A publication of The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes - FLASH, Inc.TIPSBuilding a Safer, Stronger Home“Seven Things You Need to Know Before Building a New Home orRebuilding After a Hurricane”…Homeowners can now make their homes more resistant tohurricane damage.®When you’re building a new home —or when you’re repairingor rebuilding after a storm—there are a number of steps you cantake to strengthen your home against future disasters.The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes offers constructiontechniques for new and existing homes that provide agreater level of protection from wind, rain, and windbornedebris. Inside this brochure are the tips andtechniques homeowners need to strengthen theirhomes and safeguard their families.Homeowners who take these steps can gaingreater peace of mind by betterprotecting their homes and families,and could potentially save moneyon future repairs.
1. Roof Deck andAttachmentThe roof covering, and the deckbeneath it, are your home’s firstline of defense and form acritical shield of protection fromhigh winds and rain. Thefollowing techniques should beused during roof installation onboth new and existing homes,and are best performed by alicensed, professional roofingcontractor.• Install a roof deck of solid plywood– 5/8” thickness to maximizewind and windborne debrisresistance with 10 penny common123or 8 penny ring shank nailsspaced at 6 inches along thepanel edges and every six inchesin the field of the plywood panel.Make sure that the nailspenetrate the decking directlyinto the roof framing.• Be sure to look in the attic toconfirm that the roof decking isproperly nailed to the roofframing. If you can see nailsalong the sides of rafters ortrusses, where the nail penetratesthe decking, your roof deck maynot be securely attached.2. SecondaryWater BarrierEven though roof coverings aresomewhat wind resistant, asecondary water barrier providesprotection if the coveringis damaged or is blown off.• Create a secondary water barrierby installing self-adheringflashing tape or modifiedpolymer bitumen strips on top ofthe joints in your roof deck. Thiswill help keep out the rain in theevent the roof covering isdamaged or destroyed by severeweather.• Install one layer of #30underlayment – sometimescalled felt paper – over the roofdecking and secondary waterbarrier. The felt helps withdrainage in the event water getsunder the roof covering.3. Roof Covering• Install a roof covering that hasbeen tested to the lateststandards for wind and hailresistance. These standards are:ASTM D 3161 (modified to110MPH) or UL 2390 for windresistance and UL 2218 forimpact resistance.• Be sure to specify these standardsand look for labels on theproducts confirming thesestandards because ordinaryroofing materials may not lookany different from the windresistant versions.
4. Roof Shape andBracing Gabled EndsThe type and shape of the roofon your home can help determinehow well it will performduring a severe windstorm.A hipped roof typically performsbetter in windstorms than a gabledroof because of its aerodynamicproperties and typical constructiontechniques.A hipped roof is one that slopesupward from all sides of the building.A gabled roof has two slopes thatHippedRoofGabledRoofcome together to form a ridge or apeak at the top – each end looks likethe letter A. Homes with gabledroofs are more likely to sufferdamage, such as collapse of the endwall from high winds because theyare often not braced properly duringconstruction. For gable end wallconstruction, use one of thefollowing construction techniques:• Continuous Wall Constructionor Balloon Framing – Use fullheightstuds, concrete or solidmasonry walls from the floorbelow all the way up to the roof.Balloon-framed gable end wallsperform better in windstormsbecause they do not have thehinge that usually exists wherethe triangular part of the gablesits on top of the wall below.Homes with high, cathedral-likeceilings, where there is no placeto brace a gabled end, should beballoon framed, or will require aspecial design by a registered orlicensed engineer.• Platform Framing – Bracethe intersection of the gable andthe end wall. This intersection isa particularly weak point andthose that are not properlybraced can collapse, causingmajor damage, allowing windand wind-driven rain into thehome. In homes with attics, anattic floor or ceiling diaphragmwith the proper bracingtechniques can be used toprovide the lateralsupport of the gable endwall if the end wall is NOTframed full height.5. Roof to WallConnectionsYour home’s ability to resist theextreme force of wind is only asstrong as its weakest link, sothe only sure way to create awind-resistant home is to secureall connections – roof-to-wall,floor-to-floor and wall-tofoundation.TypicalRoof-To-Walland Wall-To-FoundationConnectionsThe roof is your home’s first line ofdefense from a storm. To make surethe roof stays in place when severewinds blow, securely anchor theroof to the wall by installinghurricane straps or clips at every wallto-rafter(or truss) connection toreinforce the roof.These connections are critical inholding the roof together and willdramatically increase the home’soverall resistance to wind. Be sureto install all connectors followingmanufacturer’s specifications.
