The everything-proof hou se
Foundations, which prevent homes from sinking into the ground, typically come in one solid piece. But a vented design lets floodwater pass underneath the living structure, leaving it unaffected. Alternately, mount the house on piles and cover the gaps with breakaway walls, which detach during a flood.
Keep trees at least 20 feet away to protect your home from windborne branches.
3) An Air-Gapped Exterior
Wind and rain drive water up and behind traditional siding, soaking a home’s frame. Solution: Keep an air barrier between the fiber-cement siding panels and the house. If a little rainwater gets past the siding, it will simply drain out through the bottom.
4) Ceramic Windows
In an intense fire, cold water from a firefighter’s hose delivers a thermal shock that shatters traditional windows, feeding oxygen to the flames inside. But clear ceramic windows can withstand temperatures up to 1300°F without expanding or contracting.
TORNADOES SWEEPING THROUGH THE MIDWEST. HURRICANES AND rising sea levels inundating the coasts. Wildfires burning up the Southwest, while blizzards are freezing the North. The environment can, at any time, put your home under siege. But with clever architecture and advanced materials, houses can defend themselves.
Of course, this home, with its mashup of different windows and walls, isn’t particularly realistic. It doesn’t have to be; no part of the United States has to face all of these weather disasters at once. But the technology that went into it is real. So if you’re preparing to batten down every possible hatch, consider incorporating some of these designs.
5) Unsmashable Windows
When struck with high-speed hurricane debris, shatter-resistant polymer layers laminated between the panes allow this glass to act like a car windshield: It might crack but won’t shatter. The material comes in varying strengths—the sturdiest can stop bullets.
6) ...Or Shutters
To protect windows and doors, try storm shutters, particularly retractable ones like you might see over a closed shop. When deployed— either with a motor or by hand—the aluminum slats interlock and fasten along the bottom to create an armored shell. When not in use, they roll into a 6-inch box.
7) Steel Siding
Worried about wildfires? Clad your home’s exterior in fire-resistant panels. By sandwiching closedcell flame-resistant foam inside a metal shell, these siding alternatives keep fire at bay. (They’re great insulators too!)
8) Concrete Wall
For simple fire and wind resistance, no material beats concrete. Of course, natural light is nice, and so are doors. A solid slab of concrete can’t provide that. So, in fire-prone areas, a mix of concrete and steelsiding-covered walls offers a compromise.
In cold regions, most homes have angled roofs with generous overhangs to let snow slide off. Why? On a flat surface, the fluff can melt, refreeze, and thaw again, putting strain on the structure and slowly leaking H2O into your home. To further reduce warm, melt-inducing spots, keep the attic cool: Ventilate it well and insulate it along the floor rather than the rafters.
Your lawn is the unsung hero in the fight to halt wildfires. Plant waterretaining succulents like agave, yucca, and cactuses, and eliminate dry or dead plants near the house. Prune trees at least 6 feet up so smaller branches will be safe from a low spreading fire, and clear away dry, flammable plant materials and mulch.