Imagine the following scenario: You’re sitting at your lovely home you bought with years of work and hardship, browsing on your phone, when suddenly a warning comes up: a windstorm is likely to hit your town.
How safe is your home? Have you taken safety measures to protect it from wind damage?
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), global climate change has increased the possibility of severe storms, resulting in billions of dollars worth of wind damage annually.
So, what is the solution? Would it be possible to reduce the impact of climate change? Even though we should do everything in our power to combat climate change, protecting our homes from wind damage can be much easier.
There are many easy, low-cost ways to protect your home before the disaster arrives. Taking action in advance keeps your property and your future safe. Here we will discuss some of the best ways to protect your house from strong winds.
The Causes of Wind Damage
Strong winds can happen anytime. They can even be the uninvited guests coming with hurricanes, thunderstorms, or tornadoes. Based on their sheer velocity, these winds can bring major structural damage to homes and other buildings.
Generally, there are two forms of wind damage: the ones caused by the wind and those caused by tornadoes. Usually, a normal wind doesn’t reach the velocity to cause major damage. However, even a gust might knock down trees or fences.
Damages of strong winds are usually measured on the Enhanced Fujita scale.
- EF-0) Light damage: Wind speeds of 65-85 mph may bring damage to shingles, damage sign boards, and break tree branches
- EF-1) Moderate damage: Wind speeds of 86-110 mph damage trees, peel the rooftops, and overturn single-wide mobile homes.
- EF-2) Considerable damage: Wind speeds of 111-135 mph may destroy most single-wide mobile homes and uproot large trees.
- EF-3) Severe damage: Wind speeds of 136-165 mph destroy parts of homes, lift and throws heavy cars, overturn trains, and debark trees.
- EF-4) Devastating damage: Wind speeds of 166-200 mph bring complete destruction to homes, schools, and other buildings.
- EF-5) Incredible damage: Wind speeds of 200 mph bring significant structural destruction to homes, schools, and even high-rise buildings.
Tornado Wind Damage
With winds reaching the speed of 250mph, tornados are columns of air violently rotating from a thunderstorm to its base on the ground. A quick look at the Fujita scale can give us an idea of what damages tornados can bring.
In case of a tornado, one should take refuge at home and stay in the lowest area of the house. Debris and other objects flying through the air and breaking the windows are other serious risks during tornadoes and heavy winds.
If you are interested in natural disasters and want to know more about Which Natural Disaster Causes the Most Damage in Canada, take a look at our blog.
Damage Caused by Strong Winds
If you haven’t prepared your homes for wind damage, remember that it can be devastating. Here are a few possible damages that are likely to happen to your property during a strong wind.
Wind Damage to Roof Shingles
A strong windstorm can easily rip your shingles off and cause gaps in your roof. It might even loosen the nails which hold the shingles and bring damage to the structure beneath. Wind damage to the roof disfigures your home and allows water and moisture inside your house, causing mould or mildew to grow.
Note: On our blog, you can learn more about Structural Integrity: How Building Inspectors Help Maintain Buildings.
Wind Damage to Garage Door
Another vulnerable part of the exterior is the garage door. Garage doors are much larger than your home opening door and, therefore, more exposed to wind damage. During a storm or tornado, high wind can bend and throw an unenforced door away, exposing every small interior room to wind damage.
Wind Damage to Doors and Windows
Can wind break doors and windows? Well, depending on the speed of the wind, it is quite possible, especially during severe weather conditions. A strong wind can uproot dead trees, carry objects, push patio furniture, and smash them on windows and sliding glass doors. Remember that windows are one of the most vulnerable parts of your home’s exterior during a high wind.
In a heavy storm, windows can easily break, allowing the wind inside, which causes a huge pressure inside the house. An uncontrolled pressure coming from the broken windows and garage door can bring much structural damage to the doors and walls and destroy other home belongings as well.
When the storm is done, your work begins. You should fix the damage to the house and replace the destroyed components. These repairs are very costly and need a great deal of time. Nevertheless, you can do a few temporary fixes while waiting for professional help.
Taking safety measures ahead of time and protecting your home from wind damage before it happens is always the smart choice. Roar Engineering Structural Engineering Services can keep your home safe for you and your loved ones. For more information, please check our website.
How Can You Protect Your Property from Wind Damage
While there’s no guarantee that your home won’t be damaged during a storm, preparing for the difficult time reduces the expensive costs of repair significantly. Here are some tips on how to do so.
1. Install Storm Shutters on Glass Surfaces
One of the most effective ways to protect your home from wind damage is covering your doors and glass windows by installing storm shutters. Different types of manufactured storm shutters are now available in the market for different surfaces.
Steel or aluminum storm shutters can keep your home safe from flying objects that can easily break the windows. You can also use shatter-resistant film or stormproof high-impact glass to add more protection.
