Wind Damage >> Wind Proof Your House

During a hurricane, homes may be damaged or destroyed by high winds and high waves. Debris can break windows and doors, allowing high winds inside the home. In extreme storms, Wind Proof Your House such as Hurricane Andrew, the force of the wind alone can cause weak places in your home to fail. 

After Hurricane Andrew, a team of experts examined homes that had failed and ones that had survived. They found four areas that should be checked for weakness—the roof, windows, Wind Proof Your House doors, and if you have one, garage door. In this brochure, we discuss some things you can do to help make your home stronger before the next hurricane strikes. 

You may need to make some improvements or install temporary wind protection. It is important that you do these projects now, before a hurricane threatens. While these projects, Wind Proof Your House if done correctly, can make your home safer during a hurricane, they are no guarantee that your home won’t be damaged or even destroyed. 

If you are told by authorities to evacuate, do so immediately, even if you have taken these precautions. The Roof During a windstorm, Wind Proof Your House the force of the wind pushes against the outside of your home. That force is passed along from your roof to the exterior walls and finally to the foundation. 

Homes can be damaged or destroyed when the energy from the wind is not properly transferred to the ground. The first thing you should do is determine what type of roof you have. Homes with gabled roofs are more likely to suffer damage during a hurricane. A gabled roof looks like an A on the ends, Wind Proof Your House with the outside wall going to the top of the roof (see Figure 1). 

The end wall of a home with a gabled roof takes a beating during a hurricane, and those that are not properly braced can collapse, Wind Proof Your House causing major damage to the roof. Figure 1. Gabled Roof In most homes, gabled roofs are built using manufactured trusses. 

Sheets of roof sheathing, often plywood, are fastened to the trusses with nails or staples, and roofing material is fastened to the sheathing. In many cases, Wind Proof Your House the only thing holding the trusses in place is the plywood on top. This may not be enough to hold the roof in place during a hurricane. Installing additional truss bracing makes your roof’s truss system much stronger. 

To inspect your roof’s bracing, go into the attic. While working in your attic, you should wear clothing that covers your skin, work gloves, a hat, eye protection, and a dust mask. If your attic does not have a floor, Wind Proof Your House be careful to walk only on the wood joists, or install boards wide enough to walk on as you work. Notice how the plywood is attached to the truss system. 

If most of the large nails or staples coming through the sheathing have missed the trusses, consider having the sheathing properly installed. Figure 2. Truss Bracing Truss bracing In gabled roofs, Wind Proof Your House truss bracing usually consists of 2´ 4s that run the length of the roof. If you do not have truss bracing, it should be installed. You can do this yourself or hire a professional. 

Install 2´ 4s the length of your roof, overlapping the ends of the 2´ 4s across two trusses (see Figure 2). Braces should be installed 18 inches from the ridge, in the center span, Wind Proof Your House and at the base, with 8 to 10 feet between the braces. Use two 3-inch, 14-gauge wood screws or two 16d (16 penny) galvanized common nails at each truss. 

Because space in attics is generally limited, screws may be easier to install. 1 Gable end bracing Gable end bracing consists of 2´ 4s placed in an "X” pattern from the top center of the gable to the bottom center brace of the fourth truss, Wind Proof Your House and from the bottom center of the gable to the top center brace of the fourth truss (see Figure 3). 

Use two 3-inch, 14-gauge wood screws or two 16d galvanized common nails to attach the 2´ 4s to the gable and to each of the four trusses. Gable End Bracing Hurricane straps There are many types of roof design. Regardless of your type of roof, Wind Proof Your House hurricane straps are designed to help hold your roof to the walls. While you are in the attic, inspect for hurricane straps of galvanized metal (see Figure 4). 

Hurricane straps may be difficult for homeowners to install. You may need to call a professional to retrofit your home with hurricane straps. Check with your local government building officials to see if hurricane straps are required in your area. Figure 4. Hurricane Straps 2 Exterior Doors and Windows The exterior walls, Wind Proof Your House doors, and windows are the protective shell of your home. 

If your home’s protective shell is broken, high winds can enter and Wind Proof Your House put pressure on your roof and walls, causing damage. You can protect your home by strengthening the doors and windows. Double entry doors Most double doors have an active and an inactive or fixed door (see Figure 5). 

Check to see how the fixed door is secured at the top and bottom. The bolts or Wind Proof Your House pins that secure most doors are not strong enough. Some door manufacturers provide reinforcing bolt kits made specifically for their doors. Check with your local building supplies retailer to find out what type of bolt system will work for your door. 

The door bolt materials should cost from $10 to $40, Wind Proof Your House depending on the type and finish. Doors with windows will need additional protection from flying debris. See the section on storm shutters for how to protect windows. 

For more information on protecting your home from hurricane wind damage, contact your local building official; your local building supply retailer; or a building professional, Wind Proof Your House such as an engineer, architect, or experienced contractor.

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