Can You Prepare a Home for a Tornado?
According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, there are an average of 1,253 tornadoes in the U.S. every year, with Texas and Kansas the hardest hit, although they can and have occurred in every state.
Whether you just purchased one of the Indianapolis houses for sale or a home anywhere else, but especially in areas prone to tornadoes, you’ll want to take steps to protect it as soon as possible. In the southern U.S., the peak season for tornadoes is March through May, while the northern U.S. gets the most from late spring through early summer, but they can develop at any time. While it may not be possible to prevent a natural disaster like a tornado, there are many ways to fortify our homes against them. By following these tips, you can ensure your home is as prepared as possible to withstand a direct hit.
Reinforce the Strength of Your Roof
During a tornado, the winds that blow over a home exert outward pressure against the sidewalls, inward pressure against the windward wall, and upward pressure against the roof. That combination results in a roof being ripped off if there are any weak connections, leaving the walls without bracing or stability. If you can keep the roof, the house will have more resistance against powerful winds. The best way to do this is to reinforce its strength by having hurricane clips or straps installed by a professional. They’re attached directly to the rafters or trusses and the studs of a load-bearing wall for a stronger connection.
Get an Impact Resistant Garage Door
Your garage door is your home’s weakest link. If it’s blown away, your house is pretty much gone, too, as high-speed winds will pressurize the house, blowing the roof off regardless of its strength. Look into purchasing an impact-resistant door with no windows that’s rated to withstand at least 50 pounds of pressure per square foot. Also, keep in mind that single doors tend to hold up better than double doors. Another option is to install metal stiffeners for your current garage door, which will provide additional support.
Protect the Windows
Windows that shatter not only results in damage to your home but can cause serious injuries to those who live there. If a window blows out, it also causes the house to become pressurized, similar to blowing air into a balloon. Storm shutters are the simplest and generally least expensive way to protect your windows. You can create your own from plywood, used to quickly put in place when a storm is near, or have a professional install permanent storm shutters. While impact-resistant windows are pricier, they add another layer of protection and are less likely to shatter when struck by an object.
Tie it Town
While a wood-framed home isn’t going to be able to withstand a record-breaking tornado like the one that brought 301 mph winds to Bridge Creek, Oklahoma, in 1999, the vast majority have lower winds speeds that you can prepare for. You can tie your house down by using a secure home tie-down system like Cable-Tite, which uses steel cables to secure the foundation, running vertically from the roof.