Hurricane resistant homes are more crucial now than ever before. They may seem like a serious investment, but they’re not as out of reach as you’d think. Their savings down the road can be considerable in a number of ways: on insurance, energy costs, maintenance, and recovery if a hurricane ever does occur. Building for hurricanes means building codes are constantly being updated, and these homes stay well ahead of those codes.
Are Hurricanes Getting Worse?
Devastating hurricanes make landfall more often. From 1981-2000, there were only four Category 5 hurricanes. From 2001 to today, that’s number’s tripled to 12. Scientists warn of more numerous and larger storms as a result of climate change. A large part of the reason for this is that more water vapor will evaporate and later condense in the atmosphere. This both supplies storms with more water and creates the heat that fuels these storms.
Simply put, one of the core elements of building for hurricanes is to get everything tied, bolted, or glued down. For instance, glue and ring shank nails are now used on roof sheathing and spray polyurethane foam acts as both an insulator and glue that seals against air penetration beneath the roof. Elements like overhangs are limited and roof design follows guidelines that deflect and direct the wind down. All of this contributes to the roof being exceptionally secure and less likely to get picked apart or blown off in a serious storm.
Hurricane resistant homes must be built for impact resistance. This includes impact-resistant doors, windows, a pull-down PVC shutter system and impact-resistant shades. Walls are also strengthened with extra framing, enhanced wall panels, and high-density wallboard embedded with mesh. Another, even more effective option is precast concrete walls.
The most effective way of protecting a home against floods is still the most sensible: build it elevated. This isn’t possible in every situation, so there are many other precautions to take. The entire property should be built for quick drainage directed away from the home. Sealants, membranes, rainscreen, and other systems help a home resist moisture build-up.
Mold- and mildew-resistant building materials are a must not just to protect against flooding. Building for hurricanes already means you live in a humid area – these materials will help protect against moisture, mold, and mildew damage throughout the year.
These factors are just the beginning. You can already see how easily some of these ideas can be realized – most of them without great added cost. Work with a builder that has experience building hurricane resistant homes and can show you how their ideas have already protected homes in the area.