A year after Hurricane Michael tried (& failed) to take out an ICF home known as Sand Palace in Florida in 2018, another powerful storm built up strength and landed in the Bahamas.
September of 2019 brought destruction for a great number of families and homes in the paradise islands of the Bahamas. Reaching wind gusts upwards of 200 mph, Hurricane Dorian beat down on the land and its inhabitants relentlessly… and it wouldn’t leave! Three days of continual bombardment left many of the islands crushed. Tons of homes were blown away and damaged. On several major islands, 60% of homes were destroyed or severely damaged. It caused more than $3.4 billion in damages just in the Bahamas.
This modern luxury beach house was constructed with ICF walls & roof right over the water, not even elevated on pilings. Rather than using elevation to protect it from the rage of the sea, the structure relies on the strength of the steel-reinforced concrete walls.
The owners of the home were back in the US and had feared that their home might have suffered some serious damages. But, because they weren’t in the Bahamas to board up the windows, the biggest damage the house suffered was mostly the windows being blown out. Also the cement board siding took a beating (remember: 3 days of 200 mph winds!) but a lot of it stayed intact.
The contractor who built the home, Dennis Ciaglo, was very proud of the resilience of the building he had constructed back in 2011. “It was very emotional for us the builder. It was the first time we could prove that our building could withstand 250 mph winds. Needless to say, we were very proud to see that house standing in all its glory after Dorian when all around were destroyed dwellings.”
And the people living on the island definitely took notice of the still-standing structure. Many inquired about using ICF to rebuild their own homes that were swept away by the storm.
Laura Catalan, director of marketing at Amvic Building Systems, adds, “As natural disasters continue to take lives and destroy homes, one can only want to prevent the situation from happening again and prepare for the worst. Insulated concrete forms (ICF’s) have been proven to stand tall amidst natural disasters. Since we can’t always change building behaviors, we need to educate on ways to build disaster resistant buildings; especially in disaster prone areas.”