Restore for MORE than Before -- with Wind-hardy Home Improvements

If your home was damaged by a storm, the tremendous work, expense and stress can mean a daunting and difficult ordeal ahead.But it's possible to create a silver lining from the disaster. If you restore for more than before, you can return to a better home -- a stronger, more resilient, comfortable, and healthy home to enjoy with peace of mind.This is one of a series of articles about ways to do that.

Take control of your future by making your home more resilient for the next hurricane with these wind-hardy home restoration improvements.Today, many wind-resistant products are widely available.

Some insurance companies offer discounts for specific wind-resistant features, rated products or certifications, such as the Fortified Roof, Silver or Gold Home program, so be sure to look into that. It’s a great investment to upgrade when replacing damaged materials, even if your insurance won’t cover the incremental cost or offer a premium discount.

Roof: When reroofing, remove all of the existing roof covering and specify a wind-tested and rated roof system. It must be installed according to the manufacturer’s high-wind instructions to perform as rated and be covered by the wind warranty. For more detailed information to share with your roofing contractor, get the Fortified Roof checklist.

  • Make sure you have a minimum roof decking thickness of 7/16 inch. If replacing the entire deck, consider upgrading to 5/8” plywood for a stronger and more resilient roof deck.
  • Reinforce both existing and new roof decking with 8d ring shank nails (at least 0.113 inch diameter, and 2 3/8 inch long with full round head) spaced every 6 inches, and every 4 inches along gable ends. Do NOT fasten roof decking with staples or screws.
  • Add a secondary moisture barrier to prevent leaks at decking seams in the event roofing is lost to high wind. One low-cost method is taping the decking seams with a roof flashing tape (do not use window flashing tape).
  • Use wide adhesive membrane flashing in roof valleys and along eaves and gables. Properly install new flashing at all penetrations and roof/wall intersections. Install new drip edge over the underlayment and fasten every 4 inches.
  • Upgrade the underlayment. Use at least #30 roofing felt. Better options are a tear-resistant #30 synthetic underlayment, or an adhesive membrane (peel and stick) underlayment for greatest protection (no need for taped seams if this is used).
  • Select a wind-tested roofing rated above the local code wind speed. Wind- and hail-resistant shingle, metal, slate and tile systems are now readily available but you must specify them. For shingles, use at least Class F (ASTM D3161), or choose Class H (ASTM D7158 rated for 150 mph) for high wind resistance. High wind-rated shingles usually require matched starter strips and 6 nails per tab at specific locations to perform as tested and be wind-warranted.
    • NOTE that shingle life warranties (# years) are NOT an indicator of wind resistance, so a high cost 40-year architectural shingle might not perform well in high wind.
  • Specify TAS 100(A) tested ridge or roof vents. Securely fasten strong soffit panels and vents under roof overhangs to the framing. Perforated fiber cement soffits are a sturdy, one-step, low-maintenance option.

Structure: If walls are open or siding is removed, add metal hurricane hardware to strengthen connections of wall framing to the foundation, to the roof rafters or trusses, and between levels to resist uplift forces. Consider adding corner hold-downs and reinforcements of narrow wall sections to resist racking forces. Also strengthen accessory structures (screen porches, tool sheds, etc.) that could become flying debris. Remove trees and limbs near the house that pose a risk of breaking or uprooting.

Windows, Doors and Garage Doors: High winds and flying debris can break glass and push in or pull out a standard garage door or entry door, allowing wind pressure to build-up inside, push on the roof and surrounding walls, and cause major structural damage to a home. If in a high wind zone and replacing any windows, doors or garage door, invest in high wind and impact-rated units. If not replacing them, consider adding wind-borne debris protections that are easy-to-use, such as impact-rated operable shutters, screens, or lightweight removable panels.

Weather Barriers: When replacing windows, doors, siding or any wall penetration, upgrade the weather-resistive barrier (house wrap or other type) and flashing system. Make sure it is layered shingle-fashion with no gaps or tears. Use high performance caulks and sealants to reduce wind-driven water leaks. Find detailed guidance on installing weather barriers and flashing openings on the Building America Solution Center website.

10/1/2020 7:54:59 PM
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