Is Your Home Protected From Hurricane Damage?

Impact-Resistant Windows/Patio Doors
Another way to protect your home from damage in windstorms is through the installation of impact -resistant windows and doors. Although these products look no different than standard windows and doors, they offer significantly more protection from wind-borne debris. In fact, these systems are capable of resisting impacts from large objects. For this reason, temporary shutters do not need to be installed before a storm strikes.

In general, the frame and glazing work together to protect your home from both the elements and the significant internal pressure changes which lead to structural damage. While large wind-borne debris may crack the impact resistant glass during the course of the storm, the window is designed to retain its integrity and not break apart. Should either the frame or glass be damaged, it can be repaired at your convenience after the storm has passed. Consider installing impact-resistant windows and doors when your existing windows and doors require replacement or when you are planning new construction.

You can purchase certified windows and doors through qualified manufacturers at local building supply stores. There are a variety of different systems; however, the best impact -resistant windows and doors typically consist of either laminated glass, plastic glazing, or combination plastic and glass systems. Be sure that the installation guidelines are followed carefully.

Impact-Resistant Standards
Currently, several different organizations have missile impact test standards. Permanent and temporary shutters, in addition to impact-resistant window and door systems, should meet one or all of these standards:
  • SSTD-12
  • Southern Building Code Congress International Test Standard for Determining Impact Resistance From Wind-borne Debris
  • Impact Test Procedures for Metropolitan Dade County Building Code Compliance Office:
  • PA-201-94: Impact Test Procedures
  • PA-202-94: Criteria for Testing Impact and Non-Impact-Resistant Building Envelope Components Using Uniform Static Air Pressure
  • PA-203-94: Criteria for Testing Products Subject to Cyclic Wind Pressure Loading
  • ASTM E 1886:
  • Standard Test Method for Performance of Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, Doors and Storm Shutters Impacted by Wind-borne Debris in Hurricanes.
Window Film
Some homeowners have considered window film as an alternative to other window protection systems. The most common method of installing window film is known as “daylight installation.” The process involves pre-cutting the adhesive-backed film to a size slightly larger than the windowpane to which it will be applied. Then, at the time of installation, the film is trimmed back to the size of the windowpane.

One of the most common types of window film is known as “safety film.” This type of film should never be less than 4 mils in thickness. Typically, safety film products meet the same break-safe requirements as tempered safety glass. This means that the safety film should hold the glass shards together, thus preventing a potential hazard from sharp, broken glass. Safety film may also offer a degree of protection in the case of high winds, but should not be considered adequate protection for windows in hurricane-prone areas.

As a homeowner in a hurricane-prone area, you should always purchase a product or system which has been tested and certified as passing one of the previously mentioned impact-resistant standards. To date, no daylight installed window film, regardless of its thickness, has passed any impact-resistant standard.

To complete your home strengthening process, make sure the exterior walls are anchored to the foundation. Although this is not as critical as some of the other tasks on your list, an inadequate connection between the wall and foundation could weaken your entire home. This is especially true if you live in a one-story home with large roof truss spans and a low-sloped roof. Make sure the wall studs are adequately connected to the sill plate, which sits directly on top of the foundation wall. Metal clips are available at your building supply store for this task. Then drill holes through the existing sill plate into the concrete foundation to install the anchor bolts. Place the holes as close to the center of the sill plate as possible using epoxy anchors which you can find at your local building supply store.

An engineer should determine the minimum bolt spacing for the force analysis of the shear and uplift loads. But placing 5/8-inch diameter anchor bolts no more than six feet apart, with an anchor bolt at the end of each wall, provides an extra measure of safety for your home. Unfortunately, if you have a concrete masonry block home, verifying that the exterior wall is connected to the foundation is extremely difficult. In that case, the best method to make sure that all required reinforcing is present and installed correctly is to inspect for it while the home is being built.

More: | 1 | 2 | 3 |