Four Ways to Hurricane-Proof Your Custom Home Before You Begin Building

Whether you’re a longtime Suncoast resident or recently relocated to this rapidly-growing region of Florida, you are well aware of what’s on the horizon – hurricane season. In fact, 49 named storms have hit Southwest Florida since the Atlantic hurricane database was created in 1851. It’s not only time to secure your existing property but, if you’re currently designing and building a custom home, you need to prepare for the future.  

Florida now ranks among the nation’s top states for new home construction, with 9.80 homes being built per 1,000 residents. And, if you’re one of these lucky, soon-to-be homeowners, there are proactive measures you can take to stormproof your incomparable custom home beyond the Sunshine State’s strict hurricane codes – especially in vulnerable areas, like garages, the roof and windows. Here are four ways to prepare your custom home for any weather, even before the construction process begins.

Tying Down and Maintaining What’s Over Your Head

A roof plays an integral role in protecting your home from the elements. And, as the highest part of your house, it’s subjected to wind uplift. This is why hurricane straps and ties – metal brackets that most commonly connect beams, joints and trusses to wall structures – are incorporated in new home construction across Florida.  

Our team at Lee Wetherington Homes wrote a blog post in June 2022 that dives into straps, ties and roof maintenance, so you can feel prepared for any major storm. Whether you’re designing a home with us or another builder, we recommend becoming educated on the materials used to construct your roof, and how routine upkeep and scheduled maintenance can improve its longevity.

Window Options Designed for High Impact

Glass windows are extremely susceptible to wind-borne debris during a hurricane and are the second-most likely area of your home to receive damage. In fact, the Florida Building Code requires these large panes to be impact resistant if you’re located within one mile of the coast, where the design wind speed is 130 miles per hour or more – and anywhere it’s 140 miles per hour or greater.  

Installing high-impact windows, whether you’re building near the coastline or miles inland, is a practical, protective addition to your custom home’s innovative design. PGT products, like WinGuard Vinyl windows, not only keep airborne objects and heavy rain out, but are available in an array of sizes for achieving the perfect look and feel in any living space. Explore our Facebook page, and you’ll see how Lee Wetherington Homes has incorporated PGT’s technology into the homes we’ve designed and built.

Garage Doors for Withstanding High Winds

Storing your vehicles requires generous square footage. High wind gusts, pressure changes and flying objects can cause your garage door to buckle, exposing your walls, roof and interior to a storm’s wrath. Wherever you are in Florida, a hurricane-rated garage door is a worthwhile investment.  

These doors feature durable steel tracks and showcase extreme resistance to twisting, which results from a hurricane’s erratic winds. Across the state, garage doors have various impact levels. For instance, parts of Southeast Florida are located in a High Velocity Hurricane Zone, which requires doors to meet large missile impact ratings.

It All Starts with the Right Building Process

It takes a team of designers and builders to bring your vision to life – and construct it to stand the test of time. When you’re in the beginning stages of designing a fully custom home with a reputable builder, feel empowered to ask about their typical pre-production and construction processes, and how your home is created to withstand powerful weather. For instance, at Lee Wetherington Homes, we explain to customers that our residential construction expertise dates back prior to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which prompted Florida to implement strict building codes following the storm’s destruction.  

Many builders use quality materials, which live up to code. For our team, that’s a baseline standard. We truly believe that consistency across our building processes has resulted in impeccable longevity – a longevity you should come to expect, especially during hurricane season.