Your Guide to Designing a Hurricane Resistant Home

Hurricanes are no joke here on the Gulf Coast. After the devastating effects of Hurricane Michael on Panama City and the surrounding area, many homeowners quickly learned that when designing their homes, they must take extra precautions against the high winds, flooding, and flying debris that comes with a hurricane. Preparing for a hurricane may be costly, but with the Atlantic Hurricane season active from June to November, it is a worthwhile investment to protect the new home that you love from the damaging effects of a storm. Thankfully, many buildings nowadays, especially on the gulf coast, are designed specifically to withstand hurricanes. You should still know a few basic tips that could make the difference between a home that is undamaged, and a home that suffers thousands of dollars of flooding and other hurricane damage. Here are some of the top tips for designing a home that is hurricane-resistant.

Stay elevated

While most people think of the most damaging effects of hurricanes being the roofs ripped off, broken windows from flying tree branches, and other kinds of wind-related damage, it is in fact often water that causes the most damage from a hurricane. Both the sustained rain, as well as storm surge from the nearby coast can cause massive flooding and lots of damage in the home. Make sure to keep your home dry if you are in a low area by consulting with your home designer and considering an elevated home. Most elevations can be disguised with a beautiful wrap-around porch and some creative landscaping.

Create a safe space.

When designing your home to be hurricane resistant, it is important to include a space that you and your family can go to that will keep you safe from the debris, high winds, and tornadoes that all come with a hurricane. Generally, experts recommend a room with no windows, that is made out of hardened material. Materials like concrete, metal, and cinder block work well for this kind of safe room. Many people are unable to designate a room solely for safety but consider adapting an office, guest room, or laundry room into a safe place. Make sure to keep this room stocked with essentials like bottled water and canned food, as well as candles and flashlights so you do not need to leave the safe place to go fetch supplies.

Consider how much glass you want.

When designing your home, many people want as much natural light as possible, and while big beautiful windows are very stylish, they are one of the first things to break during a hurricane. When designing your home, consider the cost of hurricane glass, as well as storm shutters when deciding on how many windows you want. If you can, steer clear of excessively large, or oddly shaped windows as they will be more expensive to cover with storm shutters. Factor the cost of storm shutters into the window cost and you will be prepared and ready when the next hurricane arrives in the Gulf.

Use landscaping to your advantage.

Some of the major damage from hurricanes is caused by flying tree branches and other landscape debris. When designing your home consider your landscaping and opt for low profile plants and trees that will stay firmly rooted to the ground in the event of high wind. That way, after the hurricane you will have less to clean up and you most likely won’t have a massive tree branch whipped into your house. When deciding on the landscape, be sure to steer clear of gravel and small rocks in your landscape design as they can very quickly turn into thousands of tiny projectiles in high wind.

When designing your home to be hurricane-resistant, you need a home design company with local experience that you can trust. Gulf Coast Home Designs is that company. We have decades of construction experience on the gulf coast,  and the expertise to help you design a home that you love and that will withstand the hurricanes that the gulf coast throws our way.

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