No matter the size of your to-do list, tasks that prepare your home to weather the hurricane season need to be at the top. A reinforced home from top to bottom makes for pretty good odds that it's not going to fall prey to a hurricane.
You just never know what's going to come our way.
It's crazy to think that a quarter of a century has passed since Andrew's reign of destruction. In that time, though, our defense against hurricanes continues to grow stronger.
All in all, Hurricane Andrew proved as the catalyst for change in state building codes. The first statewide building code was put in place in 2002. New construction plans must meet strict regulations that include hurricane resistant building materials.
An eye on the storm
Hurricane resistant windows are a wonderful thing! The safety feature alone is worth investing in replacement windows that can take a beating.
Moreover, to earn an energy star rating, windows must pass rigorous testing. Testing includes missile impact, cyclic winds, and water infiltration. The entire window unit must remain intact to rate for energy efficiency and strength.
The large missile test consists of the window withstanding impact from large debris striking with a force equivalent to hurricane force winds. A 9-pound 2x4 is used striking the window end first with a force to cover 50 feet per second.
The small missile test uses gravel or ball bearings hurtling into the window at 55 mph.
Cyclic wind and water infiltration tests complete the testing process. These test for material strength.
Why don't they shatter?
Hurricane resistant windows are constructed by adhering two sheets of glass to a sheet of high-tech polymer. This reinforcement takes away the worry of glass flying through the air endangering your family. It's not going to happen. Even if the glass is struck with enough force to cause a spider web effect, it stays in place.
In addition, shatter-resistant windows also protect you from home invasion. It's much less likely an intruder will attempt to break into your home when his first attempt at entry was thwarted by the window itself!
Shutter not shudder
A hurricane on the horizon is ominous, to say the least. People have been boarding up with whatever materials they could find for over 200 years!
Plywood is a good reinforcement for windows and doorways. Manufacturers, today, provide an array of hurricane resistant shutters. Some still choose to drag out the artillery when dark clouds begin to loom the distance. Others, however, purchase shutters and leave them in place year round. The styles range from roll down to colonial and are aesthetic to the eye.
Check the rating for hurricane strength and enjoy.
Check it at the door
Whether they are sliding glass or traditionally regal, our entry doors are another aspect to consider for hurricane strength. If you lose your door, winds rush into your home spewing debris and looking for a way out. Often, they rush to the top of the house finding every nook and cranny possible to force themselves through.
Meanwhile, the pressure is building inside and out. Combined with the force of the outside winds pummeling your home relentlessly, the entire roof could be ripped from your home.
Strengthen entry points with hurricane resistant doors or install braces on existing doors.
By the way, the garage door is considered the point of entry for around 80% of homes damaged or destroyed during hurricane season. Make sure yours is as secure as it can be.
Hurricanes produce winds bent on forcing themselves on everything in their path.
No house is airtight.
Combine that with a broken window or blown garage door and you have issues. As mentioned above, winds rush to find means of escape immediately upon entering your home. Oftentimes, this culminates in the attic and the roof just can't take the force of the elements from inside and out.
Roofs rip from homes with explosive force.
A little added protection up there certainly can't hurt.
Bracing is big, clips rock, too
You may even feel adequately skilled to DIY this project. Measure your space and nail 2x4's in an "x" pattern on the underside of your rafters.
Hurricane clips or straps also reinforce the strength of your home. Leaving this job to a professional is probably best, by the way. Either attach from the stud to the top plate and up over the truss or rafters. The job gets tricky after the fact, but it can be done. Shop around for a contractor with expertise in this area if you don't have someone in mind.
Glue, who knew?
Apparently, construction adhesive is super glue on steroids.
Applying a bead along each rafter or truss where they meet the plywood decking is all it takes to make your roof nearly three times stronger!
When the house is a-rockin'
A relative newcomer in the field of hurricane protection is the tie-down method. These products literally tie your home to the foundation.
The ties connect the J-bolt of the foundation to the top plate. Again, this is a tough job after initial construction, but can be done! Installing them if you are under new construction provides serious strength to your home as a whole.
A mighty fortress
It is possible to build a home that is virtually indestructible. However, that would mean building it with more than six times the strength of a normal home!
That blows a lot of budgets.
No pun intended.
Safe rooms, though, are a feasible option for many. A shelter within your shelter provides your family with the utmost security when riding out the storm.
Moreover, plastic underground shelters or outside concrete shelters provide a safe haven. Do your homework and you will find the shelter that is right for you and your family.
Bringing it home
Your home is where your heart is. We get that! Above all else, your family is your world. Providing for their safety is of the utmost importance.
Making sure your family is safe during hurricane season provides a sense of security like no other. Taking any of the steps above enables you to rest easy. Both during this hurricane season and for years to come.
Generally, living in paradise rocks!
Don't let the threat of a hurricane wreaking havoc in your home put a damper on the joy of it! Doing what you can to reinforce your home to battle the hurricane season is a win-win!
Maybe you should celebrate with a day at the beach.