Market Overview

IBHS: The Untold Story of Hurricane Harvey

Share:

IBHS Publishes Post-Disaster Report on Wind Damage where Hurricane
Harvey Blasted Ashore along the Texas Coastal Bend

If you live where the wind gets mean, you need to know how to defend
your home. Shutter or protect all your doors and windows, deeply anchor
any structures attached to your home, and make good choices about the
roof design and covering that protect your home or business. These and
other guidance emerged from a post-disaster
study
conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home
Safety (IBHS).

Hurricane Harvey will be remembered as an epic flooding disaster – and
rightly so. But there is more to the story of this brutal hurricane.
Along the well-loved Gulf shores of the Texas Coastal Bend, Harvey's
fierce Category 4 winds delivered a massive blow to an area that is
still recovering nearly one year later. The IBHS report chronicled the
damage, provided quantitative data that researchers can use, and
resulted in strong advice to homeowners still rebuilding now.

"Key findings in this report will guide home repair, roofing and
construction considerations for years to come in wind-prone and wind
damaged communities," said Roy E. Wright, IBHS president and CEO. "The
decisions we make as we build or repair our homes – and even as we
prepare to evacuate them – can make an enormous difference in whether we
have a home to return to after the storm passes."

Lead study author Tanya M. Brown-Giammanco, PhD., IBHS vice president,
research, shares findings which include:

  • Although asphalt shingles are the most popular form of roof cover –
    used on 85 percent of the 213 houses studied – more than half the
    homes assessed had lost shingles, and many of those suffered further
    underlayment or structural damage.

"Beneath the shingles on roofs, are sheets of plywood or other roof
decking materials. To allow for expansion and contraction as
temperatures change, these sheets usually have a gap between them. IBHS
recommends sealing this gap with special tape or other material because
when shingles are torn off in a storm, your house essentially becomes an
open bucket for the rain, which enters through all the gaps,"
Brown-Giammanco said.

Other findings:

  • Nearly a quarter of the attached structures surveyed – such as
    porches, sunrooms, and pool cages – were damaged by the storm, often
    becoming the culprit in further damage to the main house structure.
  • Unprotected doors were damaged up to six times more frequently than
    protected doors. Of all the doors assessed, sliding glass doors fared
    the worst, with up to 60 percent damaged regardless of protection.
  • Covering doors and windows with shutters or even plywood helps reduce
    wind damage and water intrusion but works best if ALL doors and
    windows are protected, not just the side facing the water.
  • Hip roofs, which are more aerodynamic than gable end roofs, were
    damaged less frequently.
  • Single garage doors failed more often than double garage doors.

"The findings on garage doors are consistent with other recent studies
following severe wind events, but this is an area where we hope to
conduct further lab studies to determine why a smaller single garage
door fails more readily that larger double size doors," Brown-Giammanco
said. "Regardless, reinforcing garage doors and buying the strongest
wind-rated door available are smart moves because once a garage door
fails, major damage to the home and roof is often inevitable due to the
wind pressure that can get into the house."

And finally:

  • The highest wind speeds did not always correlate with the highest
    damage frequencies. The influence of building age and the residential
    building code in effect at the time of construction, construction
    type, and exposure also contributed to damage frequencies and
    sometimes outweighed the wind speed effects.

"The take-away here is that the newer homes, built to modern codes
generally fared better than older, weaker buildings," Brown-Giammanco
said. "Texas does not have a statewide building code, or enforcement
standards to ensure codes in place are followed. However, Texans can
choose to build stronger homes, following voluntary resilience standards
set forth in the IBHS
FORTIFIED Home® program
. If the homes and businesses we investigated
had been built to more resilient standards, recovery in these wonderful
communities would not have been as painful or as prolonged. We urge
homeowners to look at the science and make the choice to build stronger
as they repair or replace their homes in this special part of Texas."

Guidance
on how to strengthen your property and prepare for fierce summer storms
is available at no charge from IBHS, along with numerous resources to
help homeowners and business owners prepare their properties for hurricanes
and other severe
summer storms
.

About the Insurance Institute for Business &
Home Safety (IBHS)

IBHS' mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to
identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses
and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss.

View Comments and Join the Discussion!