One factor homeowners must consider when choosing between two or more custom built homes is the material builders use during construction. This is especially true in states like Florida where the classic “man vs. nature” struggle persists. We have learned enough to respect nature’s unpredictability and find ways around its ugly moods to protect ourselves. Nothing is indestructible. So, what does that mean for Florida residents? Battling a hurricane is not a matter of if, but rather a matter of when.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Florida has one of the strongest building codes in the country. Passed statewide in 2002 after Miami-Dade County beefed up regulations in the wake of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the new rules required newly built homes to have stronger fasteners that prevent their roofs from blowing off, nails instead of staples and impact-resistant windows in certain areas, which manufacturers sometimes check by firing pieces of plywood out of cannons at them.”
What does this mean for you? The good news is that these building codes help to ensure that your new home better withstands hurricane-force winds. When you build a new home today, you can sleep well knowing that you have purchased a pretty sturdy structure because builders must adhere to these building codes. The minimum requirements, however, can be improved. Fortunately, builders now offer many more hurricane-resistant construction options for custom built homes.
Construction Options for Custom Built Homes
It is vitally important to guard windows from high winds and debris. Hurricane-force winds can do more than break your favorite vase. Once the wind enters your home through a broken window, for example, the pressure can lift the roof completely off its structure. Thankfully, we have options.
According to the University of Florida, the “Florida Building Code (FBC) requires windows to be impact-resistant or protected if located within one mile of the coast where the wind speed is 110 mph or greater.” For those living outside this one-mile radius, impact-resistant windows are still a great idea for residents of the Sunshine State. Impact-resistant windows often cost more than standard windows, however, and may not fall within your budget. As such, storm shutters are a great alternative.
Storm shutters provide an added layer of protection and can eliminate the need for impact-resistant glass altogether. These are available in several designs: panel, accordion, roll-up/down, and bahama, to name a few. The design you choose will depend on cost and convenience. Some are left in place all year and available at a moment’s notice while others require installation prior to a storm.
Purchasing an impact-resistant or hurricane-proof garage door is another smart construction option for custom built homes. As the largest opening in your home, the garage door must be wind rated. Should the garage door give in, the wind forced into your home can cause a major shift in pressure and, like that broken window, cause the roof to lift off or cave in. You do not want to cut costs here.
Another option to consider is to incorporate a safe room into your custom built home. This interior room should be centrally located away from any windows or doors and anchored to the foundation. It should be reinforced to protect occupants from wind and debris. To provide more functionality, this safe room may also double as a walk-in closet or similar purpose.
Choosing the Right Custom Home Builder
Hurricane preparation starts with choosing the right contractor for your custom built home. If you live here in Florida, you need the trust and assurance that comes with a contractor experienced in building hurricane-resistant homes. At Passage Island Construction, we have built hurricane-resistant homes for more than two decades. To learn more about hurricane-resistant construction options for custom built homes, contact us today.