In recent years, the number of homes that actually have put together a basic “survival kit” of some sort – with water, food, candles, extra batteries, etc. – has soared. So have the sales of residential backup generators, all in the interest of one’s being self-sufficient for a limited period of time after a natural disaster strikes and isolates its victims.
But these measures pale next to the new and emerging drive now underway to seriously prepare one’s home – well in advance – for all sorts of “heavy weather” that is sure to come.
The Need for Storm-Resistant Products
Residential storm damage begins with strong winds that attack the integrity of roofing, windows and both entry and garage doors. As winds increase, and driving rain is added to the equation, building products begin to fail and pervasive water begins to make its way in.
Still stronger winds, say as in a category three, four or five hurricane with winds ranging from 111 to 155-plus mph rip away exterior products. Adding flying debris to the equation and homes are left seriously exposed, damaged and vulnerable to major devastation and its occupants at risk.
But just like in the movies, when things are looking most foreboding, the cavalry always charges in “to save the day” – and America’s building products manufacturers are now responding with an ever-increasing array of ways and means for homeowners to defend themselves (and their homes) against the wrath of natural disasters.
Leading the Charge
All types of residential “heavy-weather” storm products are seeing a dramatic increase in both acceptance and usage. These range from a variety of inventive window covering products to complete interior “fortified storm safe rooms” lined with the very same material used in bullet-proof vests.
New storm-oriented products also include specially-designed nails and fasteners with “hurricane-strength” holding power; stronger and more impact-resistant wood sheathing and tougher exterior siding products; and a number of do-it-yourself, easy-to-install kits that strengthen existing garage doors against being blown-in by severe winds.
Yet, of the many protective measures now being offered to homeowners, those that covered and protected window openings were an early and instinctive choice and were initially most popular – and to this day, many inventive “cover-up” systems are still being engineered and introduced almost daily.
These range from “quick-install” protective covers (either heavy solid sheets or clear “see-through” tough hybrid plastics) to “shutters” of all types – up to and including motorized roll-up metal units, with rain and/or high wind sensors, that go (or roll) into action to protect windows, whether or not the owner is home. However, all of these window “covering” products are simply alternatives to the purchase and installation of numerous sheets of plywood, which is often in short supply in last-minute or short-notice situations. Rather today, homeowners and building product manufacturers alike are thinking way beyond simply “boarding-up” when heavy weather threatens. They are now investing in real “built-in” everyday protection – that not only offers peace of mind for one’s home and family, but in many cases also offers insurance benefits and energy-efficiency too.
Strengthening the Exterior Envelope
Today, a number of truly “storm-resistant” products are being offered to fend off intrusive heavy weather. They start with much tougher roofing products, which stay in place during severe winds. A strong, durable roof is a home’s first line of defense during a major storm or hurricane. The majority of storm related damage is not caused by actual structural failure, but rather by water being driven in – which, in turn, can and often does lead to serious mold problems.
Next is the drive to toughen-up –– rather than cover up — the number one weak-spot in every home: fragile windows. A variety of impact-resistant glass configurations are now available with combinations of various protective materials and technologies, such as one pane of tempered glass and one pane of impact-resistant laminated glass. A durable inner layer, sandwiched between pieces of the laminated glass, prevents the glass from being shattered by flying debris — much like car windshields. The glass may fracture but it will not break out of its frame.
In addition to “impact-resistant” double-strength tempered and laminated glass, tougher and better engineered window frames and sashes are being offered –with strong seals to keep nasty weather out – and upgrade hardware that, when all put together, makes once highly-vulnerable conventional windows now a good defense against whatever Mother Nature decides to throw your way.
Entry and patio doors have also been vastly upgraded and engineered to better fend off severe weather. Added protection and new storm-resistant features now include composite materials such as fiberglass that adds strength, impact-resistance and eliminates wood rot; numerous design and engineering improvements that create a better and stronger seal between the door and frame to reduce all air, wind and water penetration; stronger “sweep” designs to better seal the bottom of the door; tougher upgraded hardware and more of it; and durable impact-resistant glass (as noted earlier for windows).
These new “heavy weather resistant” windows and doors can stand-up to the fiercest storms and will protect a home and its contents from damage and those inside from possible injury. In fact, some of these new storm-resistant products have even caught the attention of the National Association of Mold Inspectors and are NAMI-certified, tested and approved as “mold fighters” – an important seal of approval.
Closing the Door (and Windows) on Nasty Weather
Whether it’s in response to global warming or simply better TV news coverage, America’s homeowners are truly on a personal “storm watch.” Today, rather than being resigned to repeated “boarding-up and cleaning up,” homeowners are instead actively “gearing-up” with an exciting array of specially designed “always in place” heavy weather products, engineered with built-in durability and true storm resistance for greater peace of mind. And every day, America’s homeowners are becoming better prepared, more self-sufficient and better protected.
Are you and your home ready to weather the next big storm?