Paramount Fencing’s Comprehensive Guide to Hurricanes

Paramount Fencing’s Comprehensive Guide to Hurricanes

How Are Hurricanes Formed?

If you are reading this, something is brewing in the tropics. It does not matter if it is a tropical storm, depression, or a hurricane. They are all disruptive and destructive when they arrive. They damper new business and create long-term stress on time, money, and resources. We have a responsibility to ensure that correct and ethical decisions are made along the way for past, present, and future customers. This may seem like a monumental task; however, with understanding and preparation, the right decision always reveals itself. The key to success is preparation and implementing standard protocols and procedures based on the existing level of threat.

All tropical cyclones begin as a tropical depression, which have the potential to grow into a tropical storm and then into a hurricane. For Florida, all potential tropical weather disturbances originate near the equator just off the shores of Africa, and eventually drift west with the Trade Winds toward North and South America. These disturbances occur because of heated ocean water evaporating, causing it to naturally rise upward, creating low air pressure near the surface of the ocean. In the absences of pressure, cool air is pulled inward and forced upward. If the conditions are right, the air continues to rise higher, and begins to twist in the atmosphere. The twisting creates winds, which begin to circle counterclockwise. Once the wind speed reaches 74 mph, this tropical storm becomes a hurricane. What happens to the hurricane and where it goes is dependent on environmental conditions a tropical storm encounters.

Simply put, a hurricane needs to feed. The main food sources water temperature. For a hurricane to sustain or flourish, the water temperature must be 79F or greater. If the water surface temperature less 79F, the winds will gradually slow until they are no longer of hurricane force. Therefore, it is important when analyzing a hurricane to not become mesmerized with the strength or location of the hurricane in the Atlantic Oceans. It is more important to focus on the projected path and conditions a hurricane will travel through. This path will determine the result.

When a hurricane forms, scientists constantly monitor them with both satellites and airplane surveillance. All data is balanced off weather conditions such as frontal boundaries, low-pressure systems, wind directions, and other tropical events. Current weather conditions are the factors that determine a projected path. What lays in front simply determines the strength and speed.

Hurricane Watch: During a hurricane watch, the tropical storm(s) being monitored have a possibility to develop hurricane force winds in a stated area. Experts usually issue a hurricane watch about 48 hours before they expect the winds to begin.

Hurricane Warning: A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane force winds are expected in a stated area. Experts issue a hurricane warning about 36 hours before the winds are expected to give preparation time.

Before a Hurricane:

- Cover windows with plywood or storm shutters
- Move outdoor items to the garage if possible, or secure them
- Listen to the local news for the most updated information
- Create an emergency kit, include items such as non-perishable foods, water (3-day supply for each person minimum), batteries, first aid kit, medications, pet food (3-day supply minimum), a battery or crank powered radio, extra face masks, hand sanitizers, and extra hand soap
- Fill gas tanks in cars and be sure cars have an emergency kit in them in case of emergency evacuation
- Keep your emergency kit packed together in case of emergency evacuation
- Know how to turn off gas/water/electrical on house in case of evacuation

Houses line a flooded street after the effects of Hurricane Dorian arrived in Nassau, Bahamas, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/John Marc Nutt MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

After a Hurricane:

- Stay out of floodwater if it is avoidable
- Don’t drive in flooded areas
- If you have to be in floodwater, wear a lifejacket
- Wash your hands with soap and water if you have been in contact with floodwater
- Never use a wet electrical device
- If the power is out, use flashlights instead of candles to avoid accidental fires
- Stay away from downed power lines
- Listen to local authorities for advice on water precautions

Cleaning Up After The Storm:

- Prioritize what cleanup is most important and start there. Stop and take breaks when you are tired
- Get help lifting heavy or bulky objects
- Try to cleanup with other people
- If using a chainsaw, be sure to follow manufacturer instructions and wear protective hear
- Inside, clean up and dry your home as soon as possible, ideally 24-48 hours after the storm or flooding ends
- Air out the house by opening doors and windows. If you have power, put fans on wet areas
- To avoid mold, throw away what can’t be cleaned/dried quickly (rugs, carpeting, mattresses, furniture, etc.)
- Remove any drywall or insulation that has been contaminated with floodwater or has gotten wet
- Fix any leaks as quickly as you can
- Clean up any mold you see with a mixture of bleach and water (1 cup of bleach:1 gallon of water) Be sure to have windows and doors open, never use bleach in an enclosed area

Protecting Your Fence Through a Hurricane:

Your fence was built beautiful and strong, and according to the ASTM standards. It is time to see how it will stand up to hurricane-force winds. Regardless, I need you to do a few things that will help protect your investment. This will be the difference between the insurance company picking up the tab or the cost for repairs coming directly out of your pocket. They are listed below:

- Take a pictures and videos of your fence. Make sure you document all stretches both inside and out. You should do this with your home as well.

