Reviewing the Work Involved in Building a Hurricane-Resistant Home

Project: Storm-Ready Design, Episode 3, Part 1

This episode of Bob Vila will focus on roofs, how they are built and tied down to keep structures safe. Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH, the Federal Alliance for Safe Housing, explains how FLASH brings information about safe housing technologies and practices to homes across America, to protect them against floods, winds, hail, and wildfires. Chapman-Henderson explains how a connected house works as a system to beat back the pushing and pulling forces of wind. Randy Shackelford of Simpson Strong-Tie shows Bob the embedded truss anchors that will tie down each truss member of the roof framing, as well as retrofit tie-downs and heavy connectors designed to fight wind uplift forces. Jesse Gonzalez walks Bob through the steel-framed interior that has a master suite and bath, and lots of open space. Bart Cox of Hanson Roof Tiles brings factory-extruded cement clay-look tiles that are pre-drilled for mechanical installation. Dave Peck of D. Peck Roofing explains that stiffer 5/8-inch plywood sheathing, 30 pound felt that is nailed, hot mopped with asphalt, and covered with 90 pound felt makes a strong, water-resistant roof deck for the tiles. Metal nailer boards keep cap tiles in place when wind strikes.
Part 1: Reviewing the Work Involved in Building a Hurricane-Resistant Home
Bob recaps the project in Punta Gorda, Florida, where a home built in the 1960s was completely destroyed by the winds and water of Hurricane Charley. Bob reviews the stem wall and slab construction that is designed to combat storm surge and intrusive water that gets under slabs and lifts structures. He also talks about the concrete walls that were reinforced with steel rebar and wire mesh before the concrete pour. With window bucks in place to maintain window and door openings, the solid walls were poured all at once, a job that only took four hours to complete. Finally, Bob looks back at the storm that completely demolished Teresa Fogelini and Jim Minardi's home. He points to the work of FLASH, the Federal Alliance for Safe Housing, and the work they do to promote building technologies that will help homes withstand the wind and water of future storms. Bob is joined by Leslie Chapman-Henderson of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) at the storm-ready house in Punta Gorda, Florida. Chapman-Henderson explains that FLASH was born after Hurricane Andrew to bring information about safer building technologies to homeowners in hurricane zones. Since that time, FLASH has expanded its work throughout the country, helping to educate homeowners on protecting their homes from natural forces like wind, water, hail, wildfires, and earthquakes. She tells Bob that homeowners spend 250 billion dollars each year on home improvements. Chapman-Henderson urges homeowners to think about safety and enhanced protection when making home improvements. Roofs are a key threshold of protection in a storm-ready house, she says. Reinforced concrete walls are a great start, but it is essential to keep the roof tied down. Chapman-Henderson explains how wind works dynamically, pulling and pushing on a house to peel off the roof. The only way to keep a house together is to maintain the connections between the roof and the walls, the floors and the walls, and the walls with the foundation. When a house works as a unit, it stays together. Bob and Chapman-Henderson look at the engineered truss system that supports the roof and ties it into the walls to distribute the wind load that will hit it during a hurricane. Randy Shackelford of Simpson Strong-Tie joins Bob on site at the storm-ready house in Punta Gorda, Florida. Shackelford looks at an assortment of ties for new and retrofit applications with masonry, trusses, girders, and joists. He starts with the embedded truss anchors that were wet set four inches deep in the poured concrete walls, as the trusses are positioned, a truss anchor wraps around and is nailed to each truss, tying it directly into the reinforced walls of the house. When Bob questions retrofit applications, Shackelford shows him a specially developed truss anchor that is screwed into existing masonry before being wrapped around and nailed to the trusses. He also shows Bob basic truss anchors that are designed to combat up to 1,500 pounds of wind uplift and heavy girder connectors that can carry as much as 5,000 pounds in wind loads.
Part 2: Inspecting the Steel Reinforcements Before the Concrete Pour
Part 3: Hurricane-Resistant Roof Tiles