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Protecting the window openings of a house is probably one of the most important steps a person can take to protect their family and belongings. When a hurricane hits, high winds and pounding rains are the result. High winds can cause objects such as roof tiles, branches, garbage cans and so on to become projectiles. When this happens, the outer envelope – the separation between the interior and the exterior environments of a building is at risk.
A lawn that’s properly cared for and healthy will resist weeds and other pest problems. Following the best management practices (BMPs) in this publication should help keep your lawn in good condition.
Good performance of the HVAC systems depends on eliminating leaks in the plenum and ducting system and reducing friction within the ducts themselves. This 3-part video shows how to accomplish these goals, which also reduce attic air infiltration into the system.
The buoyant foundations, senior-design project at LSU has focused a spotlight on this technique. Buoyant foundations are not a legal alternative to elevation in flood hazard areas, and specifically violate the flood and wind anchoring requirements of the buidling code and/or flood ordinance. Homeowners should not pin their hopes on adopting this technique for building, rebuilding or restoring homes.
Extensive damage from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike has caused many homeowners to build at higher elevations above ground, or to raise their existing homes to safer heights. Many people have, or will, turn to elevators, platform lifts or other mechanical systems as their primary means of accessing the elevated floor.
Experience has shown in inland areas floods damage areas of buildings not elevated above the flood level and destroy contents of those areas. In coastal areas, wave action causes even more damage. The NFIP requires participating communities to adopt a floodplain management ordinance that specifies minimum requirements for reducing flood losses. SOURCE: Home Builder's Guide to Coastal Construction Technical Fact Sheet Series (FEMA 499) Technical Fact Sheet 4.
The 2005 and 2008 hurricane seasons left thousands of south Louisiana homeowners with a need to build homes with the floor above ground or to elevate their existing homes to safer heights. Stairs, or even ramps, are not the optimal solution for accessing the raised floor; they can pose a problem for the disabled, aging and many others.
This publication outlines some of the options for design, operation and maintenance of ornamental ponds and discusses basic environmental requirements of fish and plants commonly grown in these ponds. 20 pages. Full color. (PDF Format Only)
For an average person soil might just be nothing but dirt which you walk on and never pay attention. But for engineers it is a complex material that must be studied.
When you’ve committed to adding landscaping to your home, walk or ride around to get some landscaping ideas from other homes. See what is being used in your community and what other people who have elevated their homes to a similar height have done with landscaping. general ideas about how to integrate an elevated first floor into a landscaped yard.
A collage of storm spot images from hurricane debris.
Once you've gotten past idea stage, you'll need to develop a budget, prep the yard, choose plants, put shovel in the ground, and be prepared to maintain your landscape.
Once you’ve decided to elevate your home, or moved into a home that is already elevated, there’s no reason to keep it stark and camp-like. Using creative landscaping, an elevated first floor can be hidden or enhanced, and the elevated home can even offer a new perspective. Window boxes and hanging plants on porches can help add another vertical layer of landscaping. This is a visual guide to landscaping your elevated home, and includes references to local resources.
When you’ve committed to adding landscaping to your home, walk or ride around to get some landscaping ideas from other homes. See what is being used in your community and what other people who have elevated their homes to a similar height have done with landscaping. general ideas about how to integrate an elevated first floor into a landscaped yard. Photos from around New Orleans.
There are four distinct components of establishing turfgrass: clearing and grading to provide the desired contours and good surface drainage, soil preparation, planting, and watering and maintenance.
Loading equipment onto a truck or trailer usually requires the use of loading ramps. There are some safety issues involved in using ramps.
Wood to ground contact can bring termites into a structure.
Because garage doors are so big, usually the single biggest opening of a house, and because most old doors are so weak, the survival of a house’s garage door is very important to the survival of the house. Failure of the garage door allows the full fury of the hurricane to act on interior walls, doors, ceiling or roof that form the barriers between the inside of the garage and the rest of the house.
Central HVAC equipment distributes the air through out the house by a system called “duct work.” When this system is properly designed, air distribution is even and a uniform temperature is maintained. Proper duct work design can allow for the correct sizing of systems, thus increasing savings.
Whether building a new roof or repairing an existing roof in south Louisiana, there are steps you can take to improve your roof's resistance to hurricane winds and driving rain. Here are the essentials for selecting and installing a roof and roofing components.
One sure vestige of a hurricane or bad blow is a large, dead area of the lawn. It usually is located near curbside, or anwhere yard debris is piled up for many days. Some spots can be avoided by careful debris management; others are inevitable and will require restoration.
Pier construction can hide or expose termites, depending on pier type.
The load bearing capacity of Louisiana soils varies widely. It is important to know the soil type in the area that you plan to build. Often you can determine if you want to select a certain location for your new home or look further by knowing as much as you can about the area. It is wise to know the flood zone, availability of utilities, and believe it or not the soil type.
