Storm-proofing a high-performance home – Ideas?
CZ6, Ottawa Ontario
On Friday the 21st, Ottawa/Gatineau (Canada’s National Capital Region) was hit by three tornadoes that did considerable damage (EF3) to the affected areas and caused widespread power outages. Killer tornadoes are not common around here, but as the builder of a new home I’m wondering how I can effectively “toughen” the structure without compromising its energy efficiency.
A few questions:
1. Bonded Sheathing. Can OSB or plywood sheething be bonded to exterior wall studs to increase racking strength? I ask because AFAIK there is supposed to be a 1/8″ gap left at panel edges for expansion/contraction. Would construction adhesive between the sheething and studs be an issue?
2. Hurricane Ties (for roof truss to top plate). Traditional ties can be difficult to air seal. Timberlok truss screws seem like a much better solution from an air sealing perspective. I don’t believe either are required in my area but I’d like to give the roof some extra security. Are there other options I should know of?
3. Tension Cables. These are cables anchored into the foundation through the sill plate and extend up through the walls all the way to the top plate of the upper most floor. Tension in the cables keeps the top plate secured firmly to the wall. Good idea? Bad idea? Is there a better or more practical solution that’s less invasive to the wall?
4. Window Security Film. Security films can increase a window’s penetration resistance by a pretty large margin, which could help in defending against airborne debris. Our climate zone dictates high performance windows with high performance coatings. Could the application of an interior or exterior side security film affect the performance of the glass package?
5. Backup Generator. Do you think the added cost of an inverter generator is worth it mainly for backup use? I was looking at something like the Honda EU7000i ES. I’ll need a decent generator on site while building and I’d like to buy once, so something that can run a powerful dense-packing cellulose blower as well as serve as home backup would be nice. A nice-to-have would be the option to run on propane or natural gas, but I have not come across such a unit.
Any other tips or tricks to making a more storm resistant structure? I’m not going to build with ICF, the cost is way too high.
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