If you’ve experienced the extreme weather events that have hit the US in recent years, you’re familiar with images of devastation, destruction, and loss.
You may be thinking about putting down roots in an area with extreme weather, and you’ll want to avoid falling victim to that pain at all costs. Traditional frame houses and buildings made from brick, wood, or paneling clearly can’t cut it during a hurricane, suffering catastrophic damage or being swept away entirely. This has caused many people to seek alternative solutions, chief among them steel.
Are Steel Houses Hurricane Proof?
While extreme weather is by nature unpredictable, several tests show steel buildings are capable of resisting even the highest category of hurricane winds. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration use a scale called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to rank hurricanes, with category 5 being the highest. In category 5, wind speeds can reach over 157 miles per hour and the agency estimates that “a high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse.” However, steel buildings have been shown to survive winds of 170 or even 180 miles per hour!
5 Benefits of Steel Hurricane Proof Houses
In addition to its incredible safety rating for hurricanes, a steel structure has further benefits that make it a great option for a variety of needs.
1. Offers Affordable Cost
Steel buildings are less expensive to design, install, maintain and recycle than some other traditional materials, especially those designed for extreme weather. While the cost per square foot may be higher than some other materials like wood, this gap narrows when you consider the cost of designing and installing a custom building, as well as long-term maintenance. Whether you choose from a prefabricated setup or customize your own, steel framing can be easily manipulated into your desired shape. Because of its incredible durability, a steel structure also tends to qualify for lower insurance costs.
2. Withstands Dangerous Mold and Mildew
A steel building is also easier to protect from the elements, such as mold and mildew. It’s no secret that wood is much more vulnerable to changes in temperature, humidity, and even pests like termites. A steel building, in contrast, is usually guaranteed for 50 years with only minimal upkeep.
Enjoy your morning coffee as the sun rises or invite neighbors for an evening barbecue. An outdoor kitchen gives you the flexibility to cook outside 365 days a year. Host outdoor meals with family and friends or simply enjoy the fresh air as you eat breakfast. Even a grill or a camp stove can transform your carport into a multipurpose cooking area.
4. Endures Other Elemental Disasters
Hurricanes aren’t the only threat to homeowners. Wildfires, earthquakes, and snowstorms are other extreme events that most traditional homes aren’t prepared to deal with. When built on top of a solid concrete foundation, steel is the gold standard for earthquake readiness, with enough strength to stay standing and enough flexibility not to buckle and break. When properly engineered, a steel frame will stay standing even during a fire. Steel is non-combustible and also opens up a variety of insulation and weather protection options while still looking clean and attractive.
5. Buildings Can Withstand High Winds
The thickness of your steel building impacts its overall durability. Twenty-nine-gauge steel, the thinnest building option, is usually enough for roofing that is also covered with tiles or shingles. The least expensive option, it also offers the least wind protection. Fortunately, there are thicker varieties such as 22-gauge steel, which is costlier but offers unparalleled wind resistance, in some cases up to 180 miles per hour.
5. Faster, Easier, and Less Expensive to Repair
Transport and installation is faster and less expensive for steel than other materials, because the components are usually ordered and shipped from a single location and arrive at the site ready to use. Some contractors do charge more if they are working with metal. However, the material is generally less labor intensive. Repairs are also easier to perform on steel structures, and if for any reason you choose to scrap the building, your costs will be lower as well. Disposing of a traditional building means paying for it to be disassembled and taken to the dump; steel is almost infinitely recyclable and keeps its strength and value, so some contractors will pay you to dispose of your steel building if you no longer need it!
What Does It Take To Build a Hurricane-Proof House?
While choosing steel as your material is straightforward, there are several steps in the process of making your plans a reality. Building codes may be especially demanding if your area is at high risk for extreme weather. Certain designs, such as elevated construction or fast drying techniques, can make your home even safer. For these reasons, it is especially important to make sure you are working with an experienced company that can assess your unique needs and builds the perfect fit. Alpha Structures has years of experience designing everything from warehouses to garages to homes, all designed to fit your budget and provide you with the protection you need.
Get Started On Your Hurricane Proof Steel House
Whether it’s facing the extreme winds of a category 5 hurricane or daily changes in weather, a steel structure provides the best protection, durability, and repairability. If you’re starting from scratch or simply looking to add some protection in the form of shutters or reinforcement, steel is the perfect material to use. Talk to a professional today about the design, durability, and appearance that you want to see, and take the next steps towards bringing your hurricane-proof house to life!