The Hurricane Proof House

By Deane Barker on October 23, 2005

Home built to withstand the winds: I saw a report on this house on CNN this morning.

From its 6-inch-thick concrete walls to its shatterproof windows to its elevated foundation, everything about Jim Minardi and Teresa Fogolini’s canal-front house is cutting-edge and designed with a singular purpose: to keep the house’s roof on and water out even in a Category 5 hurricane.

Some of the changes are much more subtle. For instance, the front door opens outwards instead of inwards, so when the wind pushes on it, it’s supported by the entire door frame rather than just the latch.

If this interests you, we have two prior posts on the Dome Home, which is another attempt to thwart the winds.

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Comments

  1. What’s a “soffit.”

    The horizontal surface that connects the edge of the roof overhang (where you find the guttering) back to the house.

    I’ve read that one of the best things you can do to hurricane-proof a house is to eliminate this, since it gives the wind a perfect place to “grip” when it rips off the roof.

  2. FLASH is a forced acronymn, but only because our organization started out as the Florida Alliance for Safe Homes, and our website (www.flash.org) is easy to remember.

    Re: soffits – think twice before doing away with them altogether. The jury is still out on that approach as it requires a perfect installation and no settlement in the foundation over time. Any cracks in the closed attics could allow moisture to enter, and then comes mold. Also a very expensive system – typically $4,000 more than a ventilated one. If you have soffits, just be sure they have blocking behind them and when the wind blows, they will not implode and allow water instrusion. Meanwhile, we will keep you posted as we watch the closed systems performance over time.

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