Florida and Gulf Coast residents have weathered rough storms before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit. During 2004's Hurricane Charley, the Punta Gorda, Fla., home of Jim Minaldi and Teresa Fogolini was totaled by 180 mph winds.
Jim watched as their possessions and furniture flew out of the home and the roof and window blew off. Jim and Teresa's home was reduced to a pile of rubble. "I'm a tough guy," said 57-year-old Jim. "But I cried on the phone to Teresa as I watched it go."
When rebuilding their home, Jim and Teresa used the latest storm-ready techniques with the help of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes and Bob Vila, host of the nationally syndicated "Bob Vila" home improvement series.
You can find several tips for building a storm-ready house below.
Doors that open out, so they can't be blown in by the wind.
Impact-resistant windows made of a flexible plastic layer sandwiched between two panes of glass. The laminated glass may break, but the glazing stays in the window frame, keeping out damaging winds that might otherwise lift off the roof.
Cast-in-place concrete walls provide superior wind resistance and impact resistance from windborne debris. The walls are 7 inches thick -- 6 inches of concrete and 1 inch of stucco.
The entire foundation is elevated with a 3-foot stem wall to mitigate flood damage.
Roof is built with enhanced metal connectors, thicker decking than required by building codes and installation of a secondary water barrier to keep the roof on the house and water out.
Enhanced attachment methods for roof coverings, such as barrel tiles and using two stainless steel screws on the tiles instead of one. Roofing failure often has to do with how it's attached. Roofing failure can also become windborne debris.
What's the cost?
To build a house like Jim and Teresa's -- which has four bedrooms, two baths and nearly 3,000 square feet -- would cost about $350,000 to $400,000. But homeowners can save significantly on their insurance premium.