Even if you don’t live in tornado alley, strong winds are still something to be concerned about. Extreme winds can endanger your home and may pose a threat to your family’s safety as well. During high winds, wind speeds may fluctuate and change directions, placing pressure on all parts of your home’s structure. These wind pressures may cause building components to fail.
By maintaining a “sealed envelope” – keeping the outside air from getting into your home – you may be able to minimize loss and reduce the potential for injury.
In seriously dangerous conditions, a home can be literally lifted from its foundation. The roof can be blown off (or take off) like a large sail. But there are ways to help prevent that from happening, especially when building a new home.
Windy conditions put constant stress on your roof. The wind may lift the edges of roofing material, allowing water to penetrate. High winds can cause tearing in asphalt composition shingles. Extreme winds can even cause many roofing materials to blow off. Consider these factors when ensuring proper roof construction and maintenance:
- When possible, use roofing products with high wind resistance, and make sure your contractor is installing your roof with high winds in mind.
- If you select an asphalt product, keep in mind that the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer Association (ARMA) prefers the use of nails rather than staples for securing shingles.
- Use a hammer for installation instead of a nail gun. Nail guns don’t offer as much control or strength as the “old-fashioned” method of hammering nails by hand. In windy areas, many manufacturers and local building codes call for six nails per shingle instead of the usual four.
Fit windows and glass doors with impact-resistant laminated glass. Or cover them with impact-resistant shutters to help reduce the potential for damage or injury caused by flying debris and pressure changes during high winds.
Solid wood or hollow metal doors are more likely than other types of doors to resist wind pressure and flying debris.
There are several other ways to increase door strength:
- Make sure doors have at least three hinges and a dead-bolt security lock with a minimum bolt throw of at least one inch.
- Avoid double-entry doors. If they are used, install head and foot bolts on the inactive door.
- The surface bolt should extend through the door header and through the threshold into the subfloor.
Garage doors are especially vulnerable in high winds unless they are properly braced.
If you’re building a new home, consider installing horizontally braced, single-wide garage doors or single-wide garage doors that are constructed and rated for high winds and are impact-resistant instead of double-wide overhead doors. For existing homes, check with your garage door manufacturer for availability of retrofit bracing kits.