5 Tips for Building a Hurricane Resistant Home
There’s no denying that climate change is shifting weather patterns across the world. Whether you believe this is a manmade problem or the simple evolution of the planet, the way extreme weather affects a region seems to be changing, and not for the better. Fire season is stretching to cover more and more of the year in the southwest, while floods have done enormous damage in places that never really had to deal with them before. Tornadoes have already caused one major tragedy this year, and there are still several months of activity expected ahead. If you live in a part of the country that is susceptible to hurricanes you must take the increasing severity of these weather patterns under consideration. That doesn’t mean packing your bags and retreating to another part of the country. But if you plan on building a house and planting some roots you’ve got to protect your investment and make sure your property will come through a bad storm in one piece. Here are five tips for building a hurricane resistant home.
First of all, start outside with your garage. The vast majority of damage in residential areas during a hurricane occurs due to the garage. A poorly designed garage door will basically act as a wind tunnel, allowing quick entry for those huge gusts. The standard garage door is light and easily broken, making it the most vulnerable point in your home. There should be a sticker on the garage door that tells you about the pressure rating. If it’s not there, you probably need to upgrade. It won’t be cheap, but impact resistant doors on the garage might save you thousands in additional damages.
The next area to address is your windows. Taping them just isn’t going to work, not in the face of a devastating hurricane. Your only option is to put in windows with impact resistant glass. That should make sure they will stand up even with debris flying around in the peak strength of a hurricane. Again, this is a serious expense. Impact resistant windows are literally built to stand up to missile fire, so they’ll probably cost you double the price of a standard window. If that’s too rich for you, at least have storm shutters installed. Just make sure they are properly coded and not just a visible comfort.
The roof is another part of your home that can be seriously damaged in a hurricane. Wind always blows upwards, trying to rip things off into the air. And you’ve probably seen pictures of houses with no tops, their roofs crushing cars in some parking lot a half mile away. The fix can be as simple as picking up a can of high end flooring adhesive. You’ll use this to literally glue your roof down to the support beams, and it should be a simple project. Again, just make sure the adhesive you purchase is properly rated to stand up to the storm.
Now it’s time to turn your attention to the landscaping. You don’t have to design with a hurricane in mind, but you will need to stay on top of the upkeep. Few things can damage your house as quickly as falling tree limbs. All it takes is regular pruning to make sure your home won’t meet that fate. Regularly check for damage in your trees. Even a small crack in a major branch should be addressed as quickly as possible. And always trim back the trees so nothing hangs over your roof or twists through nearby power lines.
Finally, make sure water always has an unimpeded flow lane away from your home. Keeping your gutters clean is the first step, but you might need to think a little more in depth as well. Take care of all hurricane prep for AC units to make sure any overflow will roll away from the house. Build in a bit of an incline if need be, and consider adding extra length to the gutters so water buildup will flow into the street and not down into your basement.