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Building the Ultimate Safe House 289

Posted by timothy
from the don't-forget-the-toilet-paper dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Candace Jackson writes that an increasing number of home builders and buyers are looking for a new kind of security: homes equipped to handle everything from hurricanes, tornadoes and hybrid superstorms like this week's Sandy, to man-made threats ranging from home invasion to nuclear war. Fueling the rise of these often-fortresslike homes are new technologies and building materials—which builders say will ultimately be used on a more widespread basis in storm- and earthquake-threatened areas. For example, Alys Beach, a 158-acre luxury seaside community on Florida's Gulf Coast, has earned the designation of Fortified...for safer living® homes and is designed to withstand strong winds. The roofs have two coats of limestone and exterior walls have 8 inches of concrete, reinforced every 32 inches for 'bunkerlike' safety, according to marketing materials. Other builders are producing highly hurricane-proof residences that are circular in shape with 'radial engineering' wherein roof and floor trusses link back to the home's center like spokes on a wheel, helping to dissipate gale forces around the structure. Deltec, a North Carolina–based builder, says it has never lost a circular home to hurricanes in over 40 years of construction. But Doug Buck says some 'extreme' building techniques don't make financial sense. 'You get to a point of diminishing returns,' says Buck. 'You're going to spend so much that honestly, it would make more sense to let it blow down and rebuild it.''
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Building the Ultimate Safe House

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  • by baffled (1034554) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @08:49AM (#41863833)

    Reinforced concrete easily beats wood-frame in strength, fire, and flood-induced mold-resistance. Find a specialist to use GFRP concrete reinforcement if you want it to last centuries. Insulate with foam for water resistance, or mineral wool if you can find a contractor for it. Look at composite or metal form deck roofing for concrete strength above your head, too. You probably want a commercial contractor if you're going all out. Find an architect that knows what they're doing. For windows, you'll want them with a minimal length in at least one dimension - short in width or height, to be secure in hurricane conditions. Even then, you'd need a specialty product if you want to resist a 2x4 flying edge-first into the window. And of course, you need high ground, a well, and a generator.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @09:06AM (#41863891)

    He told me how they used reinforced concrete (iirc, rebar laced/laden), & the wildest part that got me, was they didn't use bolts to anchor the wall frames, but rather some sort of straps (personally, I'd have used BOTH, but money talk$).

    (This was done in the interests of withstanding tropical storms...)

    * Operating from memory on this, but that's what I recall from the conversation...

    What "blows my mind", is this: I've been to Europe & saw castles that have stood for 2-3 thousand years, & touched their mortar. Guess what? It's STILL solid as the day it cured & dried... tells me a lot, right there - they didn't "skimp" on using the right amount of lime in it (vs. overdoing the sand part to save a buck).

    The homes I saw in Poland were amazing too - they aren't little "wooden toothpick boxes", but instead, built almost SOLELY of cinder blocks filled with stones & concrete - then, they are overlaid with foam insuluation from the outside ontop of that, then a coating of some sort of veneer (cement type).

    I walked around and unlike homes in the U.S., where the floors 'shudder' when I walk (I weigh ~ 220 lbs)? These homes were SOLID AS A ROCK - no perceptible movement @ all, even in the UPPER floors!

    They are just built, better... better than most homes I've seen in the USA, including mine.

    APK

    P.S.=> He's been a "journeyman" carpenter in the unions for 18++ yrs. now...

    ... apk

  • by barefoot_professor (2655607) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @09:59AM (#41864093)
    A monolithic dome [monolithic.com] has been on my to do list for awhile now . . .

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