Many people around the United States envy Floridians, and with good reason. Florida is a beautiful place with a climate that attracts multitudes of visitors during winter months. No matter where you are in this state, the ocean is never far away.

But as most of us here know, there’s also a downside: hurricanes and tropical storms. These immense, whirling masses of storm clouds can wreak devastation on homes across a wide swath. When they do, floors can take a particularly severe beating.

There are several forms of this devastation. A storm might blow out a window and pepper your floor with a driving rain. Worse still, wind can enter the home through broken windows and blow off the roof from the inside out – leaving your floor and belongings completely exposed to the elements. Another grim scenario is the flooding that can easily swamp a home in a storm’s wake and cause tremendous damage.

 


Water: the enemy

“Water is the mortal enemy of most floors, especially carpeting and natural wood,” said Nelson Green, owner of Great Southeast Flooring America in Melbourne. “After a hurricane passes through our area, it takes a long time before everything is back to normal. We work a lot of hours during those times dealing with all the damage
to people’s floors.”

Of course, there are precautions a homeowner, tenant or business can take to prevent or minimize the damage. The first is to cover all windows. A lot of people use plywood nailed onto the house’s exterior over the windows, but aluminum hurricane shutters are easy to install and provide maximum resistance against the wind. By keeping the storm’s powerful gusts out of the home’s interior, there’s a better chance that the windows and roof will remain in place.

But sometimes there’s little a person can do. Especially when water begins entering the home in earnest.

Flood preparation is key.

“It’s important to prepare well ahead of time for emergencies like flooding,” Green said. “June marks the beginning of hurricane season in Florida, and it runs all the way through November. This is a good time to remind people to be aware of the danger and to get ready – not wait until the storm makes landfall and the water starts coming inside.”

When flooding is imminent, residents should have electrical appliances unplugged. Valuable family items – such as old photos – should be stashed in waterproof bags and elevated before the water flows indoors. If the flooding is minimal and you’re staying, be sure to stockpile food, drinking water
and batteries.

Evacuation may be necessary in many cases, and evacuees should be aware of such hazards as downed electrical lines and unnerving creatures swimming in the floodwater – particularly alligators and snakes. Be sure to have a detailed plan in place with an evacuation route, especially if you live in a flood zone. Strongly consider buying flood insurance – it’s better to have the insurance and not need it than the reverse situation.


 

“Some floors do offer exceptional resistance to moisture. Waterproof luxury vinyl planks such as Stainmaster Pet Protect are so water resistant that,

except in extreme circumstances, they will likely be unaffected.” – Nelson Green 


After the storm passes…

After the flood subsides, the arduous process of restoration begins. The drying-out process can take many days, even with fans. The destruction wrought by flooding often runs deeper than just visible damage.

“Even when flooring dries out and looks okay, it still might give you some problems later on,” Green said. “Mold can develop everywhere after a flood. In many floors, it gets into the joints between planks and causes a huge problem for the homeowner.”

Some floors do offer exceptional resistance to moisture, Green added. Waterproof luxury vinyl planks such as Stainmaster Pet Protect are so water resistant that, except in extreme circumstances, they will likely
be unaffected. 

“This kind of flooring has become popular with Florida residents,” Green said. “Not only does it look like real wood, it really does stand up well to moisture. It’s not hurricane-proof – nothing is – but it provides the homeowner with a distinct advantage in the event of spills or rain entering
a window.”

Severe Florida storms are nothing to take lightly. Taking logical precautions and hiring a reliable flooring company to deal with the aftermath can go a long way in helping you weather such disasters. ◆

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