Is There Such a Thing as Tornado-Proofing Your Home?

Did you know that the swirling winds of a tornado are not their most destructive force? Instead, the debris the storm hurls around the sky at speeds exceeding 200 mph is the deadliest hazard. Imagine a refrigerator flying in the air at a fatal speed; that’s a missile. 

The effects of a wild storm may put a strain on home appliances and systems, causing breakdowns that necessitate repair or replacement. Unexpected maintenance can be expensive, and this is where a home warranty comes to the rescue. In your plan to mitigate the risks of a potential tornado, educate yourself on home warranty cost to purchase the most appropriate coverage for your household. The majority of tornadoes in the U.S happen during the spring season in almost every state. What are you doing to protect your home from these natural disasters?

Ideally, you should take the same precautions as mitigating hurricane effects.

If you are asking whether there’s such a thing as a tornado-proof house, the answer is yes. But, you might have to live in a structure constructed of solid concrete, without windows, and featuring steel doors. Thick concrete with a strong foundation can survive just about any force, but the materials are quite expensive. A structure such as this would offer near-absolute protection against injury and death in the event of a storm. Literally, it should be missile-proof. However, this sounds like a dull house to occupy for the rest of your life. But, there are many ways to shield your home from tornadoes. Most of the measures aim to keep debris from entering the house.

According to FEMA, a tornado-proof structure is regarded as a safe room. It can be an interior room, a big closet, or a bathroom that conforms to the International Code Council standards ICC 500. FEMA recommends an entirely new structure inside the main house, most likely in the garage or basement, for which you can learn more about Lewis River Doors. Underground facilities are generally safer, but they are not accessible to disabled persons. Moreover, they are easier to flood than shelters above the ground. 

Various construction products claim to offer tornado-proof technology such as steel-reinforced doors and cabling systems for anchoring the structure to the ground. The only windows known to cope with storms are synonymous with bulletproof glass. They are made of numerous glass forms and are laminated with window film to make them tensile but unbreakable.

Tornado-proof retrofits are significant improvements, but it is crucial to prepare for the unknown. The following tips should help if you want to minimize losses. 

Durable Roofs

A damaged roof is one of the weakest points during a tornado event. A destructive wind first blows the shingles off the roof sheathing. Next, it rips off the sheathing from the roof framing that finally pulls away from the walls. Hire local roofing contractors to conduct residential roof repair and make your roof more durable.

A tornado-resistant roof includes a horizontal diaphragm that transfers lateral loads caused by the windstorm to the shear walls. Good sheathing and framing are custom-designed to handle potential forces of a specific region. You can consult experts who do roofing in Deer Park, TX or roof replacement in Weatherford, TX for additional guidance on roof replacement.

Securing Entryways

Tornadoes come as surprises, wreaking deadly havoc on doors and windows, which are the most straightforward entry points. The garage door is also a highly susceptible point. A rush of wind can blow it down if it is not strong enough, pressurize the whole house, and destroy the structure. 

Brace garage doors with wood or metal stiffeners. Metal vertical bracing is acceptable in some places. Be careful of traditional insulation systems because air traveling at tornado-level speeds can destroy the walls in microseconds. 

Secure doors have three hinges and two-inch deadbolt locks. The screws must be long enough to anchor the door frame to the wall. The framing is critical and ought to be the most robust door component to prevent wind damage.

As mentioned earlier, you might need to install wind-resistant steel doors, which demand solid frames. A well-structured door frame needs something more potent and extensive than typical framing nails to fasten. 

Impact-Resistant Windows

Untempered glass cracks and shatters easily upon heavy impact. The shards can fly anywhere, posing a danger to people. If you are remodeling to make a house tornado-proof, consider impact-resistant windows. While they are pricier than standard designs, they provide extra protection and are customizable to any space.

The local building codes of some areas, like the Florida Coast, require all homeowners to install impact-resistant windows. 

Alternatively, you can install hurricane shutters that are also easy to customize. They are available in different materials, sizes, and designs to fit any house. If impact-resistant windows and hurricane shutters are not an option, get some plywood covers as a last resort. Custom-fit the plywood covers for each window, making sure they are large enough to shield the exterior frame. Use very long screws to connect them to the structure.

Never make the mistake of opening windows during a tornado. Some people commit this blunder, thinking that it equalizes indoor and outdoor pressure. The truth is the wind pressurizes the house just the way you would blow a balloon until it pops. That is how most roofs disassemble, leaving the walls to collapse in. 

Tornado-Resistant Walls

Houses constructed with ICF (insulated concrete forms) can retain their structural integrity no matter the weather. Concrete has more stiffness and structural capacity to stand up against shear forces than steel-framed walls. Moreover, concrete walls generate less lateral movement that could damage a house’s non-structural components, like plumbing and wiring. 

Safeguarding Your Valuables

Do you have a fire-proof safe to keep your treasures and important documents? It would help if you had a secure and accessible place to put your home insurance, warranty, and other possessions. If the situation calls for evacuation, you will have to take the valuables with you to a safe shelter. Most insurance companies are willing to help you with document retrieval through security firms. For the ultimate protection, keep the safe in an interior room or home shelter. 

Remember that these improvements must be done before a tornado hits. If the newspapers have started predicting bad weather, know it is time to brace the doors, roofs, and walls. Do it the same way you would in a hurricane period.

Don’t forget to prepare a home shelter if you are in a tornado-prone region. Stock your household with spare batteries, flashlights, food, water, and anything to help you make it through the tempest.

Riya Sander

Riya is an inspired writer, passionate about traveling, lifestyle and encouraging startups. As a freelancer she understands the importance of productivity at work. She never stopped finding new ways to create her work productivity. Follow her on Twitter @sanderriya