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What's a Wind Load?
Preventing wind damage involves strengthening areas where
things could come apart. The walls, roof and foundation must
be strong, and the attachments between them must be strong
and secure. For a home to resist hurricane and weak tornadic
winds, it must have a continuous load path from the roof to the
foundation -- connections that tie all structural parts together
and can resist types of wind loads that could push and pull on
the house in a storm.
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Imagine turning your house upside down and shaking it.
That is essentially the kind of stress that hurricane force winds
put on a house. The weak link in the load path is what’s most
likely to fail. Wind exerts three types of forces on your home:
(Figure 1, Load Forces on House)
LaHouse Storm Shelter
Uplift load - Wind flow pressures that create a strong
lifting effect, much like the effect on airplane wings.
Wind flow under a roof pushes upward; wind flow over
a roof pulls upward.
Shear load – Horizontal wind pressure that could
cause racking of walls, making a house tilt.
Lateral load – Horizontal pushing and pulling pressure
on walls that could make a house slide off the
foundation or overturn.
Rising Above Flood
The actual effects of these wind forces on houses depend on
their design, construction and surroundings. Among other
things, high wind pressures tend to collapse garage doors,
window units and patio doors, rip off roofing and roof decking
and destroy gable end walls. Roof overhangs, awnings,
porches and other features that tend to trap air beneath them,
Figure 1, Load Forces on House
resulting in high uplift forces, are particularly susceptible to
damage. In addition, broken windows and doors can expose
your home to serious damage from internal wind pressures and water entry.
point of contact
Reichel, Claudette H.
Check the wind zone of your location (see Geographic Basics), and use the protections that will help your
home resist the design wind speed of your region or of a region closer to the coast. Louisiana’s coastline
is receding, which means many south Louisiana homes are getting closer to open water.
Last Updated: 6/15/2012 4:10:45 PM
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