cracked or that there are no gaps or missing tiles.
  • Skylights or roof windows. Check the seals and joints to ensure there’re no gaps.

If you’re unsure or can’t get access safely to your roof, please enlist the help of a roofing professional.

Man Checking Roof

Check your chimney

Weak spots around your chimney and vests are a common occurrence, so make sure to check in and around these. This is also worth adding to your list of year-round maintenance jobs. Some things to check include: 

  • General wear and tear
  • Seals (check there are no gaps or cracks)

Please note: checking your chimney can be a dangerous task, so seeking professional advice is advised if you’re unable to complete the checks yourself safely.