A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, as the old adage says. When it comes to your home, securing any weak links between your roof structure, walls and foundation could determine whether it will withstand powerful gusts of wind – a must for Florida homes – or fold like the proverbial home blown down by the big bad wolf.
How Wind Affects Your Home
There are four ways highspeed wind can damage a house:
1. Uplift occurs when the wind flows over the home’s roof, creating a lifting effect. It can separate the home from the foundation, the second story from the first story, and even the roof from the home.
2. Racking happens when horizontal pressure from the wind causes your home to tilt.
3. Sliding causes your home to slide off its foundation due to horizontal wind pressure.
4. Overturning is when your home is unable to rack or slide, so the wind causes the walls to rotate off the foundation.
Protect Your Home From Wind Damage
- Start at the Top: The connection between your roof structure and the walls is one of the most important connections in your house. It’s also the first link in the continuous load path that is critical to achieving the strongest, safest house possible for high wind conditions, including hurricanes and tornadoes. Creating a continuous load path means tying the roof to the walls and the walls to foundation. Without these connections, your house is vulnerable to wind forces.
- Don’t Forget the Windows and Doors: Openings play a very vital role in the protection of your home. Broken doors or windows are opportunities for high winds to enter and put pressure on your walls and roof, ultimately causing damage. Permanent storm shutters or temporary plywood covers are good ways to keep your home safe from damage and protect you from injury caused by flying debris. You should also cover any glass doors like sliding doors, French doors, and skylights. Solid wood and hollow metal doors are most likely to resist wind pressure and flying debris.
- Garages Doors Need Attention, Too: Garage doors are just as vulnerable as the roof. Unless you have hurricane-resistant doors, it’s best to add braces to the door or install hurricane panels.
While most people think of wind-proofing their home as hurricane season preparation initiative, it’s important to note that gale force winds can occur at any time during Florida’s tornado seasons as well as during our daily summer rain storms. Bracing your home to withstand high winds can help save your family and your home.
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