It is important to educate yourself on all matters, especially when it comes to one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime — your home. To protect your family and your belongings, fully understanding how the structural frame of your home can be affected by high-speed winds or a hurricane is just the beginning.
Here are four of the most common types of damage that can occur from high-speed wind situations.
During windstorms, both the speed and direction of winds can fluctuate, which can put pressure on all parts of your home. The roof is one of the most vulnerable parts of your house. As wind flows over the roof it creates a strong lifting effect, similar to air flowing over an airplane wing. If the connection between the roof and walls is not strong enough, the entire roof may detach from the rest of the structure. This is known as an uplift.
To help prevent this from happening, it is important to have your roof professionally inspected to ensure the roof sheathing is properly installed and that nails are correctly penetrating the rafters or trusses. Depending on your location, it may also be a good idea to install specially designed metal connectors.
When wind exerts horizontal pressure on the house, causing the structure to tilt or lean, this is referred to as racking.
Sliding occurs when horizontal pressure forces the house to slide off the foundation.
If the house is unable to rack or slide, the lateral forces from the wind may cause the house to completely rotate off its foundation.
While an uplift might be a more common occurrence during high-speed windstorms, it is important for you to have your entire home checked and inspected if you live in an area where storms are common. Speak with a representative about the residential building codes in your area to ensure you meet all the minimum building requirements.
To avoid or better protect your home against high-speed wind damage, consider speaking with your builder or remodeler about making adjustments to your home such as creating a continuous load path, which is a method of construction that ties your entire house together from top to bottom. By connecting and strengthening the structural frame of the house, along with the use of storm shutters and impact-resistant windows, your home will be better equipped to handle future high-speed windstorms.
Regardless of what you decide to do, make sure you involve yourself in the entire process from start to finish so that you and your family understand what's being done and how this will protect your home. Don't be afraid to ask questions and get recommendations.