In the event of severe weather, you can protect your home by considering the “science” behind home building. Building science-the study of the perfor-mance of buildings and building materials-has become increasingly important. Building materials are also more advanced, helping builders and homeowners construct more structurally sound homes.
Mark LaLiberte, a building science expert recognized internationally as a distinguished author and consultant, offers consumers these tips:
• Reduce wind impact. For example, 19/32″ thick plywood-one of the toughest, most reliable materials around-can minimize wood panel wind uplift and reduce the risk of damage from flying debris, if the nails are six inches apart and penetrate into the roof framing. Plytanium® Plywood from Georgia-Pacific offers greater impact resistance and holds nails securely. Approximately 80 percent of residential hurricane damage starts with wind entry through the garage doors. Reinforce garage doors with steel bracing and install impact-resistant windows, doors or coverings, such as plywood shutters.
• Resist mold. You can reduce the risk of mold growth in wall cavities by installing paperless moisture- and mold-resistant drywall such as DensArmor Plus™ from Georgia-Pacific. For more information, visit www.stopfeedingmold.com.
• Avoid “overturning.” When wind hits a building, uplift on the roof and pressure on the walls can cause it to “overturn,” or rotate off of its foundation. Tension tie-downs or anchorage to the foundation can help resist overturning during severe storms.
• Reduce the risk of shock. The main electrical panel board (electric fuses or circuit breakers) should be at least 12″ above the projected flood elevation. In areas that could get wet, connect all receptacles to a ground fault interrupter circuit.
• Combine a strong roof sheathing with energy savings. Select a durable roof sheathing that holds shingles firmly in strong wind and can resist moisture damage due to occasional leaks. A roof sheathing with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star qualification can keep your home comfortable while potentially saving on cooling energy consumption.