Myrtle Beach, SC (WMBF) The key to surviving the storm is planning ahead, and for many coastal residents, it all starts with the home. There are new storm resistant products on the market and new engineering techniques that are making homes stronger than ever.
Products like concrete filled foam blocks called insulated concrete form (ICF) and impact resistant windows are two popular upgrades people are choosing. ICF walls give you nearly 6in. of concrete between you and the storm. Other storm resistant upgrades are hurricane tie downs. They link your roof to the frame of your house and the frame to the foundation. Contractors that specialize in storm resistant homes say the stronger the bond between your roof, walls—and all the way down to the foundation, the more likely you are to weather the storm successfully.
Of course all of these upgrades come at a cost, but because more and more manufacturers are starting to carry a line of storm resistant products, the cost is starting to go down. Many people are opting to spend the extra money in exchange for peace of mind and lower insurance rates. Bruce Carrell, a Myrtle Beach home builder, says about 80% of his clients opt to spend 5 to 10% more on the cost of building their new hurricane ready home.
When Carrell’s clients come to him to build their home, they are expecting the finished product to be a Fortified Rated home. This rating is what gives them the insurance break.
“When we’re building a fortified home, we go through additional steps with engineering. There are a number of additional inspections. But at the end of the project, we can hand the owner a certificate that says your home meets certain criteria and standards, and therefore is a fortified home this helps them get the reduced insurance costs.” Said Carrell.
You can only achieve a Fortified Rating on new construction. If you aren’t planning on building anytime soon, but you still want to make a few storm resistant upgrades, Carrell says to hire a contractor to take a look at how your roof is tied to the frame of your house. You can also replace your existing windows with impact rated windows.
All of these upgrades will cost you, so is it worth it and do they work? The Institute for Business and Home Safety put a fortified home to the test…a real test! IBHS built a wind tunnel capable of producing category 3 hurricane force winds. In the eye of this man-made storm they built 2 two-story houses. One was built to code using traditional framing and techniques, while the other house was a Fortified home. The results were astounding
Dr. Anne Cope, IBHS Director of Research said “The front door on both the homes was opened, so as the winds came in to both the structures and filled it up like a balloon, it only took about five or six seconds when the winds reached a gust of about 95 miles per hour for the conventional home to be completely destroyed.”
Not only was the house destroyed it completely fell to pieces and blew out the back door of the testing facility.
The IBHS provides lots of great information on how to build a home that can withstand all types of natural disasters.