Protecting Your Home From Hurricanes

The 2016 Hurricane Season has not yet begun, but the recent storms and tornados we’ve been having are giving people a lot to think about. You need a meaningful strategy for protecting your home from high winds, water intrusion, floods, the scorching sun, insects, snakes, and intruders, regardless of what the weather decides to do. For now, let’s focus on protecting your property from hurricane damage. As a Naples, Florida architect who has lived in Southwest Florida for over 35 years, I can help during the design process of remodeling, adding to, or building a new home or business.

Benefits of protecting your investment such as your dream home include:

  • saving your property from major damage
  • peace of mind
  • saving lives
  • and most likely, reducing insurance premiums.

 

When it comes to building an addition or building a new home, the building code requires hurricane protection. In other words, protecting your new addition or home is the law! As you Naples architect, I consider hurricane protection as an important part of the design process.

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A home is likely to suffer the most hurricane damage when openings such as doors and windows are breached. Doors typically include the front entry doors/sidelights/transoms, overhead garage doors, garage service doors, Lanai sliding glass doors, and French doors. Windows include fixed glass, glass block panels, transoms, operating such as single hung, double hung, casement, awning, and horizontal rolling/sliding. If these opening are damaged by high wind pressure or by airborne projectiles, the integrity of the roof system will be compromised. In plain English, your roof will blow off.

So how do you protect your existing, remodeled, extended, or new dream home? First, let’s get the openings secured. Even if you don’t wish to remodel or extend your home, protection is still a recommended option. You can however choose not to do anything or cross your fingers and hope a hurricane never come our way. This is definitely not a good plan. In fact as stated earlier, this isn’t even an option for additions or new homes.

 

How to Protect Your Home

There are several options in protecting your home. Probably, the least expensive form of protection over windows is the installation of plywood panels. They need to be cut to fit the openings, and holes drilled. Then it will be necessary to attach wing nuts to the installed bolts. Don’t forget the ladder to reach the top of the panels. You can buy metal clips which fit between the plywood and the opening perimeter. Remember, these panels are heavy to handle. They might stay wet for a while. They also require the most amount of space to store of the options we’re addressing. I, your Naples architect think we can do much better.

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A better option for protection would be the installation of corrugated aluminum panels. Usually, these lightweight approximately 16 inch wide panels are custom cut by a fabricator to fit the height of the openings. They slide into an aluminum top track and rest on a bottom sill in place with bolts installed. Then simply fasten the wing nuts to the bolts and you are good to go. These are also easier to store than plywood panels. Because one must reach the outside of the openings, the corrugated panels are best suited for one-story applications.

Acrylic panels which allow light to enter indoors are also available. Horizontal accordion shutters which stay installed can be used by closing and opening as weather conditions dictate. Screens, fabric and even window films can be acquired to help reduce the risk of hurricane damage.

A popular option for hurricane protection is the roll-up shutter system. A coil of narrow horizontal panels are stored in a box type housing at the top of the opening. The panels slide down on vertical tracks on each side. They may be manually (by crank), electrically operated (by pushing a button) , or electrically operated with a manual override in the event of a power failure. I like this last one! It is strongly recommended that the customer contacts an architect if roll-up shutters are to be installed regardless if this is for an existing building, an addition, or a new project. All too often such installation can seriously foul-up the esthetics of the building design. As your architect from Naples, I can figure out how to make this installation compatible with the overall design. You are paying a handsome fee for these shutters, so why not make this installment right.

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Probably the best method of protecting your dream home from master of disaster hurricanes is the installation of impact resistant glass for doors and windows. These can and probably should replace existing entry doors, sliding glass doors, French doors, and windows of most types. This option requires no additional installation when the Behemoth of Bash threatens. You don’t have to worry about parking panels after use. This is also an attractive form of protection for multi-story projects. Most likely your Naples Architect will recommend the use of impact resistant glass.

There is no substitute for peace of mind by installing the proper form of wind protection. Even developers should include protection for their projects. As stated earlier it is the law for new projects and additions. As your architect, I will see to it that your home and/or business is properly protected from the Sultan of Swat hurricanes.

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