Home Trends: Designing for Safety and Protection

Each year, many nat­ur­al dis­as­ters occur through­out the Unit­ed States. Wild­fires, hur­ri­canes, tor­na­does and flood­ing are respon­si­ble for dam­ag­ing and destroy­ing thou­sands of homes.

Research shows that 43% of homes in the U.S. have a high or very high risk of being impact­ed by some type of nat­ur­al dis­as­ter, pre­sent­ing a sig­nif­i­cant threat to fam­i­lies, busi­ness­es and the econ­o­my. In fact, the Nation­al Ocean­ic and Atmos­pher­ic Admin­is­tra­tion (NOAA) reports the U.S. spent a total of $91 bil­lion on dis­as­ter-relat­ed events in 2018.

As we con­tin­ue to devel­op land through­out the coun­try, we face the increas­ing risk posed by nat­ur­al dis­as­ters. In par­tic­u­lar, Texas is ranked #1 in the U.S. for the vari­ety and fre­quen­cy of these events.

While there is no guar­an­tee you can avoid nat­ur­al dis­as­ters, you can be more pre­pared for them by design­ing homes with the right mate­ri­als that pro­vide added lay­ers of safe­ty and pro­tec­tion. Let’s review some build­ing mate­ri­als that should be con­sid­ered dur­ing the design phase, espe­cial­ly in areas like Texas where you are more prone to extreme weath­er events.

Traditional or Disaster Resilient Frames?

Unlike win­dows, doors and sid­ing, it’s not easy to replace the frame of your home once it’s built. That’s why the frame mate­r­i­al you choose in the design phase plays a vital role in pro­tect­ing your home.



Most homes are designed and built using tra­di­tion­al mate­ri­als like wood fram­ing, but when you con­sid­er the threat of nat­ur­al dis­as­ters, espe­cial­ly in areas like Texas, there aren’t many advan­tages to using these con­ven­tion­al mate­ri­als.

While it’s pos­si­ble to build wood-frame homes that would with­stand a nat­ur­al dis­as­ter, the frame must be able to achieve a con­tin­u­ous load path to the ground and be resis­tant to fly­ing debris. The labor and con­struc­tion involved to meet these stan­dards with wood-fram­ing are often cost pro­hib­i­tive, cost­ing 25 – 30% more than stan­dard con­struc­tion meth­ods.

When choos­ing mate­ri­als to build the frame of your home, you want to achieve a high lev­el of dura­bil­i­ty and strength to be pre­pared for nat­ur­al dis­as­ters. Dis­as­ter resilient design pro­tects the struc­tur­al integri­ty of your build­ing and adds an impor­tant lay­er of pro­tec­tion for any­one who may become trapped inside dur­ing a weath­er event.



Resilient design fol­lows nation­al build­ing codes for water, earth­quake, storm and fire resis­tance. The Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA) and the Inter­na­tion­al Code Coun­cil (ICC) Fam­i­ly of Com­pa­nies offer a lot of advice and rec­om­men­da­tions about resilient design and how to fol­low code adher­ence. For cost-effec­tive rec­om­men­da­tions, the ICC sug­gests using the cur­rent Inter­na­tion­al Codes (I‑Codes).

insu­lat­ed con­crete blocks (ICB) are often used in resilient design and offer a lot more safe­ty and pro­tec­tion com­pared to tra­di­tion­al wood frames. But which one offers the most advan­tages from both a design and safe­ty stand­point in your area?

Choose the Materials That Keep You Safe

On aver­age, Texas expe­ri­ences at least one major nat­ur­al dis­as­ter every year. Tor­na­do Alley” reach­es into Texas, hur­ri­canes have long been respon­si­ble for caus­ing severe wind and water dam­age, flood­ing is a com­mon occur­rence after intense rains, and the harsh cli­mate often cre­ates severe droughts and wild­fires. Using build­ing mate­ri­als like ICFs in your design will help ensure your build­ing and its occu­pants are pro­tect­ed from the poten­tial harm these events bring.

Bautex wall icb

The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem is a great exam­ple of a type of ICB that has supe­ri­or fire resis­tant prop­er­ties, espe­cial­ly when com­pared to tra­di­tion­al ICFs, and the right lev­el of con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion built into the block that is required to meet today’s codes. It can also be built up to twice as fast a CMU wall using less labor and decreas­ing the cost and con­struc­tion time.

The Bau­tex Blocks serve as forms for build­ing a steel-rein­forced con­crete wall where the blocks stay in place after the con­crete is installed to pro­vide enclo­sure and insu­la­tion for the build­ing. Bau­tex Block has been ful­ly test­ed and is rec­og­nized by inter­na­tion­al build­ing codes.

For an extra lay­er of pro­tec­tion against wind-dri­ven rain and oth­er types of mois­ture, the Bau­tex AMB20 Air and Mois­ture Bar­ri­er can quick­ly and eas­i­ly be applied to exte­ri­or wall sub­strates like Bau­tex Block, con­crete or CMU.

Block wall


Bau­tex AMB20 is lab-test­ed to meet the Air Bar­ri­er Asso­ci­a­tion of America’s min­i­mum stan­dards for wall air bar­ri­er assem­blies and also meets and exceeds the code require­ments of res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion projects across all U.S. cli­mate zones, giv­ing you a sol­id solu­tion for con­tin­u­ous air and mois­ture con­trol.

Be Prepared for Natural Disasters

Storm ocean


As the threat of nat­ur­al dis­as­ters con­tin­ues to increase, it’s impor­tant to always design with the weath­er in mind. Con­sid­er­ing the use of dis­as­ter resilient build­ing mate­ri­als in the plan­ning phas­es helps ensure you are pro­tect­ing your invest­ment and its occu­pants for the long-term.

Con­tact Bau­tex today to find out more about the Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem and every­thing we offer to keep your next home safe from extreme weath­er events.