6. Opening ProtectionYou can protect your home’sopenings, such as windows anddoors, from penetration bywindborne debris by installingimpact-resistant windows anddoors or installing impactresistantcoverings, such asshutters over windows and doors.Impact-resistant glass and shutters arespecifically designed to meet acombination of impact and continuouspressure from the wind. Always useproducts that have been tested to oneof these standards and have beendesignated as such through arecognized product approval system orevaluation report: SBCCI SSTD12;ASTM E 1886 and ASTM E 1996; orMiami-Dade Protocols PA 201, PA202, and PA 203.Equally important as the strength ofthe glass or shutter is the strength ofthe window’s frame and attachmenthardware. Impact-resistant units aretested as a unit that includes theglass, the frame, as well as theattachment hardware and theinstallation method. Impact-resistantwindows and shutters should alwaysbe installed following themanufacturer’s recommendations.7. DoorsExterior doors should alsobe wind and impact-resistantor protected with animpact-resistant covering.Garage doors are particularlyvulnerable to high winds, because ofthe long span of opening they coverand the relatively lightweightmaterial they are made of. Twooptions are available forstrengthening garage doors.Replace the door and track with asystem that is designed to withstandhigh winds and wind-borne debris,or protect the garage door with atested and approved impact-resistantcovering.For more information…Construction information, builder/inspector courses and technicalsupport is available to homeowners,homebuilders or inspectors at nocharge from the Federal Alliance forSafe Homes – FLASH, Inc., a nonprofit,501(c)3 educationorganization dedicated tostrengthening homes andsafeguarding families from naturaland manmade disasters.For more information on disasterresistant,code-plus buildingtechniques visit www.flash.org,www.blueprintforsafety.org or call877.221.SAFE.FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONSWhat Do Product TestingStandards Mean to Me?ASTM D 3161; UL 2218; SBCCI SSTD 12; ASTM E1886 and ASTM E 1996; Miami-Dade Protocols PA201, PA 202, and PA 203.The above may look like a word jumble, but theseproduct standards terms do have meaning.ASTM D 3161 – This is the testing standard forwind resistance in residential roofing products. Thecombination of letters and numbers translates to theAmerican Society for Testing and Materials StandardD 3161. The test involves using fans to blow airacross product test panels at a speed of 60 mph fortwo hours.UL 2218 – This is the testing standard for impactresistance in residential roofing products. The “UL”stands for Underwriters Laboratories, whichdeveloped the testing criteria. The 2218 identifiesthe test protocol, which consists of dropping steelballs from designated heights onto roofing materialsat specified locations.SBCCI SSTD 12 – This is a testing standard forimpact-resistant glass and shutters. The combinationof letters and words translates into SouthernBuilding Code Congress International Standard 12.ASTM E 1886 and ASTM E 1996 – Anothertesting standard for impact-resistant glass andshutters, the letters and numbers stand for AmericanSociety for Testing and Materials. The “E 1886” isthe testing method while the E 1996 is thespecification for determining the performance ofimpact-resistant products.Miami-Dade Protocols PA 201, PA 202, andPA 203 – The most stringent testing standards inthe nation for impact-resistant glass and shutters.The “PA” stands for Product Approval. PA 201 isthe large missile impact test; PA 202 is the test forstructural pressure, air, water, and forced entry;and PA 203 is the test for cyclic pressure.As a Homeowner, How Can I Finda Reputable Contractor to Work onMy Home?It is essential that your contractor be licensed andinsured before any work is undertaken. Check withthe state agency that handles the licensing ofprofessionals and your local Better Business Bureaufor any complaints on file. Be cautious about hiringcontractors to repair or rebuild your damagedproperty. Remember the old adage: "If it sounds toogood to be true, it probably is." FLASH urgesconsumers to follow these common-senseguidelines:• Get estimates from at least three licensed, insuredcontractors. Beware of contractors soliciting workdoor-to-door.• Ask for and check references of other work thecontractor has done.• Ask for proof of insurance. If the contractor doesnot have disability and workers' compensationinsurance, you may be liable for accidents on yourproperty.• Ask for a written estimate. Read the fine print.Make sure it includes everything you expect thecontractor to do.• Get a contract in writing. It should cover exactlywhat work is to be done, when work will start, howmuch it will cost, payment schedules, and thequality of materials to be used. Once signed, thecontract is legally binding on both you and thecontractor.• Never make full payment up front. Don't signover an insurance settlement check to thecontractor. Reputable contractors will acceptpayment based upon the percentage of workcompleted.• Don't make final payment until the work isfinished. Obtain lien waivers to ensure that no onewho supplied materials can put a lien on yourhome because the contractor did not pay them.• Make sure all work that requires city or countypermits and inspections is officially approved inwriting before the final payment is made.