Just this fall, American cities felt the wrath of major hurricanes, such as Irma and Jose. High winds and rain mangled and toppled non-weather resistant buildings from here to Puerto Rico. As these areas rebuild, there is a renewed focus on building structures that have the ability to withstand adverse weather conditions.
Weather Resistant Construction is in High Demand
As devastating acts of nature become the norm, contractors are working overtime to build strong, smarter structures. Whether the danger is wind, water or flood, there are many new ideas, materials and technologies available that are more weather resistant.
How to Protect against Water Damage
From coastal surges to severe rain, flooding wreaks havoc on infrastructure across the country.
The elevation of a house is an important factor in whether or not a flood may occur. The higher a home’s occupied space, the less likely it is to flood.
For example, in Long Beach, New York, some homes rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy feature an open foundation on pilings. This is an effective way to protect a home, because surging water simply passes below the occupied space. In other types of flood zones, an open foundation isn’t necessary. Instead, flood vents, which let water in and out, are used to protect buildings.
Today, contractors are building with weather-tolerant materials, like wet flood-proofing and treated wood, which are more easily drained, dried and repaired.
Wind Resistant Construction
If high winds are an issue, there are several basic structural upgrades you can make to improve a building’s performance.
- A continuous load path to resist wind uplift
- Strong lateral bracing to resist the sideways pressure of wind
- Hardened or protected windows and doors to resist penetration by windborne debris
- Improved water-tight and water-shedding details to resist rain penetration
- Advanced weather-proof tapes or fluid-applied sealant to enhance rain resistance
These materials have fallen in price and could be an important difference-maker in a powerful storm.
How to Limit the Effect of Fires
In some part of the country, like California, wildfires are a serious threat. Although these acts of nature cannot be stopped by contractors work alone, builders now often design and construct structures that are more resistant to fire damage.
The state of California has a database of materials that have been tested for fire-resistant properties like ignition resistance. For example, fire-rated roofing and windows that don’t shatter in heat are frequently used to protect homes. These types of materials can protect a property in the event of a minor fire.
Since damaging storms are on the rise, weather resistant construction is likely to be a major growth area in the construction industry.