Say you are buying a home in a hurricane-prone zone. The spot you choose for new home construction and area weighs in on the materials you need for the house.
You may wonder if something like a cinder block or concrete seal your family from raging hurricanes.
So how do these homes fare against hurricanes? And how much reinforcement is needed to make concrete and cinder block homes stand strong against storms? Let’s check out these details below!
How Do Concrete and Cinder Block Homes Fare in Hurricanes?
Concrete, cement, and cinder block homes can withstand hurricanes, depending on the house’s construction quality and the hurricane category. During Category 3 hurricanes, these homes can usually withstand most damage. If built well, they can also withstand category 4 and above.
Are Concrete and Cinder Block Homes Hurricane-Proof?
According to research, concrete, cinder, and block homes are hurricane-resistant and can survive storms without much structural damage. Even though cinder blocks are hollow and lighter than cement, they create a sturdy foundation that violent winds cannot easily knock off.
The Debris Impact Facility at Texas Tech ran an experiment to re-enact a hurricane-like situation. The results conveyed how cement and cinder block walls reacted to a simulated hurricane. The entire simulation took place inside a controlled section of a laboratory for safety purposes.
The researchers shot 15-pound (6.8 kg) lumber missiles to hit the walls. The speeds of these hits were faster than a hurricane’s, which helped determine how much stronger cement, concrete, and cinder block walls are against such devastating storms.
The experiment included two types of projectiles—wood and steel.
The test was to hurl these projectiles at the highest possible speed at small wall sections. These wall sections were set as if part of an already well-constructed home.
Wall materials included:
- Fiberglass insulation
- Clay brick
- Plywood sheathing
- Vinyl siding
When the projectiles hit these components, they didn’t experience the slightest scratches. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about other pieces, such as wood studs and lighted decks.
This research concluded that any cement or concrete home with a fortified base could withstand a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. However, if you have built your home near a water body or a hurricane-prone area, chances are the house will flood in the event of a storm.
What Allows Concrete to Withstand Hurricanes?
Concrete is a dense and solid construction material that can make your home stand tall against any hurricane attack. Be it howling winds, shattering storms, or a Category 5 hurricane, a cement home, when built to last, will protect your home and interiors and even safeguard you against flooding.
Houses built with concrete or cinder blocks are reinforced to be wind-resistant, making them an ultimate savior for homes in naturally disastrous areas.
Thanks to massive climate changes over the last decades, many parts of the world are prone to frequent natural disasters like:
The correct shape, sizing, and base can turn concrete homes into impenetrable powerhouses that stay standing, even with neighboring houses taking unfortunate hits. These types of homes are built with concrete and steel rebar. These are crucial for compressing and supporting the concrete throughout your home’s basic structure.
You can ensure the rebars don’t rust and weaken your home’s cement foundation by taking preventive measures. For starters, professional construction personnel raises the rebars over non-metallic surfaces to prevent them from touching the water.
Another way is to keep galvanized rebars away from wooden materials and uncoated rebars, which can encourage corrosion. It can be very challenging to plan out a hurricane-proof home, but choosing concrete and cinder block as the foundation can save you from future worries during natural disasters.
One good use of concrete for this purpose is the insulated concrete form (ICF). ICFs are hollowed-out blocks made of foam. These can be stacked as walls of a building. Construction workers reinforce these blocks with steel rebar and concrete filling to add more stability.
Insulated concrete forms can withstand 250 mph, which is higher than a Category 5 hurricane wind speed. And since the wind speed can rise with climate change and natural disasters, you need to plan out a future-proof home.
ICF comes with tons of benefits, including:
- Low maintenance
- Fire and wind-resistant
- It takes less labor and time to install
- The forms come in various sizes and are customizable according to your home’s blueprint
If you live in or near a coastal area, you need the best quality cement, rebar, and construction workers to build a solid house. As it’s been made clear by research, cement’s performance and strength stand best against hurricanes and strong winds.
Advantages of Cinder Block Homes Against Hurricanes
Concrete block construction has become the heart and soul of many homeowners in natural disaster-prone areas. Recent hurricanes and tornado attacks have proven that only cinder blocks or insulated concrete forms have enough strength to withstand such raw power.
So, what kind of advantages do these concrete-enforced homes come with?
Let us check out some benefits of owning and living inside ICF homes:
High-Level Storm Resistance
Concrete block homes have eight-inch (20.32 cm) blocks. These blocks can tolerate over 250 mph winds (402.34 kph), making them a beast against any natural disaster. Moreover, cinder blocks reduce the chances of items breaking or getting damaged inside your home.
And since that reduces your need for insurance, many insurance companies will offer discounted rates on your home insurance policy.
Mold and Mildew Resistance (Avoiding Rusing)
Concrete-enforced walls prevent water from seeping into the walls and destroying the rebars. Since these walls don’t allow in excess humidity and moisture, mold or mildew will not deteriorate your home’s foundation from within.
Even if you live in an area with torrential rainfall and daily hurricane warnings, these cinder blocks can ensure that no drop enters your house, keeping the indoors fresh and clean.
Tips On Concrete Home Building
Let’s say you want to commission professional construction workers to build you a concrete home. In that case, we have some tips that will make your house feel more robust against natural disasters. Don’t forget to mention these when discussing your home’s construction planning with the workers.
Elevate the Base
When there is a storm, there is flooding. And even while you are safe inside your home, many things can go wrong.
For example, rusted rebars can weaken your house’s structural integrity. One way to avoid this is to keep them elevated.
Ask your construction workers to place these cement pillars and walls over 12-foot-long non-metallic structures. The further the cement and concrete are from consistent water, the less likely these foundations are to erode.
Use ICF Materials for Walls
Their interlocking ability makes ICFs the best way to protect house walls. They are water-resistant and come with high durability. As a result, ICF has become more popular than regular concrete, making them a must for future homeowners.
ICF walls have the added benefit of regulating interior temperatures, reducing heating bills, and insulating your house from outside noise.
All in all, concrete and cinder block homes are a great solution to staying safe during hurricanes. These materials are strong, wind-resistant, and easy to maintain. If you are planning to move to coastal areas and want a home fortified against natural disasters, you may want to consider concrete or ICF during your home planning.
Keep these tips in mind for a sturdy home in a hurricane-prone area, and you will have fewer worries when the weather worsens.
- ThoughtCo: Concrete Homes – What the Research Says
- Quora: Can a concrete house survive a category 5 hurricane in the Caribbean?
- The Oklahoman: Concrete blocks provide resistance to high winds
- Paul Cataldo: Can Concrete & ICF Homes Really Survive Hurricanes?
- Home X: Can A Cinder Block House Withstand A Tornado?
- Southern Living: What Does Hurricane Category 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…Mean?
- Debris Impact Testing at Texas Tech University
- Attainable Home: Making Sense Of Climate, Net Zero, And Environmental Terms
- Thackray: TIPS FOR PROTECTING AND STORING YOUR REBAR
- Educalingo: rebar
- Green Building Solutions: How Do You Build a Hurricane-Resistant House?
- ICF Specialist: What is ICF Construction?
- Ozinga: Concrete and Natural Disasters: What You Need to Know
- Nova grappler: The Advantages of Concrete Block Construction in Southwest Florida