We watch the weather, talk about the weather, praise the weather, and curse the weather. Weather is part of our daily lives and impacts what we do, how we dress, and where we travel. But do we really think about how the weather impacts our homes? When we design and build homes for our clients, we are cognizant of the finish materials we want to be used, the home designs and floor plans we create, and where the home is going to be built and how it will impact the design. In our conversations with the builders we work with here at Residential Designed Solutions, these conversations are frequent and ever changing. We wanted to share some of our thoughts so that we can do what’s best for our clients. We know we can’t control the weather, so what do we need to consider and what can be done to homes to help them be protected from weather-as much possible? Mother Nature is a powerful force!
Hail: Those pesky balls of ice can do a lot of damage to roofs, siding, and windows. While we can’t stop all of the damage, there are things that can help minimize it.
If you’re building in a hail-prone area, it might be a good idea to install hail-resistant roofing. A homebuyer might argue that insurance will pay for damages (which could raise their rates), but why not be proactive and install a roof that will stand up to hail?
Modified asphalt shingles, which have rubber-like qualities, protect from hail and wind and tend to be more affordable than shingles made from plastic, aluminum or copper.
Savings from insurance companies may be available to those with hail-resistant shingles, providing savings in the long run for a more expensive roof. Plus the upgraded materials can extend the life and wear and tear on the roof.
Installing impact-resistant windows will lessen the impact of flying glass if hails breaks the window. (See more about these windows below)
Wind: Wind is one of the most destructive elements for a home. Shingles can be pulled off, gutters pulled away from the roofline, windows broken, and doors blown in. Wind gusts can cause tree limbs to break and fall on homes, creating holes in the roof, leaks, and dislodged gutters.
As builders and contractors, building a home that uses special connections, specialty clips and wraps to attach the roof to the home in areas that are prone to tornadoes and hurricanes is a must.
Hip style roofs do not catch the wind as easily as a gable roof can, but again, what you build depends on the weather common to your area.
Roof shingles, vertical siding, roofs, and window frames must have the construction materials properly installed to alleviate as much wind damage as possible.
For clients that are really concerned, discuss building a one-story or low profile home, since these are less likely to experience wind damage.
When building a home, look at the land. Are there trees close to the home that have the potential to fall on the home? Which ones can be removed? What is the landscaper planting near the home and if there are trees being planted, how tall do they get?
Installing impact-resistant windows can create peace of mind for clients, especially if they understand that while windows might shatter or crack when struck, the fragments will stay in place instead of being blown into the home.
Consider installing doors that open outward. These doors are less likely to fail in a storm.
A cheap garage door might be just that in a windstorm. There are garage doors now available that have been tested for and constructed for wind resistance. If the doors are high profile, this might be worth investigating.
Roofers should use at least six nails or staples to hold each shingle and the nails need to be installed beneath the edges of the overlapping shingles. Homeowners may not know or inspect this, so we need to! And was the waterproof underlayment installed beneath the shingles?
Rain: Water is a major cause of damage to a home. Water can find its way in through almost any surface material, so it is critical to plan for this and provide a drainage plane, so the water has an exit point. If not, the wet and dry process will cause materials to rot over a surprisingly short period of time.
The other point of water entry to the home is through the basement walls. It is extremely important that the house be graded so that water drains away from the foundation and that any downspout or foundation drains either have a gravity exit or a pump with battery backup to ensure dry conditions below grade.
A roof with an overhang design that extends the fascia board so that it creates a drip edge keeps rain from being driven across the surface of the soffit and into the eaves.
If shingles happen to get blown off, having the seams taped with a self-adhering rubber or asphalt tape will create a solid obstruction against water.
Properly installing and maintaining areas susceptible to water penetration is vitally important.
When installing flashing, caulk and roof cement look for areas of weakness. As the builder, inform your clients that areas sealed around the chimneys, skylights, and plumbing vents will dry out and erode over time, so they need to be inspected annually to prevent issues down the road.
Understanding the soil’s condition where the home is built is another key to success in regards to preventing leaks in the foundation.
Snow: There’s no way around this, especially here in Ohio. Snow is heavy and will fall. Knowing and understanding the building codes for roof design will prevent snow from collapsing roofs or causing sagging.
Ice: Ice can cause significant damage to a home, but designing a roof to remain cold everywhere in the winter will help. Heat escaping through an inadequately insulated roofing system causes snow and ice to melt even if the temperature is below freezing. This water then refreezes when it reaches the uninsulated sub-freezing eaves, creating ice dams. Ice dams cause melted snow to back up under the roofing material finding the first tiny gap in the substrate and you quickly have water on your ceiling or worse.
This is a difficult fix, but find the hot spots and adjust the insulation levels and ventilation channels to even out the roof temperature.
Sun: Knowing the materials needed to withstand the force of the sun are instrumental to the success of the build. The sun is a natural drying and aging occurrence both in our skin and our roofs.
Ridge vents and attic fans can be installed to help release excessively heated air and keep attic wood and roofing materials from aging prematurely.
Painting homes’ exteriors with lighter colors keep air conditioners from working harder. Dark colored homes absorb more heat than light colors. Another thought is to paint the home with a ceramic paint coating with ultra-violet ray reflectivity properties.
Adding a UV-blocking film to windows will provide protection to homeowners, flooring, and their furniture. In some parts of the country the reflected heat from these reflective windows can actually melt the vinyl siding on a neighboring home so special care must be taken in making this selection.
Consider applying a coating to the roof to protect it from damage from the sun. The coating should have a high emissivity and reflectivity rate. It helps to draw the heat of the sun away.
Again, some of the responsibility falls on the homeowners to have regular inspections to catch cracked or curled shingles, or those that have faded or are missing. Regular inspections can save big headaches.
We know we can’t control the weather, but we do have some control over how we build, what we use, and our desire to build the best possible home for our clients. Our due diligence can create homes that will withstand weather’s folly. Let our designers at RDS help you by creating homes for your clients for you to build or remodel.