There are certain roof types and home shapes that will be able to better withstand the winds produced by hurricanes than others. Getting to know what these are may help you protect your Florida home from the assault of the all-too-common hurricanes and tropical storms that frequent the region.
According to research, homes with square floor plans (even better is octagonal or hexagonal plans) that have a multiple-panel roof with four or more panels, will have the lowest wind loads. If possible, when having your home built, try to adhere to this shape.
A roof that has multiple slopes, such as hip roofs, with four slopes, will perform much better under wind forces than a gable roof, which only has two slopes. While gable roofs are more common because they are more affordable, in regard to wind and hurricane resistance, hip roofs are the better option. The best results will be achieved with a 30-degree roof.
Withstanding Wind Forces
In most cases, the wind forces on a home’s roof are usually uplift forces. This is why so many roofs are blown off during any type of extreme wind event. Connecting your roof to the walls also matters. After Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida in 1993, stabled roofs were no longer allowed to be used.
Take Proactive Measures against Structural Failure
It is crucial that strong connections between the roof and foundation are made. In many cases, structural failure is a progressive process where the failure of a single structural element triggers other failures in the home. This can eventually lead to a complete collapse. While most connections are vulnerable, there are inexpensive ways you can strengthen them.
Use Aerodynamic Features on the Roof
There are certain parts of a building, including the roof’s ridge and the corners that are subjected to higher wind pressures. However, according to some researchers, there are a few aerodynamic features that can help to alleviate the local pressures, such as installing a central shaft, which functions by creating a connection in between the roof ridge and the internal space in the area where the largest depression is located. This will help to keep a balance in pressures which can reduce a roof’s wind load.
The Roof Overhangs
These are often subject to a wind uplift force, which may result in complete roof failure. If you want your home to withstand the force of hurricanes, then it is a good idea to limit the length of these overhangs to just 20 inches.
When you take the time to consider the design of your home and your roof you may be able to find areas where you could improve hurricane resistance. Unfortunately, regardless of where you live in the state of Florida, there are hurricanes you have to deal with. Taking proactive steps to make your home more hurricane resistant will pay off in the long run and help you protect your largest investment.