Typhoon-proofing has been the talk of the town again as the country sustained extensive damage from the recent natural disasters. On social media, experts are sharing tips on securing the home against strong winds. In various blogs, you see pieces of advice to prevent property destruction from floodwaters. While you can certainly add storm doors and sandbags in your home, nothing beats crafting a house plan specifically designed to weather typhoons in reducing property damage during disasters.
Thankfully, one of the internet’s most celebrated architects, Oliver Austria aka Pinoy Architect, has given us a peek into what a typhoon-proof home looks like in his latest vlog.
If you’re planning to build a new house, you may want to include these elements, as seen in Austria’s channel:
One of the common problems during typhoons is roofs coming off because of strong winds. Without covering, the interiors can easily become drenched by rainwaters. To avoid this problem, Austria recommends using metal roof fasteners in securing the roof. The vertical spacing between these screws must be 50 to 60 centimeters, while 20 centimeters horizontally.
It’s also important to clean the gutters of the roof regularly, especially before a typhoon hits. Leaves and other debris can get trapped in these areas, causing obstruction to the rainwater flow. When there’s too much water in your gutters, that can lead to leaks on the ceiling and other property damage, which, for sure, you wouldn’t want in the middle of a disaster.
Elevated Living Space
It’s no secret that the floods in the Philippines can reach as high as the ceiling of the first floor of a typical house. For this reason, Austria designed the property in such a way that the actual living space of the home was in an elevated area. Its height from the ground stretches for three meters. On the side of the house, you’ll find the stairs to reach the main living space.
The open, empty “first floor” can serve as a multi-purpose area: a place to park the car or cultivate a garden. If you’ll be making this your family home, you can use this as an outdoor play zone for your kids.
Going to the second floor of Austria’s typhoon-proof house, which is the main living space, you will find a balcony complete with a few outdoor furnishings. A net hangs above it with some greenery, serving as the shade in the space. But this is no ordinary balcony as it forms part of the disaster-resilient feature of the house.
During typhoons, homeowners can pull up the entire deck, folding it into the exterior of the home. This makes the house sealed from the rising waters and raging winds outside.
On the sides of the shipping container Austria used as the main structure of the house, there are rollers, which allowed the home to move up or “float” when floodwaters rise during typhoons. The structure can climb up to five meters, according to the architect.
Although it’s rare for floodwaters in the country to rise up to this level, residents living in this home can rest assured that they will be safe nonetheless. The actual home is likewise secure as it’s fastened to a strong, solid post.
Windows are often the source of leaks during typhoons. This is the reason, Austria said, he minimized the number of such fixtures in his typhoon-proof home. All the same, he provided tips in reducing the likelihood of leaks in windows.
Applying silicone sealant around the windows can keep moisture and water out of the home. Austria advises using a caulking gun in sealing up these fixtures. It’s also best to have a slope structure in the windowsill, so that waters coming in would naturally slide outside.
Inside Austria’s typhoon-proof home, you’ll find a lot of free space, thanks to clever storage solutions. For instance, the sleeping area is well-kept in a Murphy bed. The dining space is also a pull-out, with the tables and chairs hidden in the walls. With this, homeowners have a lot of free space they can use to bring the outdoor furniture in. No more flying patio chairs or throw pillows during the typhoons.
Giving a rough estimate of the cost of such a house design, Austria said that it can go up to P510,000, excluding the lot. While it certainly comes with a huge price tag, it can save a lot in the long run, as it reduces the risk of property damage. It may actually save more, as it can save lives. A typhoon-proof house is worth the price. On your home build, consider adding the elements that will strengthen your home against strong typhoons.