Understanding “Wind Mitigation”
According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management “wind mitigation” includes specific activities to strengthen your home. In Florida, the primary concern regarding your home is the wind damage caused by hurricanes. Hurricane season in Florida begins on June 1st and ends November 30th; though it is not unusual to have a hurricane or tropical storm outside of hurricane season. The primary damage from hurricanes are wind and water intrusion.
Water, entering your home as rain directed by varying wind directions, can enter your home through gable ends, soffit vents and poorly sealed windows and doors. Once the rain enters your home mildew can develop within days. Wind causes damage by entering your home by increasing pressure and causing an uplifting force on the roof of your home.
The are several different types of Mitigation which we will cover in this article. The first thing that people think of when they want to protect their home from storms are shutters (or window openings).
Window openings- have many different options. Shatterproof glass windows are expensive but eliminate the need to shutter before a storm. Glazed openings, panel shutters and impact resistant glass are other options. Impact resistant glass are heavier, may be difficult to open for daily use and do not prevent debris from entering a home if fractured. According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management the recommended mitigation is to shutter your home.
Water Barriers- Providing a sealed roof deck will prevent significant water intrusion if pieces of your roof covering (your shingles) are blown away by the storm. This also provides additional insulation to make your home more energy efficient. Remember not to forget your soffit vents. First inspect the roof deck. If any boards are warped, damaged or deteriorating, replace them. Secure all boards with an “8 D ring shank nail”. Once the integrity of the roof deck is confirmed, you can seal the deck. On the roof deck you can tape the horizontal and vertical seams with a 4” or wider self-adhering membrane tape followed by a synthetic underlayment. When buying asphalt shingles verify the technical standards for the product; the highest standard is currently over 130+ mph winds and should be installed using the manufacturers recommended number of fasteners (unless local building codes call for more fasteners- especially in high-wind areas).
Anchoring, roof to wall- Reinforce your foundation to wall, floor- floor (on multi-story homes) and wall to roof connections to establish a continuous load path. A continuous load path allows your home to resist high-wind forces as a unit. Weal links in a load path are generally where damage occurs.
Gable Ends-Gables that are taller than four feet high will benefit from reinforcing the framing and bracing the top and the bottom of the gable. Generally, a licensed professional engineer is best to design the gable end bracing system appropriate for your specific location and home construction.
Doorways- Doors, including garage doors are best replaced with a hurricane rated door. For existing garage doors additional bracing can be applied. Hurricane rated garage doors are heavier and often in a storm power is lost, so electric openers wouldn’t work.
Windstorm insurance rates are reduced substantially with a wind mitigation inspection. A wind mitigation inspection verifies construction methods that create wind mitigation discounts based on methods that provide greater protection from wind hurricane damage. Up until August of 2008 the “My Safe Home” Program was in effect in the state. The program was discontinued by the State of Florida in August of 2008. Wind Mitigation inspections should ONLY be conducted by a licensed building contractor.
For more information contact the Florida Division of Emergency Management in Tallahassee, Florida or contact our office at either (407) 936-1572 or (800) 978-8813. Birchell Insurance Agency "Making Insurance Easy".