Creating a hurricane-proof house requires more than just getting the basics before a storm.
Buying a residential backup generator will help you be self-sufficient for a short time after a natural disaster strikes. However, it only scratches the surface of the options available for protecting yourself and your home in the face of severe weather.
Many companies are now creating products to help protect against future storms. After contacting your insurance company to determine their requirements and before getting references and written quotes from contractors, make a list of improvements that you would like to make to your home.
Here are some options to consider.
In This Article:
- The Need for Storm-Resistant Products
- Hurricane-Proof Windows
- Strengthening the Exterior Envelope
- Choosing a Hurricane-Proof Roof
- Find the Right Contractor
The Need for Storm-Resistant Products
Residential storm damage begins with strong winds that attack the integrity of roofing, windows and both entry and garage doors.
As winds increase, and driving rain is added to the equation, building products begin to fail and pervasive water will make its way in.
Because of increased severe weather awareness, all types of residential hurricane-proof products are seeing a dramatic increase in both acceptance and usage.
These range from window coverings lined with the same material used in bullet-proof vests to complete interior-fortified storm safe rooms.
If you are building or remodeling, hurricane-proof your house by utilizing all the weather-resistant building materials that are now available: hurricane strapping, clips, corner bracing, tie-down systems, and, of course, impact-resistant doors and windows. These materials will provide you with better protection during the next extreme weather situation.
Of the many hurricane-proof options for your house, those that cover and protect window openings are the most popular.
Fragile windows are the number one weak spot in every home. High winds and flying debris can easily break window glass, allowing the wind to enter your home and cause major damage. To prevent this, have storm panels or shutters made to fit each window on your home, then store them in a garage or shed until needed.
Plastic storm panels are much lighter and easier to install than either plywood or metal. And since plastic panels allow light to enter your home, you won’t feel like you’re living in a dungeon when the power goes out during the storm.
These window covering products are simply alternatives to the purchase and installation of numerous sheets of plywood, which is often in short supply in last-minute or short-notice situations.
For year-round hurricane-proof windows, install ones with impact-resistant glass configurations.
Many window companies now manufacture impact-resistant windows. Simonton Windows manufactures the impact-resistant StormBreaker™ Plus windows and doors designed especially for high wind-borne coastal areas. When this window is struck by a blunt object, such as blowing debris, the glass may crack, but the pieces do not fly out of the frame – they adhere to the plastic interlayer.
In addition to impact-resistant glass, install tougher and better-engineered window frames and sashes. Strong seals and upgraded hardware create a good defense against whatever Mother Nature decides to throw your way.
Other weatherproofing options for windows:
- Quick-install protective covers using either heavy solid sheets or clear see-through tough hybrid plastics
- Motorized roll-up metal shutters, with rain and/or high wind sensors, that go (or roll) into action to protect windows, whether or not the owner is home
By investing in real “built-in” everyday protection, homeowners not only get peace of mind but in many cases also insurance benefits and energy efficiency too.
Strengthening the Exterior Envelope
Structural failure is not the cause of most storm-related damage. Rather, water penetrating the home exterior envelope causes damage and, in turn, often leads to serious mold problems.
For a hurricane-proof house exterior, consider re-siding your home with fiber-cement siding. This type of siding resists damage from natural occurrences such as rain, hail, snow, salt air and hurricane-force winds, as well as resistance to damage by termites. This low-maintenance siding is a good alternative to traditional types of wood and vinyl siding.
Upgrade doors to prevent water from entering your home. Consider these storm-resistant features:
- Composite materials such as fiberglass that add strength, impact resistance and eliminate wood rot
- Design and engineering improvements that create a better and stronger seal between the door and frame to reduce all air, wind and water penetration
- Stronger “sweep” designs to better seal the bottom of the door
- Tougher, upgraded hardware and more of it
- Durable impact-resistant glass (as noted earlier for windows)
- Specially-designed nails and fasteners with hurricane-strength holding power
- Do-it-yourself, easy-to-install kits that strengthen existing garage doors against being blown in by severe winds
Choosing a Hurricane-Proof Roof
A hurricane-proof house starts with tougher roofing products that stay in place during severe winds.
When having your new roof installed or old roof replaced, make sure the installer is adhering to the shingle manufacturer’s warranty guidelines for installation. Proper nailing will help your roof make it through severe weather better than anything else.
For superior protection from hurricanes, consider installing a metal roof. Both reliable and strong, metal roofs give your home the best protection against extreme weather conditions, including 140-mile-an-hour hurricane-force winds, hail storms, heavy rain, and wildfires.
Find the Right Contractor
Be sure to select the best contractor for your Job. A great place to start the selection process is by calling your local NAHB (National Association of Home Builders). You can secure a list of contractors from them.
All NAHB offices require their members to adhere to strict standard and ethics guidelines. Be sure to check references and go look at previous jobs your prospective contractors have completed.
Communication is very important when beginning any type of construction project. The best form of communication with your contractor is to have the entire scope of work detailed with a cost breakdown and payment schedule in a contract.
Many companies and organizations have valuable resources for keeping your home safe, check out www.blueprintforsafety.org or www.fema.gov for more information.
How hurricane-proof is your house? Are you ready to weather the next big storm?