Read the following articles on safety and take all necessary precautions when rebuilding your home.
Each year about 300 deaths and 175,000 serious injuries occur in the United States because people don't properly use ladders. This article lists some "Do's and Don'ts" for using a portable ladder.
Not all jobs can be done safely with a ladder or by one person with a ladder. Serious falls are common; every year about 300 deaths and 175,000 serious injuries occur in the United States. Read this article for safety tips when using a ladder.
Articles in this channel contain information you can use to construct a new lawn that will compliment construction work on your home.
Ornamental grasses are an often overlooked group of herbaceous perennials that thrive in the Louisiana climate and will grow beautifully with minimal effort. It’s time to get beyond lawn grasses and take a look at this other category of grassy plants. You’ll really appreciate what they can add to your landscape.
Hurricanes and heavy rains can create excessively wet soil that, when combined with high temperatures, can create stressful, and potentially destructive, conditions for bedding plants, perennials, vegetables, shrubs and even trees. If floodwaters have covered any part of your landscape, here are a few tips...
Cleaning up wood debris after a hurricane or other severe wind storm can inadvertently spread one of Louisiana’s most destructive pests – the Formosan subterranean termite. The highest concentrations of this termite in the continental United States are in Lake Charles and New Orleans, cities flooded following Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.
A great deal of moisture can move from the ground into and through a foundation and floor system, which can lead to decay, mold under flooring and high indoor humidity. To prevent these problems, keep rainwater away from the foundation with a 5% slope (6 inches/10 feet) of the grade around the house, prevent materials from absorbing water, drain groundwater with underground drainage before it gets to the foundation and allow the moisture in a foundation to escape.
In a hot-humid climate, moisture flows from outside to inside most of the year. In a mixed-humid climate, moisture flow changes direction in cooling and heating seasons. Using the proper wall assembly in your home is important for controlling moisture.
A radiant barrier under the roof decking (foil side down) can block 95% of the roof’s radiant heat. This is most beneficial when attic insulation levels are R-19 or less, or when the air conditioner or ducts are located in the attic. Radient barriers are also useful in walls that take intense sun.
Cleanup after a disaster can be a major problem. Debris from trees, shrubs and buildings may be everywhere. Even though extra resources may be provided, it may be some time before collection is possible. Debris removal will reduce the potential for nesting by rodents, snakes and insects, or it will, at least, keep those infestations in a concentrated area away from the home.
New homes in floodprone areas are protected from flood damage by building them so the living space is above expected flood levels. Learn more about elevated foundations and development regulations.
Read this article to find out which windows to install in your home to help save on energy costs.
To overcome the forces that wind places on a building, construction of the walls with connectors and sheathing is important.
This section of the web is for information on completing the interior of the home, including carpentry and trim, interior finishes, heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical and handicap accessibility.
This section of the web includes information about providing proper foundations for the new home, creating the lowest floor - at grade or above grade, for flood protection, and making sure the foundation and structure are protected from subterrarean termites.
This part of the web site will present information related to clearing a demolition site or a new building site in preparation for building a home.
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Proper construction of the roof can keep it on the house in a storm. Some roof designs are more wind resistant that others, but even with a good design it's important to strengthen connections and installing materials according to manufacturers instructions for your wind-speed. what happens on the job site can make a huge difference.
Homes in Flood Hazard Areas require special foundations to ensure stability. This article addresses foundation requirements for homes built in wave-action areas.
Termites cannot eat through solid concrete. To enter a structure they must come up around the outside edges or enter through some other opening in the slab. Traditional termite treatments require the application of a continuous chemical barrier to the soil around all possible entry points.
Ways to protect your windows and doors against damage during a hurricane.
Because of their width, double-wide garage doors are more susceptible to wind damage than single doors.
According to recent wind technology research, it's important to strengthen the exterior of your house so wind and debris do not tear large openings in it.
Your home has either double or single entry doors. If they are solid wood or hollow metal they probably can resist wind pressures and hurricane debris. However, if you are not sure whether they are strong enough, take these precautions.
When you're building a new home, or putting on a new roof according to the building code, the roof will be built to resist the winds prevalent in the area. However, an existing roof can be strengthened even when you're not re-roofing, and often without disturbing any portion of the home that would be visible to the occupants of the home.
How can you recognize when your roof has problems? Use these inspection tips, and suggestions for strengthening.
A flood-damaged building requires special attention to avoid or correct a mold population explosion.
Soil salts affect turf mostly by withholding moisture from plant tissues. They may also compete for uptake of nutrient ions. Try these suggestions to manage a soil salinity situation.
Best Management Practices in regard to proper planting techniques and mulch use in the home landscape.