Seeking shelter from the storm
Dangerous storms pose a serious threat for older homes.
“Older single-wall homes are ill-equipped to handle the impact of a major hurricane,” said Ryan Graham, vice president of operations at Graham Builders. “And older post-and-pier homes sit on grade, meaning they rest on top of the ground.”
Building new structures is can be the best option. “If you’re thinking of piecemeal renovations, you’ll almost certainly spend more money and effort in the long run,” Graham said. “And the longer you wait to rebuild, the more expensive it will be.”
Modern codes require double walls, and new homes must be securely connected from roof to frame to foundation.
Custom design-build firm Graham Builders has constructed many storm shelters. Graham said shelters should follow FEMA guidelines.
“Look for building mass, make sure there’s protection from flying objects, and ensure the shelter is securely fastened to the foundation,” he advised.
Another option is a safe room. Usually made of concrete masonry units, a safe room is a windowless box inside a home that provides shelter from wind-borne projectiles during hurricanes and severe storms.
Safe rooms are often close to the center of the house, away from windows. They should be large enough to hold your entire family and emergency supplies.
A great storm shelter can also be put to work as a functional area. “It’s up to the homeowner to decide which room will serve dual duty,” said Graham. “The majority of our homeowners have decided that their laundry and utility rooms can serve as their safe rooms.”
Founded in 1990, Graham Builders is the only contractor in Hawaii honored by the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Business Ethics. You’re welcome to attend Graham Builders’ free “Building Your Home for Life” seminar on Nov. 2 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Honolulu Country Club. Register at grahambuilders.com or call 593-2808.
ADDRESS 1144 Young St., Honolulu