Tornado-Proof Your Home

Monday, April 7th 2008, 6:37 pm
By: News On 6

A local homebuilder says there's a very simple way to make your home more tornado-proof. But, The News On 6's Steve Berg reports, very few people do it.

In a storm, the survival of a $500,000 house might come down to 50 cent clips.

"Lowe's you can buy them; about 50, 51 cents a shot. And it's going to cost you about $500 in labor to put it in," said Bill Rhees with BMI Properties.

Homebuilder Bill Rhees started putting in the roof straps on his new constructions about 10 years ago. And he combines that with anchor bolts in the foundation. They're more commonplace along the coasts in hurricane country. But, he says they can obviously come in handy in tornado country too.

"You're talking anywhere from 80 to 120 mile an hour wind resistance. Any more than that, and I'm not sure the structure would stand up anyway," said Rhees.

But, that's good enough for everything up to and including most F-2 tornadoes; or put another way, about 75% of all tornadoes. And that's assuming a direct hit. So, why do so few houses have them?

"Lack of knowledge is part of it. I think every homebuyer out there that's going to have a custom home built ought to ask their builder to put these things in," said Rhees.

Cost is a factor too, especially in smaller construction with slimmer profit margins. But, Rhees says when you start talking about replacing roofs, walls and belongings, $1,000 or so, starts to look small.

"In the overall scheme of things, it's not that expensive," said Rhees.

To get the most out of the wind protection, you have to have both the roof clips and the anchor bolts in the foundation.

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