A structural building engineer or architectural engineer can help you decide the type of reinforcement your house structure may need to strengthen it against heavy winds, storm surges, rapidly moving water, and flooding. However, no one can say for sure what will happen because the length and intensity of the storm cannot be accurately predicted. Most existing structures can be reinforced to protect against structure shift. However, some reinforcement methods are easier to implement when you are building or remodeling a house. Before reinforcing a house structure, contact your local building inspectors and code officials. Your community may have special regulations in place.
There are many other ways of strengthening and reducing the risk to a structure of shifting on its foundation. These methods reduce the risk but may not prevent damage when fast moving water, wave action, debris, and winds create pressures on the structure. Obtain additional information from FEMA, American Red Cross, and the Institute of Business and Home Safety, and from engineers who specialize in building structures.
NOTE: If your home is located in a flood velocity or V zone, the threat to the home is high velocity water and wave action that can cause structural damage. For V zones, home relocation is suggested. If relocation is not possible, elevation is recommended. To find out more about moving or elevating your home, refer to Relocating Your Home or Elevating Your Home. You may also wish to read Above the Flood: Elevating Your Floodprone House, FEMA publication 347, May 2000.
To find out your flood risk and zones, go to FloodSmart.gov and click on What's Your Flood Risk?. For more information on recommendations for your zip code area, visit the Fortified for Safer Living resource at the Institute of Business and Home Safety.
Additional information on how to protect your house from flood, wave, and wind forces.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. Home Builder's Guide to Coastal Construction. Asphalt Shingle Roofing for High-Wind Regions. Technical Fact Sheet #20, Aug. 2005.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. Home Builder's Guide to Coastal Construction.Storm-Resistant Roofing.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction. Use of Connectors and Brackets. Technical Fact Sheet #17.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction. Roof Sheathing Installation. Technical Fact Sheet #18.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. Home Builder's Guide to Coastal Construction. Roof Underlayment for Asphalt Shingle Roofs. Technical Fact Sheet #19.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding chapters 3 and 7.
Parker, D. (2006). Post-Hurricane Opportunities. Hurricane Season. Home Energy, pp. 38-40.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Durability by Design: A Guide for Residential Builders and Designers.