We all saw it coming. Yep, that pesky little thing called climate change has increased the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Why? Because increasing global surface temperatures mean 1. more water vapor evaporating into the atmosphere, becoming fuel for more powerful storms to develop—including increased wind speeds—and 2. rising sea levels, leading to more flooding in previously-unaffected areas.
While we’re not here to debate whether climate change is fictitious or point fingers as to the cause, the reality is this: storms and other disasters are happening more frequently and this means higher costs for average people as a result.
How? Well, you wind up paying for the cost of rebuilding (ouch). You might say “Well, not to worry Scott, I’ve got insurance.” Unfortunately for everyone who believes that insurance is a failsafe, costs for that are on the rise. Companies charge you more and more, and cover less and less given the rising expanse of flood, fire, seismic, hurricane and other storm-category zones.
Now, before you succumb to that overwhelming sense of hopelessness, there is an alternative. Building with resiliency-certified materials not only lowers insurance costs, but it also means you’ll likely have to claim insurance far less.
That’s right; despite the fact that storms are increasing and causing significant damage, and that—simply put—common materials aren’t good enough, there are alternatives available that will safeguard you against those obnoxious and potentially devastating disasters to begin with.
Building Materials Designed for Disaster
Building materials that are designed for disaster are the best way to get ahead of the curveball. Here are some of the common damages natural disasters can wreak on structures like commercial buildings and homes—and how these materials provide peace of mind.
Traditional stick frame buildings are extremely flammable. Because they catch fire easily and burn fast, oftentimes homeowners get out with only the clothes on their backs. Additionally, burning drywall emits harmful chemical fumes, including toxins and hydrogen sulfide gas. So long, brain cells.
With a fire-resistant product, not only is there generally more time to get people and important belongings out, the odds of saving your home are better. Why? Because there’s more time for firefighters to arrive and put out the flames before any more damage is done.
ZS2 TechBoard (left) and OSB sheathing vs. 1,500 degree Celsius propane torch.
Water damage is a serious issue, especially in hurricane and flood zones. In order to prevent it, mold resistance is key. While drywall absorbs a ton of water—meaning there’s no real way to save it after it’s wet—building materials like TechBoard aren’t damaged when wet, with no mold, mildew or other ill effects. How do we know? We submerge TechBoard for 48 hours during our water-related testing.
In order to prevent structural damage from the force of a hurricane or earthquake, it’s important to look at your building material’s flexural strength rating — that’s how far a material can bend before snapping. While the flexural strength of standard drywall is 62 lbf, TechBoard is >200 lbf. That’s like comparing a piece of chalk to a garden hose. Not to mention the increased strength from a cementitious material for resistance against projectiles!
No, You Don’t Need to Start from Scratch
I have a feeling you’re wondering, and the answer is no, you don’t necessarily need to start from scratch in order to reap the benefits of designed-for-disaster building materials. That’s because you can increase your home’s resistance with retrofit cladding or a curtain wall system. And—it really must be your lucky day—we’re about to release TechClad, a new siding product that’s ideal for hail, hurricanes, and other storms.
The cherry on top of all the benefits listed above is that these building materials are also eco-friendly, providing a low-carbon footprint while also being affordable and easy to install.
Ultimately, whether you’re doing a new build or a retrofit, storm frequency is increasing, which means preparation is key to your financial and familial security. This doesn’t mean you need to freak out and break the bank—just be smart about the building materials you choose from the get go.