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5 Home Remodeling Projects to Prevent Hurricane Damage

October 30, 2021
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A single major hurricane can do billions of dollars of damage in just a few days time. Winds from hurricanes can reach speeds of up to 150 miles per hour or more, while storm surges from hurricanes can flood Floridian cities with 5, 10 or 15 feet of water at one time.

Homes and businesses that are not fortified against hurricanes are more vulnerable than structures that have been constructed or retrofitted with the latest hurricane construction. As a homeowner in Florida, you can protect yourself from damages caused by hurricanes by installing features that are made from ultra-strong materials like metal. It’s important to work with a home remodeling contractor that understands the importance of site preparations against hurricanes and that has experience building hurricane-resistant homes.

#1 Metal Garage Door

High winds can force garage doors to bend or even blow out of place. If this happens on an attached garage, a buildup of air pressure in your home can cause your home’s roof to lift off the walls. Some garage doors are designed to withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour. If you’re installing new garage doors in your home, pay attention to the maximum wind speeds the garage door can withstand before selecting your preferred product.

Windload garage doors are also designed to withstand impact from fast-flying debris ranging from sticks to much larger and heavier items. While the door might not escape unscathed, depending on what hits the door, wind load doors are much more likely to survive the impact from

Work with a contractor to choose a garage door that meets the building code in your area. Building codes in Florida fluctuate depending on your distance from the southern tip and your proximity to the shore. Your contractor will know which garage doors are appropriate for your location.

 

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#2 Metal Roofing

According to the University of Florida, failed roof coverings are the leading cause of building damage in hurricanes. Metal roofs cost more than composite roofs, but they’re rated for 140 mile per hour winds. Metal roofs have other benefits, as well – including longevity, durability, and (if it’s a high-gauge metal) impact resistance. If metal roofing isn’t in your budget, choose your composite roofing carefully.

Some composite roofing is also rated for wind speeds over 100 miles per hour. Asphalt shingles that fall under the H classification according to ASTM D 7158 are able to withstand gusts of wind up to 150 miles per hour. Shop carefully and work with your contractor to find the best roofing material for your area and for your budget.
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#3 Impact Windows

Ever wondered how to protect windows in a hurricane? The International Residential Code (IRC) requires the installation of impact-resistant windows in all hurricane-prone regions, including Florida. Impact windows are made from a laminated glass made by sandwiching an inner layer of vinyl between two layers of heat-strengthened glass. They are designed to withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour and impact from fast-moving debris.

Impact windows are an alternative to the metal shutters that some homeowners install over their windows along with coastal parts of Florida. They’re favored by homeowners because they’re more attractive than metal shutters. In addition, metal shutters can themselves be a liability if they’re rusted or improperly installed. This is because shutters that are either weakened by corrosion or installed improperly can themselves become flying debris that could break your window during a hurricane. Impact-resistant windows, though a more costly alternative to shutters, are highly resistant to damage from hurricane-force winds. They have other benefits as well. Impact windows can raise a home’s property value and improve curb appeal.

Most windows need to be replaced every 25 years. If you’re nearing the end of your current windows’ service life, get quotes for impact windows.

#4 Landscaping

Hurricanes can do serious damage to your landscaping, and a powerful enough hurricane can even cause your home’s landscaping to become a projectile that can damage other parts of your house. Landscaping for hurricane resistance can help protect your house and minimize the clean-up after the hurricane is over.

  • Plant deep-rooted trees with high wind resistance, keeping them away from power lines. According to the University of Florida, the best trees to plant include southern magnolias, sabal palms, live oaks, and bald cypress trees are some of the most hurricane-resistant trees.
  • Remove dead, damaged, or dying trees. You may also consider removing trees with low wind resistance, like Chinese elms and sand pines.
  • Prune plants properly to remove dead branches.
  • Avoid the use of rock mulch.

Some plants are destroyed by saltwater. Plant salt-tolerant plants or you may need to replace your landscaping following a hurricane with a strong storm surge that floods your yard. Bougainvillea, sea oats, and wax myrtle are good choices.

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#5 Fiberglass Doors

Fiberglass doors are known for their resistance to wind and water. They can be shaped to look like wood doors, but they have the rot resistance of steel. Like other doors and windows, the doors you choose to install on your home should be rated for hurricane resistance, so do your research before choosing your front door. This is especially important if the front door you choose has a glass window, which also must be strong enough to withstand flying debris and high winds.

Remodeling for Hurricane Resistance? Contact Gilbert Design Build for Hurricane Solutions

Protect your home and family from the next big storm; stormproof your house. Contact Gilbert Design Build to evaluate your home’s hurricane readiness, and install a hurricane protection system if needed.

Sources

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/surge/ – storm surge

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php – hurricane wind speeds

https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0046235/00001

https://apps.floridadisaster.org/hrg/content/roofs/shingle.asp

https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/trees-and-shrubs/trees/trees-that-can-withstand-hurricanes.html

https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/design/landscaping-for-specific-sites/coastal-landscape.html