No matter the size of your to-do list, tasks that prepare your home to weather tornado 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 anything short of being directly in one’s path.
You just never know what’s going to come our way.
In 2013, an EF5 tornado tore through Oklahoma leaving a path of destruction 22 miles long. It destroyed more than 1,000 homes and, sadly, twenty-five people lost their lives that day.
Thankfully, a tornado of that magnitude is a rare occurrence. However, if one is spotted near your home, you know the the feeling of dread that settles over you. Especially, if you have to herd your family into the safe space.
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 home provides your family with the utmost security when riding out the storm. Moreover, underground shelters or outside concrete shelters provide a safe haven. We’re seeing more of them in Oklahoma these days.
Do your homework and you will find the shelter that is right for you and your family. They even install them beneath your garage floor!
Impact resistant windows are a wonderful thing! The safety feature alone is worth investing in replacement windows that can take a beating.
To be classified as impact resistant, the windows must pass rigorous testing. The entire window unit must remain intact to rate for energy efficiency and strength.
That means if you take a peek outside when the winds get up, you don’t have to fear something flying through the glass at you.
Impact 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 spiderweb 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! Moreover, these windows are extremely energy efficient. To earn an energy star rating, impact windows must meet compliance standards.
A tornado on the horizon is ominous, to say the least. There’s not much time to batten down the hatches and take cover.
Manufacturers, today, provide an array of storm shutters. The styles range from roll down to colonial and are aesthetic to the eye. All of them afford added protection for your home. Check the rating for strength to aid you in making your decision.
In the event of a severe storm, you can lock them up tight in minutes.
Whether they are sliding glass or traditionally regal, entry doors are another aspect to consider for wind resistance. 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 tiny space they can exit and force themselves through.
Meanwhile, the pressure is building inside and out. The combined pressure may rip the roof right off your home.
You can strengthen entry points with wind resistant doors or install braces on existing doors. Once the hardware is in place, the braces can be locked in quickly.
Make sure your garage door is as secure as it can be as well. The flimsy material is often the first thing ripped from a home during high winds. It leaves a huge opening for the storm to wreak havoc on your home.
High winds force themselves on everything in their path.
Moreover, no house is airtight.
Combine that fact with a broken window or blown garage door and you have issues. As mentioned above, winds rush to find a 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.
If a roof goes, it rips from the home with explosive force.
A little added protection up there certainly can’t hurt.
You may even feel adequately skilled to DIY a bracing project. Measure your space and nail 2×4’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 of them 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.
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 more resistant to high winds!
A relative newcomer in the field of wind 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, retrofitting gets tricky, but worth every penny spent. If you’re building a new home, installing them now increases your home’s structural integrity as a whole.
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 tornado season provides a sense of security like no other. Even if we don’t see a tornado, you can bet storms will bring high winds from time to time. Taking any of the steps above enables you to rest easy. Both during this tornado season and for years to come.
Don’t let the threat of a tornado wreaking havoc on your home put a damper on the joy you find in it! Doing what you can to reinforce your home to prepare for the tornado season gives you something to smile about.
Michelle Williams believes construction is in her DNA. She spent many happy summers on the job site alongside her dad. As time passed, writing became her first love. However, she doesn't hesitate to strap on the tool belt and tackle a project on the side. Her kids love the playhouse!
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