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Read our client’s story about their new home built to stand up against hurricanes. With all the devastation that Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria have caused, we think the timing of sharing this article is perfect. While there is no way to build a completely hurricane resistant homes, there are some construction techniques, such as timber frame construction, that can give you more assurance that your home will have a better chance of surviving a major storm. 

Ed and Lexy’s dream began with tragedy. The home where they had raised their two daughters and spent thirteen years of marriage together was destroyed when Hurricane Hugo hit the South Carolina coast in 1989. Vowing to rebuild, Ed started researching construction methods that would survive a hurricane should another one sweep up the coast. They discovered the harsh truth: “Even with all the modern technology available, you can’t build a hurricane-proof house, ” says Ed. However, it is possible to minimize how much a hurricane can impact a house, and, Ken McDowell, who Ed describes as “the guiding light in the whole process,” stepped in as the project’s engineer to accomplish just that. According to Ken, there were only two ways to build a home with an open floor plan that could withstand a Category 4 or 5 storm, use steel or build a timber frame. “Steel just wouldn’t give us the look we wanted,” Ed says. 

Dense Select Structural Douglas fir timbers were used for the frame because this grade adds 30% in bending stress, which allows the completed timber frame skeleton to resist the force of high winds. While traditional timber frame structures use wooden joinery and oak pegs to the fasten the frame, we used reinforced metal joinery to increase the storm resistance of the structure, and simply hit it so that it wouldn’t detract from the beauty of wood. 

The timber frame was designed with bay ties extending over the great room cathedral area straight through to the prow-style front. Timber posts were installed between the windows in the prow for support, and steel straps extend from the gable rafters to the first floor to protect against uplift and lateral sheer. 

Ed is glad he conceded, because the new staircase revealed the perfect spot to place the sound system and bar! Both music lovers, Lexy in particular is an accomplished soprano singer and pianist who entertains their frequent guests on the baby grand piano in the loft. The 1×8 knotty pine T&G ceilings, cork flooring and the open floor plan contribute to exceptional acoustics. 

Energy-efficient, low maintenance building materials, including structural insulated panels (SIPS, Loewen Stormforce windows and doors, polypropylene fiberglass siding, white concrete roof shingle panels and the Humidistad humidity control system ensure the home will be able to stand up to the harsh coastal elements.

Ed planned almost every aspect of this gorgeous beach timber frame home with the vision of spending the rest of their lives there, but even he is overwhelmed at perfectly it turned out. Waking up to this view every day is more than just a day at the beach, it’s the fulfillment of a dream. 

Interested in learning more about the strength of our timber frame homes? Call us today at 800.636.0993.

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