- If you have a wood fence, the gates can be secured by taking a foot-long piece of wood 2” x 4” and securing it to the gate and latch post on both the top and bottom. Use screws. If you can, fold the gate open and screw it against the fence with screws.

- If you have a vinyl fence, remove the ¾” bolt from the outer portion of the top and bottom hinges. Slide the gate off and store those gates in the garage. Check your post caps. If they are loose, take them off and place them in the garage as well.

- If you have an aluminum fence, simply place a bungee cord around the gate.

- Make sure you check the fence where it meets the house. Make sure the fence is attached to the house. If it is not, go buy a hurricane strap or 90-degree angle bracket and connect the fence to the house. It will be the difference between the Insurance company viewing the fence as an attached structure or detached structure.

- If you have a stretch of fence line which is standalone or not attached to the fence line, brace it. Bracing can be accomplished by taking a 2” x 4” about two feet long and placing it at a 45-degree angle, one end buried in the ground, one end attached to the post with a screw.

- If you have a pool, even if it has a screen enclosure, please purchase an orange plastic safety fence from the home improvement store. It will be hard to find after the storm.

Hurricane Preparation for Individuals with Autism

Hurricane Preparation for Individuals with Autism

Hurricane Preparation for Individuals with Autism

With hurricane season quickly approaching, and the increase of more and more summer storms, Paramount Fencing is teaming up with Autism Society of Greater Orlando once again to help better prepare those of us with a loved one with Autism in the event of a large storm.

  1. Begin preparing for a possible hurricane now. Add comfort items to your emergency kit. Be sure to include batteries/rechargeable blocks to the kit for recharging electronics. Get an extra pair of soundproof headphones just in case.
  2. Explain to your loved one what is going on. Tell them everything you can about the situation. Use personal stories if applicable. Allow the individual with Autism to ask questions, and answer them. Validate their concerns.
  3. Keep as many routines as possible, but explain to your loved one that there may be some unexpected changes such as loss of electricity, or a change in diet due to lack of access to preferred foods. Make sure to prepare them for any possibility.
  4. If evacuating, expect bad traffic and try to take a frequent break. If you can, try evacuating to a familiar friend or family member's house. If this is not possible, be sure to pre-register for a spot at a special needs shelter in your county. Service animals will be allowed at the shelters, just be sure that you have updated vaccine/license records available. Don't forget to pack at least a 3 week supply of food/water/medicine for service animals.

To pre-register for a special needs shelter near you, follow the links below:

Orange County Special Needs Registry

Seminole County Special Needs Registry

Lake County Special Needs Registry

Polk County Special Needs Registry

Volusia County Special Needs Registry

 

Note: It is very rare for home insurance policies to cover damages caused by either flooding or hurricanes without specific add-ons. After the above preparations have been made, review your homeowner's insurance policy to ensure you are covered prior to any severe weather indications.

Understanding Pressure-Treated Lumber and Wood Fence

Understanding Pressure-Treated Lumber and Wood Fence

Pressure Treated Wood Fence

In 2004, the EPA banned the use of Chromate Copper Arsenate (CCA) as an outdoor lumber preservative for residential applications.  The Lumber preservative changed to Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ).  It failed miserably.  Then came Micronized Copper Azole (MCA) and EcoLife (E2) in late 2007. Followed by Copper Azole (CA), and Then Copper Azole Type C (CA-C) in 2009.   As of current, there are15 different chemicals endorsed by the American Wood Protection Association.   Each of those chemicals falls under 12 end-use categories.  The question is which pressure-treating chemical is right for your fence.

The problem is the home improvement stores and lumberyards sell all of them, but here in Central Florida, you're only interested in three.  Use lumber treated with the wrong chemical or inadequate building method and you're asking for trouble.  Simply put, trust those so one who does not know what they are doing, and your fence will be destroyed within three to five years.   It is your wallet.

As the owner of Paramount Fencing, I understand the importance of using the correct pressure-treating chemicals.

