Wind Damage >> Protecting Your Home

Wind can tear the roofs from buildings, rip siding from exterior walls, and throw debris through windows. Falling trees can crush roofs and walls. Of course, hurricanes and Protecting Your Home tornadoes generate exceptionally destructive winds that can turn buildings into piles of rubble. But high winds can happen anywhere, and strike during many types of storms. 

Self-Assessment Question: How much warning do you have to protect against wind damage? Hurricane watches and warnings usually provide 2 or 3 days' notice to protect your home or business and evacuate, if necessary. Tornadoes, on the other hand, Protecting Your Home strike with little warning. Ensuring the safety of your family and employees becomes a top priority. 

How Great Is Your Risk of Wind Damage? Your home or place of business may be located near Protecting Your Home a coastal area that is subject to hurricane-force winds, or you may live in an area at risk for tornadoes. The map on the preceding page titled "Wind Zones in the United States” shows areas that are susceptible to hurricanes and high winds. 

Self-Assessment Questions: In which zone is your house or Protecting Your Home place of business located? __ Zone I __ Zone II __ Zone III __ Zone IV How high is the windspeed you might face? _______ mph. One- and two-story wood frame houses are especially vulnerable to wind damage, as are manufactured homes. Nonstructural Protective Measures 

To protect against wind damage without making any structural changes to a building, you can: Identify and remove trees and branches that could fall on the building walls or Protecting Your Home roof, or on power lines. Identify and repair loose or damaged building components such as siding, soffit and fascia, shingles and roofing, brickwork, and brick chimneys. 

A hurricane brings torrential rain, and severe rainstorms may accompany a tornado. Buildings damaged by Protecting Your Home wind often suffer water damage as well. Water driven by hurricane-force wind can enter through usually rain-tight openings, and rain entering through a damaged roof can lay waste to the inside of a building. 

Make sure that items such as important documents and irreplaceable personal objects such as photographs are stored in a safe location, Protecting Your Home preferably in watertight containers. Consider putting extra cash and important papers in a safe deposit box at your bank. Nonstructural Protective Measures (Continued) 

Hurricane warnings are issued about 24 hours before the hurricane is predicted to hit your area. If your area is under a hurricane warning: Move breakable items away from doors and Protecting Your Home windows. Board up doors and windows. Bring in outdoor furniture and other personal property kept outdoors.  

Secure manufactured home anchors. Secure outbuildings. Secure or move boats. Turn off propane tanks. Structural Protective Measures The roof, doors, and Protecting Your Home windows of your house or place of business are potentially vulnerable to wind damage. When houses are exposed to hurricane forces, roofs are most susceptible to damage, followed by walls and openings. 

Roofs can be protected from wind damage by: Ensuring that plywood roof sheathing is properly installed. Bracing roof trusses. Installing hurricane straps. You can strengthen doors and windows by: Protecting Your Home Installing reinforcing bolt kits at the top and bottom of doors. Reinforcing garage doors. Installing storm shutters over windows. 

This lesson will explain how you can protect your home or business from winds. Protecting Roofs During a hurricane, wind forces are carried from the roof down to the exterior walls, Protecting Your Home down to the foundation. Homes can be damaged when wind forces are not properly transferred to the ground. Figure 2 on the left shows the position of roof sheathing in the structure of a gabled roof. 

Roof sheathing (the boards or plywood nailed to the roof rafters or trusses) can fail during a hurricane if not properly installed. Examine the sheathing from the attic. If many of the nails have missed the rafters, you may need to renail the sheathing. If you are replacing your roof, Protecting Your Home make sure the sheathing complies with current recommended practices. 

In a hurricane, the side walls of the roof (end gables) may take a real beating and collapse. Gable bracing often consists of 2"x 4"s placed in an "X” pattern at both ends of the attic: from the top center of the end gable to the bottom of the brace of the fourth truss, and Protecting Your Home from the bottom center of the end gable to the peak of the roof. 

Figure 3 on the left shows gable bracing. If your end gables do not appear to be braced, Protecting Your Home use a licensed contractor to install bracing. Ask your local building department whether a building permit is required for this work. Hurricane straps (made out of galvanized metal) help keep the roof fastened to the walls in high winds. 

These straps are often difficult to install, so you may need a contractor for this project. Ask your building department whether hurricane straps are Protecting Your Home required or advisable in your area. Protecting Doors The exterior walls, doors, and windows are the protective shell of your home. 

If the shell is broken during a hurricane or tornado, high winds can enter the home and put pressure on the roof and walls, causing serious damage. Double-Entry Doors For each double door, Protecting Your Home at least one of the doors should be secured at both the top of the door frame and the floor with sturdy sliding bolts. 

Most bolts that come with double doors, however, are not strong enough to withstand high winds. Your local hardware store can Protecting Your Home help you select the proper bolts. Some door manufacturers provide reinforcing bolt kits made specifically for their doors. 

Protecting Doors: Garage Doors If the garage door fails, winds can enter your home and blow out doors, windows, walls, and the roof. Doublewide (two-car) garage doors can pose a Protecting Your Home problem during hurricanes because they are so large that they wobble as the high winds blow and can pull out of their tracks or collapse from wind pressure. 

Some garage doors can be strengthened with retrofit kits. Many garage doors can be reinforced at their weakest points. Ask your Protecting Your Home building department for guidance on what to do. Retrofitting your garage doors involves installing horizontal bracing onto each panel. This horizontal bracing may be available in a kit from the garage door manufacturer. 

You may also need heavier hinges and stronger center supports and end supports for your door. Check the track on your garage door. With both hands, grab a section of each track and see if it is loose or Protecting Your Home if it can be twisted. If so, a stronger track should be installed. Make sure that it is anchored to the 2"x 4"s inside the wall with heavy wood bolts or properly attached to masonry with expansion bolts.

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