MILLS RIVER, N.C. – Batten down the hatches — plus the windows, the doors and the roof. Hurricane Season 2011 starts on June 1, and based on expert predictions, it could be a whopper.
At Colorado State University, forecasters believe the number of named storms will reach 16, and they predict there’s a 72 percent chance that the entire United States coastline will be affected by at least one major hurricane landfall in 2011. The Weather Research Center in Houston has forecast at least 10 named storms in 2011 with six of them projected to intensify into hurricanes. And, they’re predicting that coastal areas in west Florida, Louisiana and Alabama have a 90 percent chance that they’ll be in the line of a dangerous hurricane.
“Homeowners all along the East Coast and throughout the Gulf of Mexico should prepare for potentially severe weather this year,” says Jill F. Hasling, president of the Weather Research Center. “Now is the time to evaluate your home’s exterior and determine how well it is prepared to withstand hurricane-force winds, torrential rain and flying debris.”
Hasling speaks from experience. In 2008, Hurricane Ike reached into the Houston area doing significant damage to structures near the Weather Research Center. “We had impact-resistant Simonton StormBreaker Plus® windows installed on our facility more than five years ago and they made all the difference in keeping our building safe during that storm,” says Hasling. “We strongly advise people to make it a priority during Hurricane Preparedness Week, which is May 22 to 28, to completely evaluate the four most vulnerable areas of the home — windows, entry doors, the roof and the garage door. If any of these are compromised, the wind and rain that enters the home can cause extensive damage.”
To help protect against severe weather, Simonton StormBreaker Plus vinyl windows and doors are constructed of remarkably sturdy reinforced vinyl profiles. Insulating glass units feature impact-resistant laminated glass that helps withstand high winds and flying debris without the need for plywood or shutters. Energy-efficient, impact-resistant StormBreaker Plus windows and doors are tested to meet the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) standards for use in a High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) for the Florida Building Commission and to meet the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) evaluation for the Texas Gulf Coast.
According to home improvement expert Tom Kraeutler, selecting the right door for a home is also a critical decision. “Hurricane-force weather conditions can be extreme for hundreds of miles inland, so it’s important that homeowners seriously consider upgrading with impact-resistant building products,” says Kraeutler, host of the nationally syndicated radio show The Money Pit. “The Tru-Defense Door System found on Therma-Tru® fiberglass entry doors maximizes the seal between the door and the frame to help keep out the damaging effects of wind and rain. This system is engineered to work together and meets building codes across the country, including in severe weather zones. One of the great things about this type of energy-efficient door construction is that it can be requested on both entry doors and patio doors.”
Therma-Tru offers impact-resistant decorative glass options for its fiberglass entry doors, plus a line of Opaque Impact Rated Doors that are recommended for areas with the most potential to experience severe weather conditions. The doors are designed with a steel plate inside to help withstand hurricane force winds and are Florida code and High Velocity High Winds approved for Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
A home’s roof is another vulnerable area during high winds and driving rain. Roofs should be examined yearly to determine if there are missing shingles, curling or splitting shingles, lifting shingles or loss of granules. Both straight line winds and pressurized winds can cause different damage — from uplifting the shingles off the roof to pushing intense wind-driven rain and flying debris onto the roof.
“Once air pressure moves through a hole in a roof and into the home during a hurricane, it can literally blow out the walls and windows of the house,” says Kraeutler. “It’s vital for homeowners in potential hurricane areas to have well-installed, solid roofs overhead to protect their homes and prized possessions.”
Backed by a limited 50-year warranty, the virtually maintenance-free polymer slate and shake roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes® have achieved Class 4 ratings for impact resistance along with the Miami Dade County Acceptance (High Velocity Hurricane Winds) and TDI, showing that the roofing tiles can withstand hurricane-force winds. In addition, DaVinci roofing tiles are rated Class A for fire retardance and have achieved the highest rating for straight line wind testing at 110 mph.
“Homeowners should make sure they have proper bracing, such as galvanized metal hurricane straps, to connect the roof to the walls of the home,” says Kraeutler. “This can help prevent uplift during hurricane-force winds. For a second step, consider impact-resistant polymer roofing tiles that have been formulated and tested to withstand hurricane strength winds and severe impact. That’s a winning combination for a roof.”
Kraeutler stresses that homeowners should always follow direction of local authorities regarding evacuations and emergency procedures during severe weather. “More than likely in extreme weather situations, you’ll have to evacuate,” says Kraeutler. “But when you invest in impact-resistant building products that are always ‘on guard’ you can leave knowing that your family’s home and cherished possessions are secure. That can bring incredible peace-of-mind during a highly stressful time.”