Are you protecting your home ??????
As we enter into the cooler weather and with it the end of the hurricane season, we can be thankful for a quiet year during 2009. Not once this year did we have to stop work at our job sites and prepare the half-built structures for a possible “big wind”. Not only is this good news for our tourist trade and local economy, but it allows the CAT Fund, underwritten by Florida taxpayers, to carry over to next year without paying out for a natural disaster. Yet more importantly, it is good news for all of those homeowners that live in our county and don’t have adequate protection within their homes to defend against hurricane force winds.
If you have ever seen first hand the absolute devastation following a major storm such as Andrew, Charley or Katrina, you would immediately take steps to inquire howyou could prevent that damage from happening to your home.
In a hurricane, the pressures on a house are enormous. If a window or door breaches, it is the differential in pressure that causes a sudden rush of air into the house that then blows out garage doors, windows and French doors, lifts drywall from ceilings and causes roofs to fail with catastrophic consequence.
All of the waterfront homes that we have built since 2001, when the new impact code for new construction was passed, include the most stringent forms of protections against wind, weather and surge. Masonry and exterior frame walls have all been beefed up to withstand impact and uplift pressures; new construction homes are required to be built above the relevant flood plain, thereby combating flood waters and surges; but by far, the best form of protection for a house is to install either impact windows or shutters.
Impact windows are designed with toughened glass to protect against hurricane force winds and flying debris. In addition, they provide security against intruders, dramatically reduce outdoor noise and can filter out over 90% of UV light. The negative side to impact windows is the cost of the window itself and the cost of installation.
A versatile alternative is to install shutters on your home’s openings. Depending upon your budget, the design of your house and the ease of installation, there are many types of shutters to choose from including Lexan panels, rolling shutters, accordion shutters, Armor Screen and Bahama or Colonial shutters.
The evidence is clear. When news cameras flew over the devastation of Hurricane Charley, it was shockingly apparent which houses had been built to the new FEMA codes and which houses had no defense against the destructive 145mph winds.
Having just survived another hurricane season, now is the time to assess what you can do to ensure that your home survives many more.
Murray Homes is a Certified Building Contractor #CBC1250846