Let's start with the basics.  Pressure-treated lumber refers to the process of infusing a chemical-based solution deep into or completely through a piece of wood. Treatment is accomplished by placing wood in a large chamber, filling it with liquid solutions, and pressurizing the chamber once the lumber is saturated.  As a result, the chemicals will prevent or block the wood fibers from becoming a food source for termites and fungal decay:  It's that simple.

What is not simple is understanding how these chemicals base solutions protect the wood.  Let break it down.  A preventive based chemical treatment simply exists within the lumber and a blocker adheres to the wood fibers within the lumber.  Understand, a preventive base solution only works so long as it remains within the lumber.

The problem in Central Florida is pressure-treated wood fences are constantly assaulted by groundwater, rainfall, and irrigation systems.  Like a sponge, the wood absorbs the water and the lumber swells.  Unlike a sponge, that lumber cannot be rung out.  So the abundance of water slowly forces the very chemicals meant to protect it out: AKA Leaching.  A blocker based treatment, on the other hand, allows the compounds of the chemical to sticks to the wood fibers resulting in better retention.  Simply put, the treatment lasts longer.

Preventive base treatment such as MCA and E2 were the treatment of choice for all outdoor lumber from 2007 to 2011.   It did not matter if the end-use was above or below ground.  In 2009, the makers of the chemical MCA started to realize lumber placed below or in contact with the ground was rotting.  E2, on the other hand, possessed wood polymers and stabilizers whose sole function was to delay water absorbing for 1-3 years.  In 2011, the pressure-treating industry realized there was a systemic problem.  Bottom line, both MCA and E2 treated lumbers was rotting when within 6" of the ground.

So began the race to find the cure for fungal decay and rotting at ground level.  The two major chemical producers of chemical-based treated solutions, Viance and Osmosis, created two different new treatment code Copper Azole Type C (CA-C) and MCA-C.   Then began the battle for control of the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) classification codes and standards.  Both companies slugged it out.  Both approaches were not created equal.  To avoid market confusion, the AWPA introduced three new end-use categories for pressure-treating lumber in their 2016 standards: UC4A, UC4B, and UC4C.

AWPA was based on the fact lumber is treated it is treated for a particular end-use application with different chemicals.  Now, depending on the end-use, the retention percentage of the chemical-based solution within the lumber determined how effective the chemical would be given in a certain condition.  Case in point, the category UC4a is meant for ground contact (general use), within an environment that promotes rapid watershed were as UC4B is meant for ground contact (heavy duty) within an environment that possesses slow watershed. Finally, UC4C is meant for ground contact (extreme duty) within an environment consisting of stagnating water.

As you can see, knowing is half the battle.  So the question is, how do you know you're purchasing the right pressure-treated lumber or is that fence company installing the correct stuff?  It simple, look no further than the tag stapled to the piece of lumber.  If you need further explanation or a better understanding of what category and chemical are right for each building situation, print off the AWPA's pamphlet.  or click on the link.  Then as the old saying goes, "Trust but Verify." Take it with you to the home improvement store or better yet take a tag off the lumber being used to install your fence.

We cannot stress this enough:  It is now more important than ever to understand the intricacies of pressure-treated lumber and the manner in which your wood fence is constructed.   No none of our competitors will share this information with you, and some will say, "We are crazy."  But just look around your neighborhood and chances are you will see rotting pickets and posts hard at work.

What Is Right  Combination Pressure Treatment Lumber for Central Florida?

The key to understanding three basic components of a wood fence and what it's exposed to after installation: (1) Post, (2) Runners, and (3) Pickets.

(1) Posts:

Posts are the vertical supports and 1/3 of that post is generally buried in the ground.  As a result, all posts in the state of Florida should be treated with CA-C or CA and be classified in the UC4B category, ground contact, heavy-duty.  If your property possesses standing water for more then 1 week at a time or is gushy when walking on it, UC4C, ground contact, extreme duty, should be the desired choice.  The reason is simple.  The State of Florida receives on average 57" of annual precipitation during the rainy season alone.  The Orlando area 52".   Next, our water table is often less than 4-6 feet below your feet.  When the dry season arrives, the homeowner's irrigation system comes on.  Remember that wood acts like a sponge and absorbs water, and when it does, the treatment slow seep out.  Understand, should you use a post-treated with UC4A it must possess some type of Post Saver Technology protecting it at grade.  Otherwise, a post-treated with UC4A will rot off at grade within 8-11 years.

Now, chances are no home improvement store or lumber yard will readily stock UC4B or UC4C treated posts.  More likely than not these classification will need to be special ordered.  Most stock UC4A, but post saver technology must be accounted for.

