Protect Your Home From Wind

Protect Your Home From Wind

Extreme winds can cause several kinds of damage to a building, threatening you and your family's safety. During high winds, wind speeds fluctuate and may change directions, placing pressure on all parts of the building structure. These wind pressures may cause building components to fail.

When wind speeds are high, pieces of debris can also become "airborne missiles" that may penetrate the structure and possibly injure your family.

By maintaining a "sealed envelope", keeping the outside wind from getting into your home, you may be able to minimize damage to your home and reduce the potential for injury.

Structural

Consider these important items to reduce the chance of your home being lifted off its foundation:

Uplift resistance
  • Anchor bolts with heavy-gauge, square bolt washers can be installed during new home construction or added in existing homes to connect the floor construction to the foundation.
  • Plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) can connect the wall and floor components if properly nailed and installed.
  • Metal connectors attach roof trusses or rafters to the walls.
Roofing

Sheathing should be properly sized and nailed to comply with applicable building codes. Install underlayment material, such as asphalt-saturated felt. Provide separate, secondary water infiltration protection by sealing roof deck joints with a self-adhering modified roofing underlayment (thin rubber/asphalt sheets with peel and stick undersides located beneath the roof covering).

Roofing products with high wind resistance are available. Discuss with your contractor what measures will be taken to ensure the installation of your roof will be completed with high winds in mind. Insist they use hot-dipped, galvanized nails instead of staples to attach asphalt shingles.

Windows

Windows and glass doors should be fitted with impact-resistant laminated windows or covered with impact-resistant shutters to help reduce the potential for damage or injury caused by flying debris and pressure changes during high winds.

Entry Doors

Solid wood or hollow metal doors are more likely to resist wind pressure and flying debris.

You can also increase the resistance of entry doors by:
  • Making sure your doors have at least three hinges and a deadbolt security lock with a minimum bolt throw of at least one inch.
  • Consider not using double-entry doors, but if you do, install head and foot bolts on the inactive door of double-entry doors.
  • Since double-entry doors fail when surface bolts break at the header trim or threshold, check connections at both places. The surface bolt should extend through the door header and through the threshold into the sub floor.
Garage Doors

Garage doors are especially vulnerable to damage during high winds, unless your doors are properly braced.

  • If building a new home, consider installing horizontally-braced, singlewide garage doors instead of double overhead doors.
  • For existing homes, check with your garage door manufacturer for availability of retrofit bracing kits.
  • Garage door panels, especially for doublewide doors, may require both horizontal and vertical bracing to ensure stability.
Safe Rooms

Protect your family from injury due to high winds and flying debris by constructing a safe room in your home. The basement of a home is the best location for a safe room; otherwise, locate the room on the interior, ground floor of your home. Safe rooms are constructed with reinforced floors, walls, and ceilings and can be designed for both new and existing homes. For a reasonable cost, these rooms can provide you with peace of mind during a major wind event.

Manufactured Homes

While manufactured homes can be attractive alternatives to traditional homes, they are also more vulnerable to damage from high winds as a result of non-permanent foundations. In addition, tie-downs could rust, weaken, wear out, or break, leaving the home and your family more susceptible to damage or injury.

Tie-downs secure the frame, not the entire house. The home's foundation-to-wall or wall-to-roof connections may be compromised in the wind. Failure in either of these areas could result in a complete loss of the home. Remember, a community storm shelter or other secure structure is always a better alternative to protect your family from harm.