Also, here is a SIPs website that gives examples of their homes surviving natural disasters (w/ pictures):
Coldwell Banker Residential
That Insulated Concrete looks interesting but what material is on the outside of the house? It seems like most prefer the CBS but, where does does brick rate? And if CBS or brick framing is used, what's between it and the drywall? Insulation, studs?
I see metal for it's life expectancy & wind resistance but my 1st thought was a metal roof in the middle of Lighting Central didn't sound like such a great idea. As for roof ties, it's impossible to know what's there unless it's new construction, which for some reason I hadn't really considered buying until now, thanks!
What are "window coverings"exactly?
Where can I find resources online about building a hurricane safe house including different storm shutter systems as well as a summary of the building code improvements since hurricane Andrew?
Your concerns are real but not overwhelming when you consider that all newer construction in Florida must be built to the highest building code. Beyond this, it's a matter of preference. Others may disagree but we would rate metal, tile, & asphalt roofing in that order. Many new constructions are now going with metal roofing because of its longevity as well as wind resistance.
A home inspector will be able to answer your questions about the window issue. We would suggest that HIW's aren't absolutely essential when the home is equipped with a good storm shutter system to protect your home during the storm season.
We would also recommend making sure you keep an eye out for wood destroying organisms and mold, even with newer construction. We have seen brand new homes with attic mold issues that needed to be addressed prior to closing. Again, a good home inspection will be able to identify any potential problems prior to taking ownership.
Because of the weather extremes and WDO's we would recommend avoiding a home that is built as a total wood construction. In our opinion, to do so would invite a higher percentage chance for future problems.
Best wishes with your search. You are asking the right questions at the right time.
The Eckler Team
Impact windows are expensive and you find them in upscale neighborhoods. It saves you the work of installing shutters when a storm is approaching. The more important issue is when was the property built? Building codes were updated after Andrew blew into South Florida. As building codes improved, all construction improved its ability to withstand a major storm.
Interesting note, if you are looking at a property with a pool and screen enclosure, you can tell when it was built. As building codes changed, the construction of the screen room improved as well. The crossbeams became wider, the rivits became more numerous and then added reinforceing plates.
The real answer is the later the home is built, the better the building code and safer the property.
I really hope this helps!
Coldwell Banker Residential
One thing I would consider for roofing would be life expectancy. The florida sun is hot. It can bake good asphalt shingles long before they would die up north. I would look into buying a metal roof. Make sure you look at the thickness. Some are made cheaply and sell for less money.