Storm-Ready Vinyl Roof Soffits

Leslie Chapman-Henderson from the Federal Alliance for Safe Housing (FLASH) discusses storm-resistant soffit details with Bob. Todd Davison from FEMA is with Bob to talk about Hurricane Ivan and the power of storm surge.

Clip Summary

Bob looks at storm-ready features on the Punta Gorda house, starting with the front door that is out swinging with a stop to prevent blow-in. He also points out the impact-resistant glass that is being used throughout the house. Leslie Chapman-Henderson talks with Bob about soffit details that are being incorporated in the storm-ready house. The problem with poor soffits is that during a storm wind-driven rain and wind force their way up under the roof, into the attic where wind force attacks the structure and rain soaks the insulation and walls. In humid climates, wet insulation and wallboard begin to grow mold within hours. Closing the soffit to penetration is not currently a code requirement but is critical to smart building in storm zones. Joe Breese from Alcoa shows Bob the vinyl soffit that is being used in the Punta Gorda house. The locking panel system means that wind will force the panels to grip tighter to one another rather than pull apart. The panels are connected to a j-channel that is attached to the wall. They are installed with 5/8-inch stub nails spaced every 16 inches. The soffit panels are cut to fit and stapled in place. There are no ventilation grilles evident on these vinyl panels. All air moves through the grooves in the panels to ventilate the roof and attic space. Still, these panels have about 80 percent more ventilation capacity than standard vinyl soffit panels. Todd Davison from FEMA is with Bob to talk about Hurricane Ivan and the power of storm surge. Ivan, unlike Hurricane Charley, had a very wide path and was slow moving. As a result, the storm surge was tremendous and the damage widespread. In the Florida Panhandle, 15, 000 homes were destroyed and another 25, 000 were rendered uninhabitable. Storm surge built with this hurricane because of its slow, forward-moving track that pushed Gulf water ahead of it. This surge lifted bridges off their supports and homes off their foundations. Davison points out that there are building guidelines to prevent such damage. FEMA is actively involved in promoting guidelines for how to rebuild to fend off future damage. Protecting against storm surge is a huge focus for building practices because it forces water under slabs and presents a vertical risk of uplift to the home. Model codes now require that new homes be raised above the projected flood height. The Punta Gorda storm-ready house is nine and one-half feet above the water, a move that will save the homeowners more than half of the non-code premium for flood insurance. For homes built before the code, they are grandfathered and eligible for insurance but at a much higher rate.