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Storm-Proof Your Home

How to build or remodel your home to withstand storm-force winds

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Concrete Building System

Homes built with insulating concrete forms are both strong and energy-efficient.

ConcreteHomes.com
Whether your home is old or new, it may not be able to withstand the fierce winds of a hurricane or tornado. Falling debris can shatter windows and strong wind can cause any weak places in the home to give way.

Some of the most durable homes built today are constructed of insulated concrete forms. These hollow foam blocks and panels are reinforced with concrete, making them especially resistant to wind and waves. But, even a house made from concrete can have points of weakness. To protect your home, the American Red Cross recommends that you pay special attention to three key areas: the roof, the windows, and the doors -- including the garage door, if you have one.

STORM-PROOF YOUR HOME

1. Storm-Proof the Roof
First determine what type of roof you have. Homes with gabled roofs are more likely to suffer damage from high winds. A gable roof can be strengthened by installing additional braces in the trusses and/or at the gable ends. A qualified builder can also install galvanized metal hurricane straps. These help secure the roof to the walls.

2. Storm-Proof the Windows
The easiest and most effective way to protect windows and glass doors is to install storm shutters. Building supply stores sell many kinds of storm shutters, but you can also make your own shutters out of plywood.

3. Storm-Proof the Doors
Most doors do not have bolts or pins strong enough to withstand storm-force winds. The American Red Cross recommends installing additional bolts, costing from $10 to $40. Garage doors can be strengthened by installing horizontal bracing in each panel. Bracing kits can often be purchased from garage door manufacturers. You may also need to add stronger supports and heavier hinges for your garage doors.

These projects cannot guarantee the safety of your home, but, if done correctly, they may be able to minimize storm damage. For more construction advice, see the Red Cross brochure Against the Wind: Protecting your Home from Hurricane Wind Damage. Also consult with building professionals in your area, and be sure to check your local building code requirements.

BUILD A SAFE ROOM

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages homeowners in hurricane and tornado prone regions to construct safe rooms. A safe room is a structurally-sound space strong enough to provide protection from extreme wind. Find guidelines and building plans: What Is a Safe Room?

For more construction tips, explore the links below.

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