4 Construction Tips for a Hurricane-Proof Home
You’re building a new home, perhaps in the aftermath of a disaster, and your goal is a structure that is much more likely to survive a powerful storm. Check with your contractor, but the key areas of the house to fortify are the doors, roof and windows, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Another issue you may need to confront is the elevation of your home. Elevating your home just a few feet can make an enormous difference in a serious flood. In some parts of the country, hurricane-resistant construction may be requirement. Elsewhere, it is simply a smart way to fortify your structure. Here are some construction tips for a hurricane-proof home.
Base flood elevation. This figure is based on the estimated flood levels from a 100-year storm and is issued by FEMA in areas of the country that are required to have flood insurance. Your contractor should be aware of the base flood elevation in your community. New home construction is required to be at or above base flood elevation or it could be impossible to get flood insurance, which is required by most lenders for homes with federally-backed mortgages in flood zones.
Roof bracing and straps. If the wind is able to get under the roof sheathing, that creates a significant upward pressure that can peel off sections of the roof and make the entire home accessible to the winds and rain of the storm. Ask your contractor to secure the roof with 2 x 4 trusses. In addition, roof straps can be attached from every truss to a load-bearing wall. These additions are fairly easy to make during construction and won’t add much money at all to the total cost of the structure.
Fortify windows. Single pane windows are no match for any type of flying debris. However, it’s possible to get high-impact glass that also includes a protective plastic film. In addition to high-impact glass, another valuable fortification is a window shutter. There are a number of different types – from wooden or plastic decorative shutters that can be closed to protect the windows to a solid sheet of aluminum or steel that rolls down and covers the window. These roll-down shutters can be operated automatically but some models also have the capability of working manually in the event the power is out.
Hurricane-proof doors. There are two different issues that hurricanes present to entry doors in a home. The first is the high winds and the potential of wind-driven debris damaging the door. The second issue is the deterioration of the seal of the door so that wind-blown rains make it inside your home. There are many different styles of entry doors, including those with single or double sidelights, which have a protective door seal that is maximized to extra protection. In addition, your contractor also can choose an impact-resistant door that includes a steel plate inside the door to protect against winds and wind-driven objects.