A hurricane-proof home: What are the best construction practices?

The weather changes all over the world made me reflect on potential risks to my UK property. When hurricane season rolls around, coastal homeowners begin to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. In the past few years, hurricanes have been devastating to the United States, with Hurricane Micheal sweeping through the Florida Panhandle in 2018 and causing record damage. Individuals who plan to build a home in a hurricane-prone area need to learn about the best construction practices for making their home as hurricane-proof as possible.

Hurricanes Cause Catastrophic Damage

Even the weakest of hurricanes can produce winds between 74-95 mph. This wind speed can cause roof damage and lead to large tree branches falling on the property. With a category 5 hurricane, winds can rise as high as 157 mph or even higher. Homeowners in hurricane zones must have home warranty plans. The following offers information on some of the types of damage that can occur when hurricanes strike. Homes can be completely destroyed, especially if they are not protected. 

  • Roof damage or collapse
  • Fallen limbs and uprooted trees
  • Wall collapse
  • Shattered windows
  • Decking and porch damage
  • Siding damage
  • Outbuilding damage

Category 5 hurricanes will easily destroy homes. When a hurricane’s strength is unleashed, the area’s hardest hit could be uninhabitable for weeks or months. This is why it is so important individuals ensure their homes are as hurricane-proof as possible. With the right construction practices, hurricane damage can often be avoided or greatly reduced. 

Steps for Building a Hurricane-Proof House

Before delving into the steps to hurricane-proof a home, it is important to realise homeowners may not have to start over. Although a new home construction will be better protected, even older homes can be made to withstand the high winds of a hurricane. 

It is also important to consider the costs. Some hurricane-proof upgrades can be expensive, especially if a homeowner is attempting to modify an existing home. If building from the ground up, the costs will not be as high because the hurricane-proofing additions can be added as the structure is being constructed. The following offers some construction upgrades that can be carried out to further strengthen a home against the devastating wind speeds of a hurricane. 

Hurricane Shutters

Hurricane shutters are a must for homes built in hurricane-prone areas. These shutters completely shield the windows of a home, preventing the glass from being broken. When a home’s windows become broken, this gives the hurricane access to the inside of the home, where it can wreak havoc. These shutters can be made of metal or polycarbonate. They can be installed on new construction and older homes. 

Hurricane shutters should be installed on every home in hurricane-prone areas. Once installed, homeowners will simply need to close the shutters over their windows before the hurricane comes in. Due to the strength of these shutters, there is no need for boarding up the windows, which will save homeowners a lot of time when they need to evacuate. 

Strong Construction Materials

Many construction companies are now building homes with concrete. Concrete is one of the strongest building materials. Walls that are fortified with concrete are less likely to come down during a hurricane. Steel is another solid choice. When building a home in a hurricane-prone area, it is important to choose materials that will dry out quickly to prevent mould and mildew growth. 

Individuals must ensure they are hiring the very best contractors in the area. They must ensure these builders are highly educated in hurricane protection  to ensure their new home is built to exacting specifications. When a home is built with the very best materials and building practices, it is more likely to be able to withstand the force of the hurricane during its strongest period. 

Direct the Wind Path 

There are numerous options that can be used to help direct the wind path away from a home. This is easier accomplished with a one-story house. It is important to direct the wind path away from the roof and walls and towards the foundation, where the house is much stronger. 

This can be done by using hurricane plates, clips, tie-down straps, and more. It is wise for homeowners to have their homes evaluated by a hurricane protection specialist to ensure the home will withstand the damaging winds that can develop during a hurricane. 

Hurricane Protection Measures Offer Incentives

Many homeowners are surprised to learn their homeowner’s insurance company may offer discounts when they implement these measures. It is imperative homeowners do everything possible to protect their homes. Getting a discount on homeowner’s insurance is an added bonus for having peace of mind. 

Building a new home requires a tremendous investment. Homeowners need to ensure they are protecting their investment in every way possible. In addition to the above steps, homeowners should also seek out comprehensive insurance policies and home warranty options that will give them further protection when hurricanes strike. 

Steps to Take When a Home Has Been Damaged By a Hurricane

When hurricane damage strikes, it is important homeowners act quickly. Despite the best construction practices, it is still possible to experience home damage, especially when the wind strengths and speeds rise dramatically. The following steps should be taken when damages occur because of a hurricane. 

  • One of the first steps a homeowner should take is to contact their insurance company. Filing a claim as soon as possible will get the process started. 
  • It is wise for homeowners to take inventory of the damage. Photos, videos, and extensive notes are all helpful in documenting the damages. 
  • Homeowners will need to prepare for the claim’s adjuster to come out to their home. It is important to hand over any damage documentation and provide information as quickly as possible.
  • Once the claim has been approved, homeowners can start the repair and rebuilding process. 

Conclusion

It is imperative homeowners do everything they possibly can to protect their homes from hurricane damage. While an older home can be modified to increase protection, it is best if the home is built with strong materials from the ground up so it will withstand a hurricane’s damaging winds. 

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