We have Hurricane Sandy and the seemingly more common coastal storms to thank for new building codes and elevations in our area. All of these new codes have inspired homeowners and builders to use more storm worthy products. The following list of products are commonly used by coastal towns that are frequently hit by major storms and/or hurricanes.
Windows & Doors: Working with a tight budget? This is the one area where you will want to stretch that budget and get the best windows and doors you can afford. Many homeowners thankful they spent the extra money on impact-resistant windows and doors even though they aren’t required by code. These products can save an entire home if they are installed properly. The cost differential is 50 to 100 percent more than standard glass options.
High-grade double hung windows will stand up well to high winds are rain when installed properly. However casement windows provide the tightest weather seal.
Choose doors that swing out because wind pressure supports the seal instead of working against it. French doors have more leak vulnerable edges that sliders or standard doors. If you choose them, make sure you protect them with overhangs or porch roofs.
Generators: After Hurricane Sandy, some areas went weeks without power. For some that may mean no running water, hot water, spoiled food in the fridge and so much more inconveniences. And what you might miss most is air-conditioning. Kohler has a new 12 kW unit, fueled by propane or natural gas, designed to run a 4-ton central AC system. And the manufacturer says it’s no louder than a vacuum cleaner.
Paperless drywall: If you’re worried about the effects of mold when wet weather or flooding hits your area, consider DensArmor Plus. This new drywall product uses fiberglass instead of paper, a favorite food source of mold, on the front and back of gypsum panels. Even if interiors are flooded your walls, including the invisible back sides won’t harbor mold growth . The cost of paperless drywall is 50 percent more than standard drywall.
Storm-rated shutters: Architects and homeowners in traditional neighborhoods have long favored the look of shutters. The trouble is, many on the market are more aesthetic than functional. But you can achieve both looks and hurricane-level security. With Bahama-style storm protection shutters from Atlantic Shutter Systems, a built-in Kevlar laminate keeps flying objects from reaching the windows. The shutters provide the bonus of shade in sunny climates, and fit in with coastal designs that imitate an island feel.
Shatter-proof skylights made with impact resistant glass are extremely popular in Florida. A standard 2- by 4-foot shatter-proof skylight can cost $600 to $1,200 installed, depending upon roof style.
Fiberglass decking: Fiberglass decking is low-maintenance, weather-resistant decking, looks even better after the storm season. Already popular for their ability to withstand the punishment of the hot sun in beach environments, these decks perform well in big blows and drenching rains. While they aren’t likely to satisfy purists’ demands for the look and feel of wood, they also don’t have wood’s disadvantages when it comes to soaking up water and splintering under assault from storm-blown material.
Fiber cement siding: What goes for non-wood decking is doubly true for nonwood siding, such as the fiber cement siding by James Hardie. It doesn’t rot or crack in weather. It’s fire-resistant and less susceptible to wind damage. After last season’s big storms, homeowners who were already leaning toward the convenience and maintenance advantage of fiber cement became even more convinced of its practicality in all coastal weather conditions.