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Building more Resilient or “Wash-N-Wear” Housing

Have you ever considered how resilient your house is to damage from natural disasters? I am talking about things like flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, hail, straight-line winds, and even droughts.  I am attending a workshop put together by LSU Extension that focuses on how we can create homes that are more resilient to the disasters that at one time or another affect all of us.

Think about building a “Wash-N-Wear” house.  I borrowed this term from Dr. Claudette Reichel with Louisiana State University AgCenter (LSU), who may have borrowed it from someone else.  It’s a great way to look at the resiliency of your home to natural disasters.  For example, right now several parts of the U.S. are facing flooding.  Think about what you could do to your home to help minimize flood damage.

  1. Use flood hardy building materials like paperless drywall
  2. Choose a flooring material that is restorable, such as tile or solid plank
  3. Finish the outside with fiber cement siding and trim
  4. Build cabinets so there is a gap between the floor and the base of the cabinet.  If you only have a few inches of water inside, you can easily remove the baseboard and dry the area out. Your cabinets wouldn’t even get wet.

There are several other things you can do to make your home more resilient when a disaster strikes. One of the best practices is to learn from other states. What ideas work in those areas that have been hardest hit by natural disasters and how can they be adapted to your area?  Below are some resources to help you get started on making your home more resilient and sustainable.  Remember, your home isn’t sustainable or affordable if it doesn’t survive.

Click on these resources for more information:

–          Flood Damage-Resistant Materials (FEMA)

–          Flood-Resistant Design & Construction (University of Florida IFAS Extension)

–          Reducing Future Flood & Water Damage (eXtension)

–          Extension Disaster Education Network

The key is to be PROACTIVE, not reactive.

LaHouse in Baton Rouge, LA. Examples of a range of solutions for sustainable, "high performance" housing.
LaHouse in Baton Rouge, LA. Examples of a range of solutions for sustainable, “high performance” housing.

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