How to Protect Your Custom Home from Storms and Hurricanes

Tampa Bay Prepares for Hurricane Season.

By Jon Solomon

It’s that time of year. June 1 is the official start of Hurricane season, so what better time to review the ways you can build a stronger, better custom home.  As a Tampa new home builder, we consider ourselves experts in the building techniques and products to make sure our custom homes are ready for this time of year.

Whether it’s a hurricane, big storm or small shower, it really comes down to protecting your home from high winds and water intrusion. Here are some things we do that you should consider in your custom home:

  • Block Exterior Walls: It’s not that I’m a huge fan of the 3 Little Pigs story, but we do believe block walls add superior wind protection compared to frame.  It’ll also save you $$ on your homeowner’s insurance, so seems like the insurance actuaries agree with that story.
  • Footer/Stemwall Foundation:  Having those block walls anchored into a foundation that is below the lot’s surface provides additional protection compared to a monolithic foundation with a thickened edge. Learn More…
  • Hip Roof Design:  We design custom home roof systems that utilize more hip roof design than gables.  This provides greater protection for the roof in high winds.  Again, this will provide savings on your homeowner’s insurance.
  • Zip System Sheathing:  Although our use of block exterior walls significantly limits the use of frame walls, if there is exterior sheathing we use a product that provides superior water protection. It self-seals if penetrated and is stronger than standard house wrap. Learn More…
  • Structural Connections:  We over engineer the structural connections (e.g., straps, clips) to make sure that we have added protection from high winds.
  • Peal & Stick Underlayment & Flashing:  Roofing systems have several layers. Beneath the visible shingle or tile is the underlayment and flashing.  A peal and stick underlayment is stronger and longer lasting than standard felt.  Combined with galvanized flashing at critical points, these items make for the strongest roof protection possible. Learn More…
  • Full Perimeter Gutters:  With big storms, come big rains.  Having gutters around the full perimeter and not just the porches, makes sure the water coming off the roof is directed away from the home’s foundation and towards the storm drains.
  • Exterior Doors: Whether it’s the garage doors, entry or other exterior doors, every door must pass Florida wind code rating.  Having these doors swing out and not in, further strengthens them from high winds.
  • Impact Windows:  Since virtually all of Hillsborough and all of Pinellas are within the wind-borne debris zone, new homes must have impact windows or storm shutters/panels.  All of our new homes have impact windows, so you don’t need to climb a ladder and risk your safety trying to install panels prior to a storm.
  • Sherwin Williams Loxon Exterior Paint:  Paint is a home’s first layer of water and moisture protection.  This specific paint is an elastomeric paint, which gives it the unique ability to stretch, which allows it to protect a home even more over time.

In addition to the items above, here are few more items you should seriously consider for your Tampa custom home when it comes to water and wind protection.

  • 10 Year Structural Warranty: Every one of our homes has a 1 year bumper to bumper warranty, but a 10 year structural warranty is unique in that it covers the full structural elements of your home like the roof, foundation, etc.
  • Gas: If we do have an electrical outage during or following a storm, having gas will allow you to continue getting hot water, cooking, etc. Learn More…
  • Mold Prevention Treatment: Should you happen to have water intrusion; a mold prevention treatment will make sure that you don’t have a mold problem.
  • PEX Plumbing System: This plumbing system won’t help you during a storm, but it will reduce the risks of plumbing leaks over the life of your home. Learn More…

As you can see, there are some great features to prepare and protect your custom home for the storm season. Contact us to discuss how we use these features in our homes.

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