‘It’ll be difficult:’ Homeowners urged to prep now for hurricanes as manufacturing industry sees delays

Products could take 3 to 5 months to arrive

The official start of hurricane season is Tuesday, and Floridians are being urged to start preparing before it becomes a race against the clock.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The official start of hurricane season is Tuesday, and Floridians are being urged to start preparing before it becomes a race against the clock.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting 13-20 named storms in 2021, with six to 10 hurricanes, and three to six major hurricanes, meaning category 3 or higher.

And while it’s important to prepare ahead of time, it’s especially important to think ahead this hurricane season as a homeowner because the manufacturing industry is seeing delays with products. Tat Granata, with Florida Home Improvement Associates, said the home improvement industry is seeing delays associated with hurricane-impact glass up to the window manufacturer.

“So if there’s ever a year where it’s really important to be prepared early in the season, it’s this year in hopes of still getting the products and installation done in time form you know, the busier time of hurricane season, which is in that fall,” he said.

News 6 anchor Julie Broughton talks hurricane preparedness for homeowners with Florida Home Improvement Associates' Tat Granata.

Granata said a normal year would see products getting to contractors within three to five weeks, but now “those numbers could be more three to five months,” also saying “it’ll be difficult” for homeowners to get products in time as we get into the summer. He said initial delays were related to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for manufacturing, but the industry is also facing what many others are: a labor shortage.

On top of being aware of these delays, Granata said homeowners should really pay attention to the type of contractor they’re choosing. He also said to be cautious.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Granata said.

“The financial viability of a contractor is really important, always but even this year, it’s probably even more,” he said. “...So it’s just really important to know who’s ordering the products for you, what that timeline, what the expectations are, and really understand the product and the contractor and have a lot of confidence in both of them before you make the decision.”

While the industry and other aspects of the state are rebounding from the pandemic, Granata said the home preparations still fall in the normalcy realm of getting storm ready.

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“We live in Florida. I mean, one of the concerns and risks that we all face living in Florida is hurricane season is coming. It’s on the calendar,” he said. “So the better we prepare, the earlier we’re prepared this year, the less stress will have come fall when we have the threats of the hurricanes.”

He said homeowners should still look for the same things in years past, such as knowing the type of trees around the home or any replacements that need to be made. Granata also said homeowners should make sure windows are sealed properly.

“It’s always great to have a consultation and have somebody really walk around the home with you to examine things,” he said. “Folks that have things like accordion shutters (need to make) sure that they’re still operating properly and opening and closing because you don’t want to be in a situation where a hurricane is now coming and you don’t know if the accordion shutters are going to be able to work as well, because it’s been a little bit of time since you use them.”

He also suggests new construction homeowners check windows and test with a lighter to see if it’s hurricane impact glass. In order to check, put a lighter to the glass and there will be three reflections if it is insulated impact glass, according to Granata.

If you have any questions you would like answered by our team of meteorologists, submit them here. Your questions may be answered during News 6′s hurricane special Tuesday, June 1, from 7 to 8 p.m. and on ClickOrlando.com.

About the Author:

Brenda, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando.com team in March 2021.