With severe weather events rocking the country with increasing frequency in recent years, homeowners are reminded of the importance of protecting their property to withstand the forces of nature. To this effect, not all building materials are created equal, with some doing a better job than others in protecting the home from wind, moisture, fire, and impact damage. Keep reading to discover more information about 7 of the most weather resistant home building materials on the market.
1. ICF Framing
For decades, homes were primarily framed with wood panels made from oriented strand board. While OSB panels have traditionally been the most affordable choice and do the job for new homes, they readily absorb moisture, leading to shrinking and swelling that creates imperfections over time. In addition, they are highly susceptible to pest and fire damage.
As such, with historic weather events destroying neighborhoods across the country, many contractors are bypassing the wood panels and using more durable insulated concrete forms as they build back from the devastation. ICF framing uses continuous double-layer insulation panels, locked in place onsite and reinforced with concrete, to create a completely airtight, water-resistant framing solution that holds up unscathed in the face of even the most severe weather events. In addition, the concrete is completely fire and pest resistant, and its high thermal mass prevents rapid temperature fluctuations during times of extreme weather.
2. Permeable Gravel Driveways
Traditional concrete driveways look good when new, but they are readily damaged by inclement weather. For example, torrential rains can erode the substrate, causing the driveway to crack and buckle. If left unattended, these cracks will expand during freezing and thawing, creating a truly unsightly driveway.
As a result, gravel driveways that use permeable paver grids to hold the gravel in place are gaining popularity in areas of extreme weather. Not only do permeable pavers prevent rutting and clumping--concerns that have traditionally marred gravel driveways--but the natural drainage properties of gravel can be leveraged during times of heavy precipitation, ensuring that the driveway and surrounding landscape maintain their appearance through all seasons.
3. Fiber Cement Siding
Vinyl siding is a popular product in emerging developments because it is affordable and easy to install. However, vinyl planks are easily ripped off during heavy winds, and they become brittle and crack in the face of drastic temperature changes.
Therefore, a better alternative to vinyl siding is fiber cement. Manufactured from a combination of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers, fiber cement siding provides a durable, stylish, and impact resistant cover to your building envelope that will maintain its protective properties for up to 50 years with the proper care.
4. Polished Concrete Floors
Concrete floors have long been a strong choice for schools, warehouses, and other types of commercial buildings. However, thanks to modern finishing techniques, polished concrete is exploding in popularity for residential homes. Sealed to guarantee a nonporous surface, polished concrete floors can be easily cleaned to look like new whenever rain, snow, mud, or any other exterior elements make their way inside. In addition, polished concrete does not harbor dust or allergens should tempestuous winds blow such particles inside.
5. Rainscreen Siding
Areas prone to heavy rainfall require special consideration over more arid regions of the country. For example, it is advisable to add waterproofing membranes to the home’s foundation, as well as damp proof the framing with a water-resistant flashing. Another good idea is to install rainscreen siding in place of traditional wood siding. While giving the appearance of natural wood, rainscreen siding uses custom rainscreening clips that provide a ¾ inch gap between the siding and substrate, creating a barrier that allows moisture to escape and prevents rot and mold formation.
6. Hurricane Grade Storm Windows
The devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian has reminded everyone how powerful the forces of nature can be. And while there may be no way to keep your home from escaping such a severe weather event completely unscathed, it is always a great idea to fortify the areas most susceptible to damage to keep the devastation to a minimum. A great place to start is with the windows. Hurricane grade storm windows use durable steel frames and sashes, coupled with impact-resistant glass, to create windows that can withstand winds up to 250 MPH and projectile impact up to 100 MPH, giving your home the best chance of success to withstand a hurricane, tornado, or any other instance of heavy wind.
7. Vapor Barrier Tape
Vapor barriers are materials added to walls, floors, or ceilings that prevent the diffusion of moisture. Common materials are plastic wraps and foil sheets. While they can be beneficial in preventing unwanted air and moisture buildup that can lead to mold and mildew, there are many instances in which the seams of vapor barriers are not properly sealed, undermining the purpose of the barrier. To alleviate this concern, consider applying a quality vapor barrier tape at all seams and transitions to make the barrier as airtight as possible.
Choose the Best Weather Resistant Materials
Thanks in large part to the phenomena created by climate change, severe weather events can seemingly hit unsuspecting areas of the country at a moment’s notice. To help protect your home should it get caught in the crosshairs, consider using ICF framing, permeable gravel driveways, fiber cement siding, polished concrete floors, rainscreen siding, hurricane grade storm windows, and vapor barrier tape, as they are 7 of the most weather resistant building materials on the market.