Home Maintenance Series – Should You Tornado-Proof Your House?

In the last 18 months, this area of East Tennessee has seen it’s share of severe weather. I came across this information and while it is expensive and there are no warrenties implied, it is good information to have.

Article From HouseLogic.com

By: John Riha
Published: April 10, 2012

Here are six ways to tornado-proof your home. Warning: These aren’t cheap — nor foolproof — methods.

Ever been awakened by a tornado siren in the middle of the night? It’s plenty scary – tornadoes move fast and can tear apart your house in seconds.

To keep you and your family safe, the best defense is a tornado storm shelter – a rugged safe room or pod you can scurry into if there’s a big storm.

But there are other measures you can take to strengthen your house and prevent costly damage. These aren’t simple fixes – most involve major retrofit projects – but they might make sense if you’re planning a substantial remodel, such as replacing your roof, windows, and doors.

They’ll add to the cost of your project, but if you live in a tornado-prone area, you can probably justify the extra 20% or so premium expense for these beefier methods and materials.

Here are 6 tornado-proofing ideas suggested by our friends at Safer, Stronger Homes (http://www.saferstrongerhomes.com/index.html).

1. Extra fasteners for roof sheathing

The risk: Winds tear off roof sheathing, exposing the interior of the house to damaging rain and debris.

Fix: Use ring-shank nails or screws to fasten plywood sheathing to roof rafters. Use tighter nail spacing than required by code (typically 6 inches apart). Careful nailing is a must, especially at the edges of sheathing panels.

Cost above conventional practice: $450 (average)

2. Seal roof sheathing seams

The risk: Winds lift off underlayment (the protective layer directly below shingles), exposing joints in the roof sheathing.

Fix: Seal sheathing joints with bituminous peel-and-stick flashing tape. Cover sheathing with self-adhering membrane roofing underlayment (as opposed to traditional roofing felt).

Cost above conventional practice: $800-$1,200 (average)

3. Install wind-resistant roofing

The risk: Winds destroy roofing (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/roofing-gutters-siding/roofing-guide-options/), your house’s primary defense against water damage.

Fix: Install a roofing type that exceeds wind ratings for your region:

•standing seam metal roofing

•heavy clay or concrete tiles

•asphalt/composition shingles rate either Class G (120 mph winds) or Class H (150 mph winds)

Cost above conventional practice: $1,000-$3,000 (average)

4. Use wind-resistant siding

The risk: Even minor damage to siding (http://www.houselogic.com/maintenance-repair/preventative-home-maintenance/roofing-gutters-siding/) can let moisture inside walls, where it can lead to mold and rot.

Fix: Use wind-resistant siding products that are nailed directly into wall studs, not simply into the wall sheathing:

•vinyl siding should be rated to withstand 150 mph winds and feature a double nailing hem

•fiber-cement siding is extremely heavy and wind-proof

Cost above conventional practice: $1,000 (upgrade vinyl) to $15,000 (all-new fiber-cement siding)

5. Add impact-resistant windows and doors

The risk: Windows and doors (http://www.houselogic.com/maintenance-repair/preventative-home-maintenance/windows-doors/) break or blow open, letting in rain and destructive winds that can lift off roofs.

Fix: Install impact-resistant windows and doors rated for winds at least 30% stronger than demanded by local building codes. Install out-swinging windows (casements) and exterior doors (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/windows-doors/exterior-door-installation-options/) so that wind pressure tends to compress seals. Avoid double-swinging windows, doors, and sliders unless they are rated for high wind resistance.

Cost above conventional practice: 2-3 times more expensive per unit than comparable conventional windows and doors

6. Install wind- and rain-resistant roof vents

The risk: Roof vents are designed to exhaust hot, humid air from attic spaces, but they are weak points during storms with high winds, letting rain water inside your house.

Fix: Replace vents with wind- and rain-resistant models.

Cost above conventional practice: $1,000 replacement cost (average)

Have you ever been close to a tornado? Did you modify your home as a precaution?

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Copyright 2012.  All rights reserved.

About gvenice

I have over 25 years of electrical engineering and business management experience. I previously owned and managed a multi million dollar engineering firm. My work took me all over the globe, managing the construction of manufacturing plants where I built a reputation of providing superior service, getting projects done on time and within or under budget. My dedication to the fine details and logical approach to accomplishing tasks provide a huge benefit to my Real Estate clients. After selling my business and retiring to this area, I found a new passion in the Real Estate business and I bring to this business the same level of professional skill and conduct that has made mr successful in the past. My global exposure and extensive travel are also an asset when dealing with a customer base that is located worldwide. An avid boater, I have a thourough understanding of the waterways of East Tennessee and the intricacies involved in dealing with the TVA and the Army Corps of Engineers.
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