But extreme weather, like any extreme conditions, call for more attention to detailing in house construction.For example, in Utah we often don’t overstress if the window flashing isn’t put on just right, or the French drain was installed without a slope to daylight – because the precipitation generally comes in the form of snow, which then melts in a civilized manner and either slowly replenishes the ground water, or makes its way tidily out the gutters to the replenish the Great Salt Lake.But this year, April had 200% of rainfall, the mountains have almost 200% of normal snowpack, and we are heading into June – which can get real hot, real fast.This is likely to result in streams overflowing their banks into those starter castle homes, and pouring down the middle of downtown Salt Lake City streets.It has happened before, with much less snowpack.
|credit: Insurance Institute for Business|
and Home Safety
So do we build or remodel for this seemingly one-time possibility (though the last time was in 1983, still within the lifetime of a house), pay for flood insurance or pay for the repair when the basement floods? How much would it have cost to build in some disaster resistance? I’m all for paying up front and getting the peace of mind, but that is easy for me to say – since I would have the resources to develop the specs and quality control the work. Or, I could log onto the Fortified for Safer Living website and dial in my zip code for specific Fortified requirements.
It doesn’t even need to be a major disaster to cause loss of sleep. Just a few weeks ago, we had a tornado warning in town. The calm between the high winds was spooky, but it was the blasting winds which knocked a rotting branch down onto the roof that was of greater concern. It tore off some shingles and bent a gutter, both of which are now potential rain intrusions. Then we had rolling thunder which sounded like the skies had succumbed to a gut wrenching cough, and shook the very structure of this house to the point of some windows rattling loose and breaking a window pane. And then there has been the vertical rain which crept under the window sill onto the floor…