If you find manufactured shutters too expensive, you can build your own Plywood Storm window covers. If made and installed correctly, these shutters are as safe as those manufactured.
2. Secure the Entry Doors
When protecting your home, entry doors are one of the most important elements. If your openings break down, the wind and flood find their way to your home and cause great destruction to your interior.
You can strengthen your doorways by installing slide locks on the fixed part of your door. First, check whether the bottom and top of your door are secured, and then install the locks as explained in the instruction manual.
3. Reinforce the Garage Door
We discussed the importance of a safe garage door during a wind storm, so having a tested hurricane-resistant door is most important. You can determine the durability of your garage door by having an inspection team check it.
A trained technician or engineer should do garage door reinforcement and replacement. For more information on performing adjustments on your garage door, consult our team of experts here at Roar Engineering.
4. Secure the Roof
During a wind storm, the force of the wind is passed from the roof to the walls and finally to the home’s foundation. Depending on the type of roof, this pressure might not be transferred well and cause great damage to the property.
Gabled roofs are the most vulnerable type of roof during a hurricane due to their A-shaped ends. During the storms, the walls take all the beating and can bring great damage to the roof.
To ensure your roof stays safe and intact from wind damage, you can install more layers of truss bracing on top of your gabled roof and secure the roof to the walls using manufactured hurricane straps.
5. Review Your Insurance Policy
Taking the steps mentioned can minimize the damage caused by wind, but a strong wind at high speed can still cause serious damage to your home. Therefore, reviewing your insurance policy from a personal insurance company is wise.
Depending on what type of home and auto insurance you have, whether a homeowner or mobile home insurance, checking and reviewing the policies can help you be aware of the coverage you can get afterward.
6. Document All Your Home Belongings
During a heavy storm, wind can damage your interior and exterior, and you might lose valuable belongings. To be able to make an insurance claim after the storm, remember to document all your home belonging beforehand. You can take photos or make videotapes for reference.
7. Have a Safe Room
During a tornado or a strong storm, a safe room located under the ground is the optimal choice to take refuge. Safe rooms should not collect water and must have enough food and water supplies in case you have to stay there for a long period.
While designing a safe room for storms and tornadoes, keep in mind that it should be at a distance from flood and storm zone, have no windows, and the walls, door, and ceiling must withstand winds of 250 mph speed.
8. Remove Dead and Damaged Trees
According to the Enhanced Fujita scale, moderate winds with speeds of 65-110 mph can severely damage trees and even uproot them. Additionally, higher wind speeds can carry these trees long distances and may bring them to your home.
Ensure all the dead and damaged trees close to your property are removed or trimmed. It is best not to have trees within 40 feet of your home.
9. Unplug Electronic Items
A common phenomenon during storms is a power surge, which runs through the power lines and causes damage to your electronic devices. Unplug all your electronic items until the storm is over to prevent damage. Surge protectors can also be functional for keeping the circuit undamaged.
10. Secure Porches, Fencing, and Sheds
Weak or loose fencing can be easily carried away with high winds. Check your porch and fencing regularly and ensure they are in a strong structural condition and attached safely to the ground.
Heavy windstorms can wreck your sweet home. But thanks to all the great tools in the market, there’s no need to worry anymore. You can sit back and relax with a few simple cautious steps, knowing no winds can move your house.
Here at Roar Engineering, we pride ourselves in our top services. Our team of experts specializing in structural engineering is here to help you prevent any possible damage to your property.
Protecting Your Home From Wind Damage FAQ
1. How can you prevent wind damage?
Wind storms are one of the most destructive natural disasters. Winds with speeds of 166-200 mph will damage buildings and destroy them.
However, with winds of lower speeds, there are a few protective solutions you can perform to prevent wind damage as much as possible. This includes reinforcing garage doors, fortifying the roof, installing storm window cover, securing the entries, removing dead and damaged trees, and building a safe room.
2. How do you prepare for high winds?
High winds can be extremely dangerous and cause significant damage. Ensure all the items outside of your home are secured, park your car in your garage or other safe places, remove outside items that might be carried away with the wind, and keep an eye on the news for further warnings and notices.
3. How much mph wind can a house withstand?
Depending on the materials used in the property’s structure, a house can withstand winds up to 170 mph. While a standard wood-frame house can endure a 150 mph wind, new steel homes can bear up to the speed of 170 mph.
4. What wind speed causes roof damage?
Depending on how strongly the roof has been made, the truss bracing layers, and the protective measures you have taken, roofs can typically withstand winds as fast as 70-90 mph.
However, reports show that winds with lower speeds of 50 and 60 mph can remove parts of the roof shingles or loosen the nails and layers beneath, allowing moisture inside the house.