Building a Hurricane-Proof House? Here’s Some Advice.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Most of the time on this blog, we discuss ways to protect a house that has already been built from extreme weather events. For most of us, the strategies we use to increase our home’s stability are based on the premise of having to work with what you’ve got. However, more and more people are deciding to build their own houses from the ground up, as doing so allows you to customize the property to your exact preferences and make sure that every part of it is solid and strong enough to take a battering in a storm. Are you considering building a house in a geographic location that is prone to hurricanes or other strong weather, but aren’t sure exactly how to go about doing so? Here are a few tips for how to build a hurricane-proof house.
- Consider the Possibility of Storm Surges: If you’re building your house in a coastal area, you run the risk of being affected by storm surges, or high and forceful waves that occur during a hurricane. Oftentimes, people do not take this into consideration when building their homes, and as a result, they are taken completely by surprise when a wall of water comes rushing towards them and damages the foundation of their house. Don’t forget that even if the water you live near is calm most of the time, all it takes is one bad storm to cause storm surges that can reach heights of 10+ feet and severely harm the structural integrity of your house (or, in worst case scenarios, wash it away completely). If you live close enough to the shoreline that there’s even the slightest chance that waves could reach your house, make sure to build your house as high a ground as possible – and if you have no choice but to build on low-lying ground, then elevate the building as much as you can on concrete or steel pilings, which are strong enough to withstand the application of tremendous force.
- Install Impact Windows and Doors Wherever Possible: We don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but there really is no greater investment you could make when it comes to keeping your family safe than Impact, or Hurricane-Proof, windows and doors. As we wrote about in a recent blog post, Impact windows are specifically built to minimize their possibility that they will shatter in a storm and let strong winds blow in, thereby disrupting the air pressure inside of your home and causing major destruction to the interior of your property. Basically, Impact windows are not only made of two pieces of especially strong glass sandwiched around a very thin piece of plastic that any broken glass will stick to. They are also permanently anchored in place, as they are affixed to a sturdy and wind-resistant aluminum frame during installation. If you have the option of spending the money to do so, you should seriously consider making every window and door in your home a hurricane-proof one, especially if you live close to water and are building on low-lying ground.
- Use These Strong Materials During Construction: You may not think this would be the case, but wood is actually a beneficial material to use when constructing a hurricane-proof home, as its flexibility means that it can bend to accommodate stress, instead of breaking. Of course, wood will never be as sturdy as materials like reinforced concrete, metal and rock, so it’s wise to combine your wooden structural components with concrete when constructing the foundation of your new house. Furthermore, since you have the pleasure of being able to design your new property from scratch, make sure that you also include what is known as earth-sheltered construction, like cellars and basements, in your blueprints. Areas of a house that lay below ground are generally stronger than man-made construction above ground, and it’s important that your family has a place to seek refuge and safely wait for the storm to ride out in.
If you are about to begin building a hurricane-proof home, it’s important to consult with professionals so that you make the best construction decisions based on the particulars of the land you’re building on. Here at Paradise Exteriors, we specialize in the installation of the Impact Doors and Windows mentioned in point 2 of this blog post, and we’d love to help you as you plan the process of building the hurricane-proof house of your dreams. Please visit our website at ParadiseExteriors.com for more information about our offerings, and we hope to hear from you soon.