5 Weatherproofing Strategies for Florida Buildings

Florida is known for its beautiful coastlines and unpredictable weather forecasts. When planning a new development or renovating an existing building, there are several factors to consider to ensure longevity and durability. We’ve organized a list of five essential weatherproofing tips every developer should consider when planning a new project in South Florida.

Problem #1: Humidity

Being surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean Florida is the most humid state in the U.S. with an average dew point temperature of 60°F. High levels of humidity can damage the structural integrity of a building and cause chemical reactions within building materials, leading to corrosion.

To neutralize and control moisture damage, it is important to keep dew points below 55°F. This can be done by including an exhaust system that removes water vapors from kitchens, showers, and indoor pool areas. In addition, you can greatly reduce the risks of humidity damage by utilizing air conditioning systems that are equipped with dehumidification components and by blocking air leaks between window frames and walls with sufficient caulking.

Problem #2: Storm Damage

Without a doubt Florida is the number one state when it comes to being affected by hurricanes and tropical storms year after year. Developers need to consider the possible effects a category 5 hurricane would have on a building that incorporates glass curtain walls or floor-to-ceiling storefront glazing systems.

High-impact windows and doors consists of several layers of glass and synthetic materials that will drastically decrease the chances of glass being shattered during a storm. Moreover, this reduces the amount of long-term maintenance and repairs on commercial properties. Careful attention to sealant products and waterproofing details is also a must.

Problem #3: Buildings Not Designed to Fit In

Developing a building that will stand the test of time, while retaining its design characteristics vastly depends on how well the building works with external factors such as: seasonal weather, gradual flooding, and elemental corrosion.

Starting off with a good design and set of architectural drawings that can be translated into a 3D model to examine and mitigate inadequacies in the building’s structure prior to construction. Your Architect should be able to identify potential risks and suggest changes to the design that will work with the locations element as opposed to against it.

Problem #4: Neglected Garages

When designing and constructing the primary functions of a building, support spaces (such as garages) might not receive the same level of attention. However, having an inadequate parking garage component can be drastically affected by bad weather and weakened over time. This will, in turn, have an adverse effect on the longevity and usability of the entire building.

Installing hydrostatic vents are essential to the core design of garages in Florida, particularly if the project is in a flood zone. Garages attached to elevated buildings run the risk of flooding, especially along the Florida Coast. Hydrostatic vents allow water to pass through in both the interior and exterior walls of the garage, reducing water pressure buildup that could potentially destroy the foundation of the building.

Problem #5: Hurricane Winds

Floridians don’t generally experience high wind speeds outside of hurricane season, however building structures should be designed to tolerate wind speeds equivalent to that of a category 5 hurricane.

Designing structures using insulated and reinforced concrete strengthened with steel cables and rebar can withstand over 300 mph winds. While a well-constructed wooden frame can withstand 130-156 mph winds with substantial damages. In addition to wind protection, insulated concrete also provides fire, earthquake, and moisture protection.

By choosing resilient materials and designing thoughtfully, developers can rest assure that their building will withstand the effects of Florida’s climate and weather changes. BC Architects has built over 50 high-rise residential and mixed-used projects in the state of Florida.

BCA actively utilizes the most current and update building methods to efficiently design and construct durable projects. If you have any questions or need advice, give us a call at 305-663-8182.

onesha nepaul