Are Barndominiums Hurricane Proof?

If you are considering building a home in hurricane-prone states, you want to be sure it is going to be hurricane-proof.  There are many new housing crazes on the market today from tiny houses to barndominiums.  Barndominiums are a unique combination of a barn and condominium but are they hurricane proof.

Are barndominiums hurricane proof?  If built correctly, the answer is yes, even the ones that are made of wood.  Each barndominium has to be built to codes in the area where they are built.  In this case, they are being built in areas that are hurricane prone so they would have to be built to code to withstand hurricanes.

Read on to see how you can build a hurricane-proof barndominium and the benefits of having hurricane-resistant construction.  By the time you finish reading this article, you will feel secure in your decision to build your barndominium on that plot of land you purchased.

Key Takeaways:

  • A hurricane can be described from Category 1 with 74-95 mph winds to Category 5 with wind speeds of 157 or higher.
  • When building a hurricane-proof barndominium, look for products that have a design pressure (DP) rating of at least 36.
  • Do not build a roof with a shallow or steep slope. Thirty degrees is the ideal slope.
  • Standard barndominium with a steel frame should be able to winds up to 130 mph, but if it is a heavy Category 3, it may experience some exterior damage.
  • A Category 4 with up to 156 mph wind speeds may cause structural damage and pull off siding or sheeting.

Are Barndominiums Hurricane Proof?

Yes, barndominiums are hurricane-proof if they are built correctly and follow the building codes for that particular area.  Even though they are hurricane-proof, they could still suffer structural damage. A barndominium is a durable structure but how durable will depend on the design and the quality of construction.

Are Barndominiums Hurricane Proof

You also need to pay attention to safety concerns such as metal fatigue and corrosion.  They are more resilient to hurricanes than a standard house because most barndominiums are constructed with metal roofing and frames.

A barndominium offers enhanced protection against the strong winds of a hurricane.  They can stand up to winds that are up to 150 mph without any major risks of experiencing damage to the frame, foundation, or exterior.  These winds are what you would find in a Category 4 hurricane although, at times, these winds can reach 156 mph.  They are more likely to survive a Category 4 hurricane than a standard house.  You may see some damage, but it will most likely be the windows.

For windows, the design pressure (DP) rating is what measures its strength so if it has a DP of 15-50.  With a DP of 15, the window can withstand 77 mph wind speeds.  The window may shatter if the wind speeds are higher with that DP.  If the DP is 50, it can stand 173 mph wind speeds.

Benefits of Hurricane Resistant Construction

When using hurricane-resistant construction, this can save you money in the long run.  This type of construction will help to protect your barndominium from natural elements, such as rain, flooding, and winds.

Benefits of Hurricane Resistant Construction

Benefits

  • Combats dangerous mildew and mold—mildew and mold can cause minor to severe health problems like coughing and asthma. It can be difficult to remove these if they start to grow on wood but when using metal or steel structures, there are no porous wood studs to harbor mold or grow mildew.  If there is any mildew, it can be wiped away easily.
  • Quality metal is not damaged by floodwater—if you use a cheap metal or steel frame, there is the risk of corrosion. You should make sure your frame is made from galvanized steel.  When metal frames are exposed to oxygen and moister, they can start to corrode and break down.
  • Metal thwarts warping and rotting—these can happen if you use a wood frame but not if you use a metal or steel frame. If you build using a wood frame, over time if it gets wet, the barndominium can become compromised.  A metal or steel frame is not porous so you do not have to worry about water soaking into it and damaging the structure.
  • Less expensive, faster, and easier to restore or repair—with a metal or steel frame, it is much easier to repair or restore it than if the frame was wood. Even though your barndominium is hurricane-proof, there is a chance there will be some damage to the exterior walls due to flying debris or strong wind gusts so repairs will be faster, not as expensive, and easier to fix.

How Do You Build Hurricane-proof Barndominiums?

To build a hurricane-proof barndominium, you need to make sure that it is constructed properly.  You want your barndominium to have thick walls, high-quality doors and windows, and a strong steel frame.  The weight of the frame will increase the resistance against uplift.  This is the suction that will be created as the gusts of wind hit the side of the barndominium.