(2) Runners:

Horizontal Runners are the backbone of a fence.   It all starts with the framework.   There are two simple rules of thumb.  First, it's important to ensure there are (3) horizontal runners on any six foot in height fence.  Each treated with treated with a minimum of UC3B chemical class; however, before ward this classification treated-lumber must be installed a minimum of six inches off the ground.   Two, when in doubt switch it out.  If you know that bottom runner of that new fence is going violate the 6" rule, switch it out ot a UC4A class.

(3)  Pickets: 

Pickets are the what provide privacy and security.   I one simple rule.  Regardless of the pressure-treated chemical  used, it must be rated in the UC4A class and tagged meant for ground contact.   Be forward, if you have a soggy yard, the classification should be rated for a UC4B class.

For more information feel free to visit Paramount Fencing, wood buying fence guide.

We cannot stress this enough:  It is now more important than ever to understand the intricacies of pressure-treated lumber and how your new wood fence is going to be constructed.    None of our competitors will share this information with you, and some will say, "We are crazy."  But just look around your neighborhood and chances are you will see rotting pickets and post hard at work.

So don't be the homeowner that gets mesmerized by the likable salesperson or discount fence company.  If you do and use the wrong fasteners and pressure treating code, the pickets will separate from the runners within 12 months, the framework will separate from the posts within 36 months, and that beautiful fence will warp itself apart and those pickets will rot within 5-8 years.  Simply put, that new wood fence will become nothing more than a Popsicle stick experiment.

 

These are real problems that can occur with a pressure-treated wood fence but do not get discouraged.  These problems are preventable.

We cannot stress this enough:  It is now more important than ever to understand the intricacies of pressure-treated lumber and how your wood fence is going to be constructed wood fence is constructed.  We highly recommend that the homeowner read our comprehensive guide to purchasing wood fences before scheduling a single estimate.

These issues are correctable if the fence is built properly. The good news is we conduct testing every year and our building methods have been designed to counter these distinct problems and ensure that wood is still a viable option that can last 18 - 20 years.

So take the time to educate yourself, and don't become the victim.  Remember, as the old saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Paramount Fencing is currently customizing wood fences in the following Orange & Seminole County Cities: Waterford, Windermere, Oviedo, Orlando, Winter Springs, Lake Mary, Sanford, Winter Garden, Ocoee, St. Cloud, Winter Park, Casselberry, College Park, Clermont, Maitland, Longwood.  

 

How To Pick A Fence Company After A Hurricane

How To Pick A Fence Company After A Hurricane

How To Pick A Fence Company After A Hurricane

If you find yourself requiring a fence after a hurricane, make sure you don’t fall victim to the scams.  The market will be flooded with fly by night companies and individuals looking to make a quick buck.  Do your homework. Below is a checklist which will assist you in making a well-informed decision.

  1. Never call a fence company that placed a door hanger on your door unless they have a website associated with the company, a  Facebook, or a Google plus.
  2. Call at least three fence companies and request an in-person estimate. Phone quotes will only set you up for failure.
  3. When selecting the final bid, do your homework and check that company out. Below are few resources:
  4. See if the company has any complaint listed with the BBB.
  5. Join AngiesList.com and read the companies reviews. Try to avoid payment by click websites which claim to be a home advisor who sells your lead to as many fence companies as possible.
  6. Verify that the company is registered and licensed to do business in the State of Florida. Visit Sunbiz.org and do a corporate Search.
  7. Never give a fence company a material deposit in the form of cash or check.  Always, use a credit card.
  8. Do your research on the building method and materials being used.  There is a great resource guide at Paramount Fencing’s Buyer’s Guide
Hurricanes and Fences: The Before, During, and After

Hurricanes and Fences: The Before, During, and After

Pre-Hurricane Florence Estimating Schedule

If you were around for the hurricanes of 2004 and 2017 fences and screen enclosures were the most damaged items.   The increasing need for fence repairs and replacement created shortages of good and reputable fence companies who were licensed and insured.  As a result, homeowners were faced with long wait times for estimates and fence installations.   The homeowner had to settle for fly by night companies, a friend of a friend, and fence companies trying to take advantage of the situation.   More often than not, the homeowner either lost their deposit or ended up with sub-par fences, only to replace it 2 years later.

DONT BE THAT HOMEOWNER WAITING IN LONG LINES.  Take advantage of Paramount Fencing, Inc. pre-hurricane estimating list and reserve your estimate spot before the hurricane even arrives.  Just fill out the form below, click submit,  and your spot will be reserved.  It’s that simple.