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June 03, 2024

How ICF buildings stand up to tornadoes in Texas

Your home is where you should feel the safest. But if you live in Texas, you may have first-hand experience of how extreme weather events, such as tornadoes, can destroy homes, ruin financial stability and even end lives. In fact, Texas averages more than 137 tornadoes a year, more than any other state, according to the National Weather Service.

As extreme weather events grow more frequent and intense across North America, a home built with traditional methods and materials may not fully protect you and your loved ones.

However, Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are a building system that provides substantially improved disaster resilience over traditional wood-framing, offering you priceless peace of mind for the long term. Here is how ICF buildings can withstand storms:

icf arch before and after constructionStrong and seamless

ICF walls are made of two layers of expanded polystyrene foam insulation filled with steel-reinforced concrete.

The concrete and steel alone make these walls far more durable than wood-framed ones. Your entire wall is as strong as a footing or foundation.

And, because ICF wall assemblies systems are seamless and align perfectly, a home built with ICFs will evenly distribute the sheer force of a tornado when it hits.

Nudura’s concrete-embedded, multi-purpose roof truss/anchor system also resists wind uplift forces from a tornado better than conventionally constructed structures. Therefore, there are no weak joints or gaps that a tornado can exploit to rip the walls or roof off the home.

Nudura ICFs are even proven to stand up to winds of up to 250 miles per hour (402 km/h).


Resistant to impacts

This uninterrupted strength also allows ICF structures to withstand impacts from the high-speed projectiles that are often the result of a tornado.

This flying debris, which can be anything from tree branches to pieces of nearby buildings, may go right through regular wood-framed walls upon impact – with sometimes deadly consequences.

However, in high-speed impact testing done by ABC Domes and Texas Tech University, a Nudura ICF wall sustained little to no structural damage from a 15-pound wooden beam propelled at 100 miles per hour.


Better than building codes

ICF structures make it easy to meet the robust building standards for safe rooms that have been set out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s P-361 guidelines.

Even if you are not building a dedicated safe room, choosing ICFs still puts you at a safety advantage over owners of wood-framed properties. While building codes require a minimum standard of durability, they are not typically designed for extremes. ICFs meet and exceed basic building code standards to keep you and your loved ones safe in the worst weather events.

icf house in fort worth, texas with stone facade
Consistently comfortable

With ICF construction, you don’t have to sacrifice style or comfort for safety. The thick, continuous insulation of ICF walls dampens outside sounds while also minimizing the loss of heated or cooled air. This thermal stability keeps temperatures steady so your property will stay comfortable for longer even if it loses power during a storm. The energy efficiency also lowers your utility bills, cutting costs by up to 60%.

A disaster-resilient home doesn’t have to be boring either. Unlike institutional-looking cinder block, Nudura ICFs work with any other interior or exterior finishes to achieve any look you want, whether you want to blend in or stand out from others in the neighborhood.


A durable investment that saves you money

A home is the main asset many of us will ever own, and so building with ICFs is a smart way to protect your investment. Since they not only protect you, but also withstand winds and debris impacts, you won’t have to spend your hard-earned dollars to repair your property every time a natural disaster rolls through town, which is becoming more common across Texas.

Additionally, ICFs are less likely to have problems with the serious issues that tornado damage can lead to over time, such as water damage that leads to mold growth or a compromised foundation.


Building a better ICF home with Nudura

Nudura offers a best-in-class ICF system for building your home. Learn more about how Nudura ICFs keep you and your property safe, or check out these beautiful disaster-resilient houses for inspiration.

icf resort in texas


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