How Do You Build Hurricane-proof Barndominiums

Choose Right Foundation

There are several types of foundations from which to choose.  Two of the best to use for a hurricane proof barndominium include:

  • The slab foundation offers great structural integrity. This is a rectangular slab of concrete that is less likely to settle over time.
  • The pier foundation is also suitable for protecting your barndominium against strong winds. It has reinforced concrete piers that go deep in the ground.  The piers give more support to the barndominiums vertical load.

The Slope Of The Roof

In a major hurricane, if your roof has a steep slope, it is less likely to survive.  A tall roof will also receive more pressure from the wind.  This can damage the frame of the roof and the roofing material.  The tallest slope that you would want for your barndominium would be 30 degrees.  This is about equivalent to a 7:12 pitch, which means that for every 12 feet of length, the roof will rise seven feet.

Although a flat root can withstand direct damage that can be caused by strong winds, it could experience uplift near the edges and corners.  As a result, during a hurricane, the material around the sides of the roof could start to pull away from the barndominium.

Right Windows

Standard windows could be shattered with a Category 3 hurricane so make sure that the DP rating is higher than 15.  They should be at least have a DP rating of 35.  The doors should also have the same DP rating.  Try to install impact-resistant windows, which generally have a DP rating of  50.

These types of windows are usually made with two panes of glass that are made with shatter-resistant glass.  If the window is hit with debris, one layer may shatter but the other layer will remain whole.  They are also often built with metal frames, which are a little more expensive but last longer and are stronger.  You can also install hurricane shutters, which when closed protect the windows.  In addition, you can save on your insurance if you have hurricane-resistant windows and doors.

Protection From Water

In a hurricane, you not only have to worry about the strong winds but also the rain.  Hurricanes can produce torrential downpours.  This can increase the risk of water damage and flooding.  You want to make sure at all times your downspouts and gutters are clean.  If they are clogged, the rain could drain down the exterior walls and may find ways to penetrate the interior.

If water does enter the interior, that could cause water damage to the walls, ceilings, interior, and floors.  To give extra protection against the rain, you should install awnings over the doors and windows.  They could also help to shield the doors and windows from flying debris and the wind.

Flying Debris

With the strong hurricane-force winds and rains, you have to watch for flying debris.  These strong winds can send lightweight equipment and heavy branches into the side of your barndominium.  This could damage the roof or dent or puncture the exterior walls.

Make sure that anything that can be lifted and thrown is secured.  This can include lawnmowers, patio furniture, old tires, outdoor toys, wood, and more.  Although you cannot prevent this from happening, some of the debris could come from your neighbors or from miles away.

Additional Protection For Exterior Walls

For the exterior of a barndominium, they often used steel sheets.  Although these sheets can withstand strong winds, the fasteners that were used to secure them to the frame could come undone.  The average steel sheet panel is 1 ½ to 2 inches thick and does offer limited protection against dings and dents.

If you add an extra layer of protection, it could help to shield the sides of your barndominium from strong winds.  You could either add a second layer of steel sheets or use a thicker panel, to begin with.  For optimal protection, these panels should measure at least three inches thick.

Frame Strength

For a hurricane-proof barndominium, the frame should be metal or steel.  Yes, you can use a wood frame but this type of frame is more apt to crack, warp, split, or rot if there is too much pressure on it.  With a metal or steel frame, you need to make sure that it is installed correctly.  You want to make sure that the foot of the frame goes at least 45 inches into the ground.  You also need to ensure you are using the right bracing.

Flood Protection

Before you choose a plot of land on which to build your barndominium, make sure that it is nowhere near water, which includes the ocean or sea.  You want to make sure that you have a proper drainage system even if you are not near the water.  Hurricanes can bring torrential rains.

Conclusion

Are barndominiums hurricane proof? The answer is yes if built correctly but they can still suffer some damage from strong winds and flying debris.  In this article, we have covered just how you can build your barndominium to make it hurricane-proof along with the benefits of Hurricane resistant construction.  With all this knowledge, you can now have a hurricane-proof barndominium built on your piece of land.

James Hall

James Hall

I'm James, your barndominiums advisor. Several years ago, I had no idea what barndominiums were. Although I'd spent over 10 years in the construction industry, the first time I heard about barndominiums was when I saw my neighbor building a new-style home. That was the first barndominium I've ever seen, and I found it so fascinating that I wanted to learn more about them. In my research, I found that there is very little information on barndominiums on the internet. Barndominiumideas.com was started to provide people with information, inspiration and education on building their dream house.

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