7 Best Practices for Building a Hurricane-Proof House

Storm Resistant Home Building Over the past several years, Americans have witnessed some of the most devastating hurricanes to ever hit during many of our lifetimes.

In 2017, Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on the United States territory of Puerto Rico, claiming the lives of over 2,900 residents. The storm knocked out power to the entire island and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. Then, in 2018, Hurricane Michael made headlines as the strongest hurricane ever to sweep through the Florida panhandle.

The massive damage caused by these and other hurricanes led many to consider building a hurricane-proof house. After all, the average homes in these areas proved to be no match against the winds and rains of Mother Nature.

If you’re wondering how to build a home that can stand up to the roaring fury of a hurricane, this post is for you. Read on to learn how you can hurricane-proof your home!

What’s It Take to Build a Hurricane-Proof House?

If you want to build a house that will endure a hurricane, your structure will need to be able to endure very strong winds. Hurricanes have winds that range between 74 and 157 mph (miles per hour), or more, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. According to experts, winds that reach 50 mph have the potential to inflict structural damage. Once winds rise above 64 mph, one can expect to see widespread structural damage occur.

How can you build a home that’s strong enough to withstand the wind, rain, and other hurricane elements? The good news is that building a hurricane-resistant home may not be as complicated as you think. Here are some of the things to keep in mind before you begin the mission of hurricane-proofing your home.

1. It May Not Be Necessary to Start From Scratch

Although many of today’s brand-new homes are safer than older homes, it’s not a rule that you must start from scratch. By performing a few must-have modifications it’s possible to increase your home’s protection from high-speed winds and flooding.

2. Consider the Costs

If you do choose to implement hurricane-resistant features on an existing structure, you should know that these modifications typically double the cost of construction. This means that the larger your home is, the greater you can expect the cost to modify it. Due to the high price tag associated with hurricane-resistant home improvements, it may be in your best interest to consider downsizing, rather than working with your current amount of square footage.

If you are building a home from the ground up, you may want to opt for one that includes only the essential amount of space required to live comfortably. Or, at least make sure that you are prepared to pay what it will cost to add hurricane-resistant features to the entire home.

3. Hurricane Shutters

During a torrential storm, a broken window can lead to severe damage. Not only will it increase the likelihood of structural damage to the home, but it can also allow a hurricane’s wrath to inflict severe damage to the home’s contents. It also increases the chance of flooding inside the home, which can lead to costly and extensive repairs.

For homeowners living in hurricane-prone areas, hurricane shutters can be one of the wisest and most valuable investments that you can make. Home builders today often use metal or poly-carbonate plastic as the preferred choice to stand up to mega-storms. Luckily, some insurance companies in certain states offer discounted rates to homeowners to offset the expense of hurricane shutters. 

5. Impact-Resistant Windows & Doors

Storm windows and exterior doors can also be helpful in keeping your home safe when disaster strikes. Storm windows are equipped with double-panes and air-tight seals, while doors are constructed of heavy metal or similarly durable material.

6. Resilient Construction Materials

The material that makes up the greatest part of your home should be highly prioritized to offer the greatest possible protection against hurricanes. Concrete is one of the most resilient construction materials available. Homes that are built using concrete often have a much greater ability to withstand strong wind and rain than those built with wood, brick or paneling. Resilient walls that are fortified by concrete and include a double-panel system should be used throughout the home when possible.

Steel is another top pick for homes “built-to-last”. You should also make sure that your home’s construction materials dry easily after being exposed to rain or moisture. This will aid in preventing mold and mildew, which can cause structural damage and may impose long-lasting health risks. 

7. Direct the Wind Path Away From Your Home

Homeowners can take measures to direct a heavy wind load away from the roof and walls and towards the home’s foundation. This can be done with the help of tie-down straps, hurricane plates, and clips, cable ties, and other types of tie-down products. It’s easiest to direct wind away from a one-story home, rather than a home of multiple levels.

The type of roof and sealants used can also play a big part in defending your home against water damage. Features such as a sloped hip roof and ridge vents are helpful in directing high winds away from your home.

A foam sealant underneath the roof can also offer protection from penetrating winds.

Has Your Home’s Safety Been Compromised By a Hurricane?

A hurricane-proof house is your best defense in protecting your home from potential storm damage. Before attempting to hurricane-proof an existing home, you need to attend to any prior damage before implementing modifications.

If your home has been subjected to storm damage in the past, we can help make sure that you’re prepared for whatever the future may hold. Contact us today to find out how to best prepare and protect your home from hurricanes!