Homes That Can Survive Hurricanes

Project: Storm-Ready Design, Episode 1, Part 2

Bob is in hurricane battered Punta Gorda, Florida, to build a storm-ready home in Season 1 of Bob Vila. Bob visits two homes in the same neighborhood, one that was completely destroyed by Hurricane Charley in August 2004, the other that was built to exceed hurricane codes and was left unscathed by hurricane winds and water from the same storm. Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes shows how enhanced building practices and technologies can create a storm-resistant home, while Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings and Secretary of Community Affairs Thaddeus Cohen discuss rebuilding Florida. Building inspector Randy Cole and Mercedes Homes’ Jesse Gonzalez review the site and watch the pour of a three-stage steam wall that sits below grade and ties the slab foundation to the ground. The resulting foundation will resist water penetration from storm surge by allowing water to move around the foundation without encountering entry points. Bob reviews the house plans with Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes and learns how the house is constructed as an integrated system. Building connections are emphasized and reinforced rebar and steel mesh are extended from the stem wall to the roof line in preparation for the solid concrete pour that will form the exterior walls.
Part 1: Discussing Hurricane Resistant Building and Stem Wall Construction
Part 2: Homes That Can Survive Hurricanes
Bob and Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH, the Federal Alliance for Safe Housing, look at two homes on the same street. One was built as the community's model home in 1961. In 2004, it was completely destroyed by Hurricane Charley. The other was completed in 2003 and benefited from improved building codes and enhanced building practices. The house stands unscathed because updated building codes require that building connections be strengthened and because the homeowners chose to go beyond code to protect their home. According to Chapman Henderson, their house remains virtually undamaged because they chose to protect their windows, doors, and back of the home from wind and pressure. Bob meets homeowners Teresa Fogolini and Jim Minardi whose home was completely destroyed by Hurricane Charley. Minardi describes riding out the storm in their demolished home as the roof blew off, furniture blew out, and windows blew in. Minardi stayed in a bathroom until the eye passed overhead, at which point he ventured out to see that the roof and windows were gone. He went to neighbors for shelter until the storm was over. Fogolini and Minardi were unable to salvage anything from their home and now live in a trailer as they prepare for construction of a new, storm-resistant house. Bob and homeowners Teresa Fogolini and Jim Minardi meet with Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes to review the layout for their new storm-ready home. Buescher shows the house plans and layout for the Jacqueline model that has four bedrooms, a two-car garage, a central kitchen with a family room and breakfast nook, a combination dining and living area, and a master suite. The house will have many hurricane-resistant features, including the solid wall system made of concrete reinforced with steel bar and steel mesh. The roof system will also be designed to resist hurricane-strength winds. It will be built with engineered trusses that are tied down with hurricane straps wet set into the concrete walls. The trusses will be covered with 5/8-inch plywood decking to complete a very strong structure.
Part 3: Pouring Reinforced, Solid-Pour Concrete Walls