Storm-Tough Building Products
Installing storm-tough components while remodeling is safety-smart and dollar-smart. Read on to learn more about exterior severe weather ready products.
Benefits of Storm-Tough Products:
Installing storm-tough components while remodeling isn’t only safety-smart, it’s dollar-smart too. Why?
- Many storm-tough products are also energy efficient products, helping reduce utility bills in the long run.
- Although the materials may be more expensive, the labor to install them is often no more than to install standard products.
- Most products, because they’re built to stand up to the elements, have a longer projected lifespan.
- Many insurance companies offer ot discounts to policy holders installing storm-tough materials.
Consider upgrading these components during a renovation:
Singles and Roofing
Even the best roofing materials can’t stand up to severe weather when improperly installed. So buy the right materials and hire a contractor who knows how to install them correctly.
Most wind-resistant asphalt shingles are a thicker, multi-layered variety called dimensional or laminated shingles. They’re heavier and less prone to uplift; many are able to withstand winds up to 130 mph or greater. Most major shingle manufacturers offer them. Another type of asphalt shingles—interlocking—are wind resistant because the vulnerable lower edge is designed to interlock with adjacent shingles.
Metal roofing also stands up well in high winds because the edges interlock and there are fewer seams. Many types are capable of withstanding winds up to 150 mph.
Tile and slate roofs also offer good wind resistance, but the materials and labor to install them are extremely expensive, in some cases requiring reinforcing of the structural elements of the roof itself.
Most roofing materials are installed by “the square”—an area constituting 100 square feet. Asphalt shingles usually carry a weight designation. Generally, the heavier the shingle, the better the wind-resistance. Most also carry longer warranties, some up to 50 years. Buying heavy-duty shingles is a wise investment.
For tips about roof repair click here.
Gutters and Siding
Gutters play a critical role in ushering water away from your home in order to minimize the possibilities of flooded basements and water pressure building against basement walls. “Closed” and “clog-free” gutter systems ensure your gutters always stand at the ready to do their job. Many systems must be professionally installed, but are made of thicker materials and carry longer warranties.
Siding is another critical element in protecting the building envelope. Traditional vinyl and aluminum siding are much more vulnerable to damage because they’re loosely nailed to allow for expansion and contraction. Some newer products, such as cement-based sidings, are capable of withstanding stronger winds.
Impact-resistant siding costs more than standard siding, but carries a longer warranty. The installation cost for some siding is higher due to the more complex interlocking system used.
Windows that are compromised during severe weather spell double trouble. Broken glass can inflict severe injuries and once a house is “opened,” wind pressurizes the interior and creates additional damage as it smashes through doors, windows and other vulnerable areas.
Most storm-tough windows are double-pane and consist of laminated glass for the outside pane (two panes are bonded together by a layer of polyvinyl butyl similar to a car windshield) and tempered glass for the inside pane. As a bonus, most storm-tough windows are more energy efficient and block more exterior noise than standard windows.
Expect to spend at least 30% more for storm-tough windows than standard dual- pane windows. Although installation takes slightly longer (often extra steps are required to secure the window itself within the opening), added labor costs should be minimal.
Doors and Garage Doors
A sturdy garage door is critical, because once a door has been compromised wind can wreak severe damage, just as it does when windows fail. Often garage doors are the first house component to give way.
Impact-resistant garage doors are constructed using more substantial, reinforced vertical stiles and horizontal rails. The added door weight dictates stronger springs and heavier duty openers be used. Tracks, rollers and hinges also need to be upgraded to withstand severe weather.
Add-on reinforcement posts that bolt to the door, floor and top of garage-door opening are also available. Learn more about strengthening your garage door here.
Storm-rated doors can be made of fiberglass, steel or other metal and may cost up to twice as much as standard doors. A heavier duty automatic opener is usually required.
Buy it Smart
Dade County Florida, located deep in the heart of hurricane country, has some of the strictest building codes in North America. Before you buy a product, consult their Website, to see if the product is approved for Dade County. If it is, it may have passed rigorous testing. Always consult your local authorities and codes for additional information.
Information for this post was made in collaboration with Lowes for a severe weather guide.