In 1992, hurricane Andrew decimated Homestead in the southern end of our State. This year, hurricane Irma did the same thing to Key West, and hurricane María to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. A lot of people lost their homes and/or businesses, roads are missing pieces of blacktop, cement poles tilted over like dominoes, bridges collapsed.
It is during time like these that we come face to face with how crucial it is to have well studied building codes. When our infrastructure fails us, our citizens suffer the consequences; and due to our geographical location, we can’t afford to not pay attention.
How have codes changed in Florida?
For starters, we have better windows now. They are designed to withstand stronger winds, and depending on the type you install on your property, some of them could protect you from winds of up to 140 mph. This is because they have several layers of material shielding your home. If a tree falls and hits a window, the extra layers and tougher materials will prevent the window from shattering all over the inside of your property.
As bonus features, there is a significant noise reduction and screening from UV rays from the outside world. Just remember to verify whether your window frames are strong enough to hold up these heavier windows. The last thing you need is for the panes to hold up, while the entire window becomes a projectile inside your own home.
Another structural element that has caused worry in the past are roofs. One way to increase security is by installing hurricane fasteners and connector straps. These new regulations require that homes are able to withstand three second gusts of 160 mph winds, and sustained speed of 124 mph.
Just as with windows, hurricane proof doors consist of several layers of material, that are also impact and moisture resistant. And if they include glass, the same is laminated and made out of the same material as the impact and shatter proof windows.
What’s the point of strong materials if what’s holding them up together couldn’t withstand strong winds? From screws, to wing nut fasteners, to wood fasteners, most hardware stores sell materials that will protect your property a lot better than traditional equipment.
All of these factors contribute to stronger structures. However, don’t get too complacent thinking this means your home is 100% safe. You should still prepare for storms by installing shutters over your windows. If you haven’t even started your construction project, make sure that the design takes into account hurricane protection. After all, those who built the Titanic also boasted that their newest ship was unsinkable.