There are ways to build conventional homes that are highly tornado
resistant. Here in Oklahoma, in the middle of tornado alley, there
are stories on TV every so often about it. It involves extensive
structural reinforcement. Of course the price is higher, but if
you get hit by a tornado it is well worth it.
As far as moving expensive equipment to the basement. Very
few homes around here have basements. And then there is the
problem of time. If you have 15 minutes warning that a
tornado is coming you are lucky. That gives you time to
hunker down in your safe room, if you have one. And sometimes
there is essentially no warning, a tornado may unexpectedly
develop right where you are.
Personally I want to build a concrete home. Then the whole
house is a safe room.
On Fri, 19 Aug 2016 09:18:56 -0700 (PDT), Cindy Hamilton
Concrete is a bargain if it stays standing and wood collapses. ICF
construction is becoming very common and affordable - and the wood you
are getting from Canada you are pretty much "stealing".
As for the gamble - LIFE is a gamble - and the chance of winning the
Tornado lottery in places like Kansas and Oklahoma long term are
pretty poor. Kinda like the hurricane lotto in Florida and Louisiana -
or the wildfire loto in the canyon country of souther California.
Build it as if you KNOW you are going to get hit.
Steel reinforced conrete homesare good to around 300 MPH winds, resist fires, and could probably be made at least partially flood resistant...
given the severity of weather building codes need to be updated
If you build on a hill instead of on a flat plain they are
inherently flood resistant. But it costs more to lay out
a development on hills. And you have to make sure the
hill won't slide out from under you.
our house is mostly made of wood, but has a strong
central core (stone/masonry). also it is a hexagon
had a small tornado go through the neighborhood a
few summers ago. neighbors lost garages and some
roofing, trees down, etc. our place did not have any
damage at all. most the time the house will shake a
little bit once the winds get above 60mph but that
day it didn't shake much at all so i wasn't
particularly worried. only to look out after the
worst was past did i see the neighbor's garage missing.
a more direct hit likely would have had some
Wood is less expensive. Safe rooms can be built for just a few
thousand dollars, and most people aren't able or willing to spend even
I visited a friend in Illinois who took me to a new subdivision that
featured a few tornado-hardened homes made out of concrete. They were
massive, but still conventionally designed (square/rectangular). I've
read a lot of articles on how concrete dome structures are the most
resistant to high winds/tornadoes. Problem is, we're not accustomed to
the dome home aesthetic, so it's hard getting approval by local
governments and mortgage lenders. They're afraid neighbors will
complain and the property won't have much resale value compared to
Basements aren't always safe havens. People and property have been
sucked out of basements after the tornado took the house off its
foundation. And there's an average of fifteen minutes warning of a
tornado, and the warning area is generally county-wide. That means
most of the warned area will not actually be hit by the tornado, which
is why people generally don't take tornado warnings seriously
unless/until they see one coming.
It's a matter of balancing risk vs cost. And every time a local
authority considers changing the local codes to require structures to
have improved wind resistance, the developers complain about the added
cost. It will probably take the insurance industry to force widescale
change - if their costs due to wind damage become too excessive,
they'll raise policy costs to the point where homeowners will have an
economic incentive to choose wind-hardened homes, or to pay for
retrofitting their existing homes.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.