Nature’s fury can damage homes, farms, roads, and more across the United States every year, and one of the biggest challenges is preparing homeowners for the destruction of a hurricane, especially on the East Coast. Recently, Hurricane Irma dealt enough damage to cost taxpayers $90 billion, but if a homeowner knows what to do, hurricanes can be endured, and a home can stand tall when the storm dies down. Designing a house with this in mind can go a long way, or even purchasing one, ready-made.
Buying a Hurricane Safe Home
Homes can be either refurbishes to withstand a storm, or hurricane ready homes can be purchased as they are. According to Fortune, homes resistant to storm damage are readily available, but often, buyers are simply not aware of them. 800,000 single-family homes were built in 2017, the website says, but among them, only 8% had concrete frames, a common and practical way to resist hurricanes. Another design for these homes is the installation of windows that can resist winds upwards of 170 MPH in strength, in addition to a powerful pump that can move 20,000 gallons of water underground to prevent flooding. The pump’s generator is so powerful, it even has its own separate building. Building a unit several feet above ground is another option. However, it seems that buyers on the market are not even aware of these options, so such houses are slow to be built and are relatively few in number.
Home Renovations to Fight Back
Designing a house with hurricanes in mind is best for prospective buyers, but updating an existing house with additions to resist hurricanes is an option. Replacing existing windows with hurricane-resistant ones can cost anywhere from $40 to $55 per square foot, but this will go a long way to keep winds, and the debris they carry, out of the house.
Roof maintenance is an essential route to take. According to Hurricane Retrofit Guide, roofs are heavily damaged by hurricanes, and damaged roofs can cause major leaks in subsequent rainstorms. In fact, after Hurricane Charlie, 95% of homes affected by that storm had enough roof damage for an insurance claim to be filed. So, to prevent this, the roof should first be evaluated, especially the covering. Then, while following building codes, construction can improve the sheathing’s anchorage to the roof’s rafters and trusses, and a roof contractor can re-nail the roof sheathing to keep everything watertight.
Designing a house to resist hurricanes also extends to the doors. Hinged doors are vulnerable to a hurricane, and when they get blown down, the resulting pressure changes can blow out a home’s other windows. So, specialized doors resistant to strong winds and flying debris are a good option, and replacing the door jamb’s screws with longer ones can also help. If the door is not rated to endure pressure and debris, installing a shutter in front of it can help resist a hurricane’s effects.
What Are These Homes Fighting Against?
Hurricanes are among the most destructive forces in nature. The devastation they wreak can extend up to 100 miles inland, and wind speeds of 160 MPH or more are common. The flooding, strong winds, and debris together can devastate an unprepared home or community, so forewarning is essential. Designing a house to endure this storm is one step, and aside from that, those living in hurricane-prone areas are advised to check their local city or county website every half hour while a storm is six to eighteen hours away. If all these measures are taken, surviving a hurricane intact can be a reality.
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