Energy-efficient framing practices for hurricane and tornado countrycomments (3) October 31st, 2012 in Blogs
Our thoughts go out to all of our friends, family, and neighbors who are struggling to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The article below was originally published after devastating tornadoes tore through a large swath of the Southern, Midwestern, and Northeastern United States in April of 2011. While some of the information below may seem too little too late now that the storm has diminshed, there are a lot of ideas that folks may find useful as they rebuild damaged homes.
Here are some of our common strategies for building homes that are energy efficient but can also hold up well in a storm:
1. Strengthen the impact zone where the trees hit the top of the wall
We nail the headers to the top plate with cripples as needed between the header and the top of the windows and doors. We still use double top plates which allows us to place 2x blocking on the outside of the upper top plate on the top edge of the sheathing so the impact of a tree on the overhang is transferred by the blocking to the shear nailing on the sheathing rather than just crushing the top edge of the sheathing and coming on into the room. Of course we fully sheath the exterior walls with OSB and use more than code minimum hurricane clips and we still "right size headers" to double 2x6's when less than 36" as allowed by the engineer.
2. Plan "break-aways" to minimize water damage.
If hurricanes and tornados didn't involve so much rain the recovery would be much easier. Trees on the roof can let in a lot of water and the structural damage is often much less expensive to repair than the water damage. We break the roof sheathing over the squash block on the outside of the wall so that when the trees land on the house the damage is largely held to the roof overhangs and the water is kept out of the attic. We also use 2x treated subfascia and nail galvanized roof edging through the sheathing into the subfascia to help keep the wind from getting a grip on the roof edge. Likewise we flash our chimney pipe to the roof as if it didn't have a chase and build a separately flashed chase above the roof that can break clear if hit by a tree without opening a huge hole in the attic.
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