Caring For A Mexican Home

BY JASON WAGNER

How to weather proof your Mexican home or condo

March is the perfect month to plan the maintenance schedule on your home or condo in Mexico because weather proofing your home before the hurricane season is way smarter than waiting until we are getting blown away. As a property owner in Mexico, we know that hurricane season starts as early as May and tends to affect our coastlines until the end of the year with tropical storms on radar as late as November of each year.

We also want to think about the extreme heat that Mexico brings onto the structures we own. By taking the proper steps over the next few months to protect our most valuable asset in Mexico, we can help mitigate normal wear & tear that our structures endure in our tropical climate.

Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself

When was the last time I weather proofed my home?

When was the last time I sealed the roof of my home and checked for any leaks?

When was the last time I had any cracks patched or filled on any of my structures that could result in water infiltration in heavy rains?

Tip 1 – Seal up any gaps in doors, windows & pipes

Windows remain one of the most common sources of leaks in our homes. Time and weather can cause the caulking that seals in your door jams and windows to expand and contract. Over time, this causes caulk to crack, crumble or wear out, which leaves your home vulnerable to the elements. When it comes to heavy rainfall and flooding, you’ll want to do everything possible to minimize sealant gaps to prevent water or other debris from entering your residence. For less than $20 you can invest in a basic caulking gun and waterproof sealant. This can easily fix and maintain any potential cracks. When this sealant is applied, it will fill the open spaces around a window to form a durable, airtight and water-resistant seal, although it will look ugly as hell. Also, check for gaps in areas where cable and telephone wires, outlets, vents, and pipes that enter the home. Tip 2 – Clean your home’s gutters and avoid water and moisture accumulation

Common in Mexico is water accumulation. This is usually caused by poor drainage design, either the gutters do not have the proper angle to drain the water away from the home or the extreme rain and wind from a hurricane is just too much for the gutters to handle and water back up occurs.

How do my gutters and drainage respond to heavy rains at my home or condo in Mexico?

This question should be examined and tested to avoid water accumulation and standing water. Water accumulation is no bueno for many reasons. The #1 reason is the threat of mold and still water and of course deuteration to structures and walls over time. Reducing the risk of flooding and long-lasting damage to your home or condo in Mexico should be an annual task. Damaged, non-functional gutters may lead to foundation damage due to rain water that remains near the home and filters toward the foundation. After this water accumulates around the foundation, it will soak into the concrete. A proactive approach is key when owning a home in Mexico, particularly when it comes to gutter cleaning and proper drainage of water.

Tip 3 – Weather Proof My Roof

Homes in Mexico for the most part have concrete roofs, or they have Spanish tile over concrete. When we think concrete, we think fortress, unbreakable, strong. The reality is that water will find its way into your home if there is a crack or an opening in the roof. Even if your home is newly constructed, meaning recently built in the last five years, it’s time to have your roof inspected.

A proper inspection must take place first and foremost. A simple visual inspection is not enough as the tiles must be examined up close and tested. The inspection and repair process is best when the entire roof is examined and tested to know the full extent of any damage; this will let you know how many replacement tiles are required. Testing can consist of running water over your roof to find leaks.

Tip 4 – Don’t forget the easy stuff

Simple maintenance upkeep like bringing in your outdoor furniture and securing your outdoor BBQ grill can make a world of difference when high winds approach. These tasks safeguard your personal belongings from being picked up in high winds and crashing against your home, or your neighbor’s home. Also, don’t forget about the palm trees on your property that require trimming. Keeping your home free of flying debris is very important. Visualize what could easily be picked up in high winds and secure, trim or remove them.

Tip 5 – HVHZ (high velocity hurricane zone) storm shutters

Weather proofing your windows with sealant is the first step to making sure water does not seep inside your home in a strong tropical storm or hurricane in Mexico. The best solution is securing the openings of your home with HVHZ storm shutters. Installing HVHZ storm shutters can minimize the impact of high winds and debris that are whipped up during a hurricane that push against your home or condo. HVHZ stands for high velocity hurricane zone. Not all storm shutters are graded to sustain category 4 or higher type wind impact. Insurance carriers in Mexico also provide discounts for installing HVHZ storm shutters on all the openings. As we have seen in recent years, hurricanes are getting stronger and are making land fall more often. The devastation a hurricane brings can reach billions of dollars in repair and damage. Here in Cabo the question is not if a hurricane will affect this region of Mexico,  it is when.

Many Mexico home and condo insurance policies require HVHZ storm shutters on all openings. If your Mexico insurance policy requires HVHZ storm shutters, it is very important you have a current Notice of Acceptance from Miami Dade Florida stating that the storm shutter system on your home meets the HVHZ standards. Florida laws are the gold standard in hurricane protection. This certification will be required by your adjuster when they are assessing the damage sustained to your home and if your storm shutters in fact meet the requirements of the policy.

Keeping an updated maintenance evaluation on your roof & home is also important for insurance claims when filed in Mexico. When your home has been inspected and properly maintained this will help mitigate potential damage that can be caused to your home. Also having the proof of a recent maintenance report will be helpful to show your claims adjuster in the event you file a claim.

Written by Jason Wagner – West Coast Global Insurance Services –www.WestCoastRi.com.