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Do’s and Don’ts of Building in Hurricane-Prone Areas

If you live in Florida, you know that experiencing a hurricane isn’t a matter of “if” but “when.” Even if you have been lucky enough to avoid the devastating damage that these forces of nature can cause thus far, it doesn’t mean you are going to remain immune forever. As a result, it is a good idea to get to know some steps you can take to protect your largest investment – your home.

Here you will find some scientifically tested methods of making your home more resistant to the potential damage caused by a hurricane.

Designing Your Home (Or Building)

You should try to design buildings with hexagonal, octagonal or square floor plans. Also, ensure your roof consists of several slopes, such as a hip roof with four slopes. These types of roofing will perform much better under wind forces than a gable roof that only has two slopes. While gable roofs are the more common option due to the cost, they are not the most hurricane-proof option. Additionally, research has shown that a roof with a 30-degree slope will help you achieve the best results.

Use Nails to Secure Your Roof to the Walls

When a hurricane hits, one of the most common reasons a roof will come off is due to the uplift caused by winds. To help minimize the potential of this happening, it is a good idea to nail the roof to the walls with strong nails and avoid using staples. In the past, staples were an extremely common method of attaching roofs to walls; however, after Hurricane Andrew, which devastated a large portion of South Florida, this method was no longer acceptable.

It is actually recommended that hurricane clips are used. The type of roofing that is used is also essential. Different types of roofing systems will perform differently during a hurricane. For example, if you have a tile roof, the loose tiles can become wind-borne projectiles that threaten other buildings and homes in the area.

Install Hurricane Shutters and Consider Roof Overhangs Carefully

By installing hurricane shutters, you can protect any glazing that may occur due to wind-borne debris. There are several designs to choose from.

A roof overhang is also subject to the uplift force of the wind, which may trigger a complete roof failure. When you are designing a hurricane-proof home, you should make sure that the overhangs do not exceed 20 inches away from the house.

The Bottom Line

Keep in mind; there is no such thing as a completely hurricane-proof home; however, there are steps you can take to help reduce the possibility of damage. If you are working on renovating your home or building a new home in Florida, you should keep all the tips and information highlighted here in mind. It will help you design a home or building that has the best possible chance of withstanding high winds and other damages caused by a hurricane. Keep in mind, if your home does suffer any damage, you may be able to file an insurance claim. This will help repair the damage and help ensure your home is ready for the next bad weather event.