Pause, repeat after me: Brick constructions have resisted the effects of storms, tornadoes, strong winds, hail, and torrential rain for millennia. When utilized in combination with new construction rules, brick homes can survive while others on the same block are demolished.
Brick buildings have been used for thousands of years and have withstood many natural disasters over that time. Not only are they the most energy-efficient building material available, but they also require very little maintenance. If you want your home to be able to survive a tornado, then a brick house is the way to go!
A tornado will destroy a brick home. A large enough tornado will destroy anything above ground. Brick and concrete homes will survive stronger winds than most wood buildings, but storm damage is determined by the kind and quality of construction, as determined by municipal building rules. The National Weather Service issues warnings for tornadoes; if a warning is issued for your area, take action immediately!
Brick houses were once the majority in the United States, but now account for only 9% of all housing units. Most brick homes are split levels or ranch homes with some extras such as porches or garages. These additional features provide more space inside relative to the size of the house, which means less damage in case of an emergency.
Concrete buildings are more common today, with almost 80% of all housing being made of this material. Concrete buildings can be seen anywhere from small cabins to large warehouses, but they all have one thing in common: strong resistance to destruction by wind. This is because concrete has many layers of strength that prevent it from breaking down like wood does. A tornado cannot blow down a concrete building, so you have no need to fear damage from this intense weather phenomenon.
The type of siding on a house determines how strong it is against wind. If a house has vinyl siding, it is not considered a durable material and will come off of the house during high winds.
In general, single-story homes—many of which are brick-clad—outperform their two-story wood counterparts. Tornadoes may exert tremendous force on a structure. Unreinforced brick chimneys, on the other hand, performed badly. Brick is heavy and solid, which makes it resistant to damage caused by wind. Chimneys may collapse during a tornado, causing serious injury or death.
The best protection against harm from flying debris is to avoid exposure to tornadic conditions. But if you must be out in stormy weather, stay away from windows, and protect yourself with a sturdy shelter.
Shelters can save your life in a tornado, but they cannot replace prudent building design. The National Weather Service recommends that people not build permanent shelters as their primary home structure because they are expensive to build and not all families will need one. Instead, use the shelter as an additional room or area to go if necessary.
People often ask me if they should board up their homes when a tornado threatens. The short answer is yes, you should try to find some way to cover up any broken glass, trees, etc. This will help keep you and others safe if there is a tornado warning in place. But only do this if you have time; otherwise, you might end up making things worse by blocking off outside doors that could help people escape if the house is spared by the storm.
A powerful enough hurricane will destroy almost anything above ground. A brick home in Corpus Christi, Texas, for example, would be at much greater risk from Hurricane Harvey than a similar house made of wood.
The type of window used in a house has an effect on how strong a hurricane must be to break it. Glass windows are extremely fragile and should never be placed over glass doors or even wooden frames because they can be broken easily when the door is opened or closed. Wooden windows cannot be destroyed by wind, but they can be damaged by heavy rain and flying debris. The type of foundation also plays a role: brick or stone foundations are more resistant to damage than dirt ones. But all things being equal, a wooden house will usually be more vulnerable to wind damage than a brick one.
That said, a hurricane's wind speed is only one factor that determines how much damage it will cause. Its path toward land, its proximity to buildings, the amount of rainfall it produces, and many other factors come into play as well. For example, Hurricane Andrew was a very strong storm that caused a great deal of damage when it hit South Florida in 1992. But because it hit during daylight hours with no precipitation reported, few people were killed.
A foundation sunk deep into the earth supports the floor, walls, and ceiling. I wouldn't feel comfortable in any of these saferooms after witnessing personally the atomic blast-like carnage that a tornado can create. So, no. It might blow some bricks off the wall and break windows, but it won't destroy the interior structure.
The best way to protect your belongings is through disaster preparedness. Having an emergency plan in place will help ensure that you take care of one another if a natural disaster strikes. In addition, having essential documents on hand such as health records, birth certificates, and insurance papers will make your recovery that much faster once the storm has passed.
Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change. By preparing now, you'll be better able to deal with those events when they do occur.
Because brick structures do not require inner walls, they were mostly employed in industries and warehouses where big open areas are advantageous. There is no framing or sill in a brick structure. The joists are suspended over large cross beams that are tenoned directly into the masonry. The spaces between the bricks or tiles are filled with mortar.
Brick houses were popular from about 1750 to 1850. At this time, the majority of homes built in the United States were made of brick or stone. Wood was used instead for new construction or when building close to a heat source such as a fire wall or underground spring. As plumbing became available after 1800, so too did the need for separate kitchen and bathroom facilities. These needs could be met by adding on rooms or remodeling existing buildings, but not by replacing them with wooden structures.
The main advantage of brick is its appearance. Brick adds style to a home exterior while also providing thermal mass for lower heating bills. It can also be more durable than wood over time. However, brick does not protect against wind-borne particles such as sand and rain which can damage interior surfaces if unaddressed. Also, brick is labor intensive to build and can cost more than other materials.
Wood is the most common house frame material in America. It is easy to work with, relatively inexpensive, and very strong.