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Published On: Tue, May 23rd, 2017

Homes vs Hurricanes

Hurricanes and tornados are one of America’s biggest problems. Not only do they put you and your family at risk, they also damage your home, wearing it down and hurting your budget. This buyers guide to installing mobile homes will introduce you to new technologies and solutions which can render your mobile home more durable and resistant to natural disasters.

Strong winds do damage to homes in two ways. The first is by simply picking up objects and propelling them into your house. So, your first step is to rid your outdoors of all objects that could be turned into dangerous projectiles. Everything that isn’t nailed down should be put away or inside. Fixed objects such as sunshades, fences, antennas, light poles and such should be tightly secured (or even dismantled if possible) in order to prevent winds from engulfing and pulling them out of their bases.

Hurricane Arthur heading to North Carolina photo/NOAA satellite image

Unfortunately, no matter how meticulously you secure your outdoors, your house will still be hit with flying debris that were picked up elsewhere. To avoid further damage, you should install impact-proof windows. These come in several versions, with basic ones being made out of multiple polyvinyl butyral sandwiched between two sheets of glass that can withstand minor impacts. There is also the PET laminated glass, which has a polymer shielding that makes it resistant to F5 winds and medium-sized objects. On top of that, it prevents the glass from shattering and flying across the room at dangerous speeds.

However, as many unfortunate people found out the hard way, all these solutions become worthless if winds find a way into your home. Once this happens, your house acts like a huge wind-tunnel, funneling powerful currents through every possible crack, jeopardizing its own structural integrity and ripping itself apart.

New Orleans, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina photo/US Coast Guard

Usually, the first ones to go are the rooftops, which get lifted and torn away into pieces, forming a cluster of high-speed rock-hard projectiles. In order to prevent this, special hurricane-proof roofs should be installed. These are designed and attached to the house in such a way that even if winds find their way inside, their force will be equally distributed across the whole building. There are also versions with hurricane-proof tiles, which are built and arranged in such a way to prevent being picked up and torn apart.

Another potential weak spot are the windows. A reinforced glass is worthless if the frame holding it is ripped out. This also applies to your doors. Fortunately, most of hurricane-proof windows and doors come with their own reinforced frames that, if properly installed, can withstand even Category 5 hurricanes and tornados.

Last but not least on our list are the garage doors. Often overlooked by owners, they are actually one of the biggest threats. Because of their shape, size and mass, they are easily picked up by winds and smashed into houses. This can be solved by replacing them with wind-resistant doors, which are made with a steel or fiberglass veneer, and are designed to withstand the force of objects hurled against them. They also feature an extra-strong steel track system and twist-resistant framework. Another way to reinforce your garage doors is to add a bracing kit, which will fix them into the floor and walls and prevent them from folding, twisting and lifting up.

Making your mobile home hurricane and tornado-proof isn’t cheap, nor an easy thing to do. With so much work and so many fixes that need to be applied, the cost of hurricane-proofing an average family house can easily surpass $3,000. But keep in mind that not only will you minimize your damages, you will also protect yourself and your family from an array of potential dangers.

Author: Simon Simonovic

Hurricane Isaac NASA photo

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