Every once in a few years, places such as Louisiana and Florida are faced with a hurricane that lashes out with win speeds in excess of 150 mph. These wind speeds and storm tides can batter houses and buildings. Civil engineers have been experimenting with designs that can absorb or deflect the energies of these furious winds. A building designed to withstand category four and five hurricanes can provide shelter to people who may not have had the time to reach higher ground.
Considerations when building a hurricane-proof house include resistance to storm surges, resistance to wind, shape of the house, location of the house, building components, materials used.
If fifteen to eighteen feet high storm surges reach the ground or first floor of a building, they can quickly batter the building down and if the foundation is shallow or on sandy ground, the building will collapse. Walls made of materials such as sheetrock will disintegrate quickly. Ideally the building should be elevated on steel or concrete beams and should be attached to solid rock.
Winds attacking the roof of a building can take off with the roof if it is not firmly attached to the foundation through the walls. If the roofing goes, the entire building can fail very quickly. Hurricane harness strapping should be applied to the roof during the storm season and removed afterwards.
An underground cave or a bunker is the best way to wait out a hurricane if you are on high ground away from the storm surge.
A geodesic roof made of wood or concrete offers better resistance to hurricane winds as compared to a square roof. Hurricane shutters play an important role in keeping the winds out. Doors and windows are the usual failure points that succumb to the winds. If the winds enter the house then they can blow the roof off inside a minute. Use appropriate shutters to keep the doors and windows secure.
Hurricane-proof buildings should comply with building codes for the area. See if you can get the doors to be retro-fitted for extra bracing power. An important thing to remember is that doors and windows should open outwards. The windows should have shatter-proof glass or plastic panes. Use aluminum shutters to protect the panes.
If wood can be protected from insects and rot then its flexibility is an advantage in hurricane–prone areas. Reinforced concrete can take a lot of battering and offer safety against high winds and even the waves.
David G. - July - 2018 - Sarasota, Florida
We wanted to self-install so we bought accordions and roll downs from Empire Construction.We measured our window and patio and sent Empire the specs.The shutters were an exact match.Installation is very doable for two reasonably mechanical people. In this case it was only one mechanical person and some extra hands. The accordions were a breeze as installation was mostly marking holes for spots, drilling holes, and screwing them in.Our accordions have locking pins that hold them open and act as a second lock when closed. Even if a projectile breaks the lock the rods will keep the shutters closed.These shutters are Bertha HV1. They are High Velocity Hurricane Zone Approved. Having seen a wide range of shutters we are extremely happy with the quality of the product we received!!
Jim J. - June - 2018 - Homestead , Florida
I installed fourteen aluminum accordion shutters which I purchased from Empire Construction.I could not be happier with my choice.The shutters are made very well and are powder-coated.The purchase included all of the required hardware which was powder-coated to match the shutters.The company is very customer-oriented.Michael and his staff were wonderful.They were attentive, helpful, and a delight to work with.The installation video on the website made the installation very easy.I highly recommend Empire Construction to anyone considering a purchase of hurricane shutters. Thanks again. Please say Hi to everyone,