The Best Framing Option for Texas Coastal Homes

The fram­ing sys­tem of a Texas Coastal home must have the strength and sta­bil­i­ty to with­stand the extreme winds and heavy flood­ing com­mon in the Gulf region. Imper­a­tive to the fram­ing sys­tem of a Texas Coastal home is a con­tin­u­ous load path. A con­tin­u­ous load path ensures that when loads (force), includ­ing grav­i­ty, uplift and lat­er­al (hor­i­zon­tal) loads, strike a build­ing, the loads will move from the roof, wall and oth­er com­po­nents to the foun­da­tion and into the ground. Fail­ure of any part of the frame can result in struc­tur­al fail­ure. Accord­ing to FEMA, the key ele­ments in a building’s fram­ing sys­tem are the roof and foun­da­tion (hor­i­zon­tal diaphragms) and the ver­ti­cal shear walls. The over­all integri­ty of a home depends on the indi­vid­ual strength of each com­po­nent along with ade­quate con­nec­tions between them. FEMA also sug­gests sev­er­al crit­i­cal fac­tors when select­ing fram­ing meth­ods and mate­r­i­al for a coastal home: choose fram­ing mate­ri­als resis­tant to flood­ing, intense winds, wind-dri­ven rain, cor­ro­sion, mois­ture, and decay. Selec­tion of a fram­ing option should also con­sid­er ease of instal­la­tion and future main­te­nance require­ments. Along with FEMA, home­own­ers, builders, and archi­tects can refer to the Inter­na­tion­al Code Coun­cil (ICC) Fam­i­ly of Com­pa­nies for rec­om­men­da­tions on best fram­ing options in coastal regions. The ICC rec­om­mends uti­liz­ing cur­rent Inter­na­tion­al Codes (I‑Codes) to cre­ate a cost-effec­tive, dis­as­ter resilient home. Best fram­ing prac­tice for a Texas Coastal home involves cre­at­ing a strong con­tin­u­ous load path, from the roof down to the foun­da­tion, with the struc­tur­al strength to main­tain the building’s enve­lope dur­ing and after severe weath­er events.

Roof Framing of a Texas Coastal Home

The roof struc­ture (roof fram­ing, roof decking/​sheathing, and any inter­nal brac­ing) of a Texas Coastal home must have the struc­tur­al integri­ty to with­stand high wind and rain events. The roof trans­fers hor­i­zon­tal loads to the walls below, which then trans­fers to the foun­da­tion and into the ground. Fail­ure of a roof is dis­as­trous to a home: water can destroy the home’s con­tents or worse, the home can desta­bi­lize and even col­lapse. Accord­ing to FEMA, the dura­bil­i­ty and suc­cess­ful per­for­mance of a coastal home’s roof dur­ing a high-wind event are depen­dent on three fac­tors.

1) prop­er­ly designed and spaced roof-fram­ing mem­bers

2) prop­er lat­er­al brac­ing to sup­port roof fram­ing

3) a com­plete ver­ti­cal load path between the roof and the top of the wall

The roof fram­ing of a Texas Coastal home must sup­port the roof deck­ing and sheath­ing, resist the loads dur­ing extreme wind events, and trans­fer these extreme loads ver­ti­cal­ly to the shear walls.

Exterior Wall Framing of a Texas Coastal Home

After the roof, the exte­ri­or walls are the next com­po­nent of the fram­ing load path. The walls of a coastal home must resist forces from hur­ri­cane winds of over 130 mph, grav­i­ty loads from the weight of the struc­ture, and the shear loads trans­ferred from the roof and foun­da­tion. An ide­al wall fram­ing option for a Texas Coastal home is insu­lat­ed con­crete blocks (ICB). Homes framed with ICB are stronger than wood and steel framed hous­es under extreme wind events. In fact, a study pub­lished by the Port­land Cement Asso­ci­a­tion (PCA), com­pared the struc­tur­al load resis­tance of steel and wood framed walls to insu­lat­ing con­crete form (ICF) walls. The study con­clud­ed that ICF walls have high­er struc­tur­al capac­i­ty and stiff­ness to resist in-plane shear forces (winds, earth­quakes) than wood or steel frame walls. Addi­tion­al­ly, the dura­bil­i­ty of con­crete walls lessons the lat­er­al twists. Lat­er­al twists often dam­age non-struc­tur­al ele­ments of a build­ing such as the fin­ish­es, plumb­ing, and elec­tri­cal. Exte­ri­or walls framed with insu­lat­ed con­crete blocks can main­tain a build­ing’s integri­ty and load path dur­ing strong wind events caused by hur­ri­canes and tor­na­dos.

The exte­ri­or wall fram­ing of a low-lying Texas Coastal home must also pro­tect against flood­ing and exces­sive rain. Impor­tant­ly, the Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Civ­il Engi­neers 24 (ASCE 24), the ref­er­enced stan­dard in the Inter­na­tion­al Build­ing Code® (IBC) used by archi­tects, builders, and home­own­ers, man­dates the design of hous­es built in flood haz­ard zones. The ASCE 24 pro­vides the min­i­mum require­ments and expect­ed per­for­mance for the design and con­struc­tion of struc­tures and build­ings in flood haz­ard areas and is com­pli­ant with the Nation­al Flood Insur­ance Pro­gram (NFIP) min­i­mum require­ments. Flood and rain resis­tant design in flood haz­ards zone should include ele­vat­ed struc­tures, mate­ri­als that can get wet, and assem­blies that eas­i­ly dry when exposed to mois­ture. The Nation­al Flood Insur­ance Pro­gram (NFIP) defines a flood-resis­tant mate­r­i­al as a build­ing prod­uct able to with­stand direct and extend­ed con­tact (72 hours) of flood­wa­ters with­out sus­tain­ing sig­nif­i­cant dam­age (more than cos­met­ic repair) or dam­age to adja­cent mate­r­i­al or sys­tems. NFIP clas­si­fies build­ing mate­ri­als accord­ing to their abil­i­ty to resist flood dam­age from one to five. A build­ing mate­r­i­al clas­si­fied as five is high­ly resis­tant to flood­wa­ter dam­age and can sur­vive wet­ting and dry­ing. A class five mate­r­i­al can also be suc­cess­ful­ly cleaned after a flood to ensure the mate­r­i­al is free of most harm­ful pol­lu­tants. The NFIP clas­si­fies insu­lat­ed con­crete block as five, which makes it an excel­lent wall fram­ing choice for a Texas Coastal home. Flood and water resis­tant home design along the Texas Gulf Shore is essen­tial in pro­tect­ing coastal homes and their occu­pants dur­ing a severe weath­er event.

Bautex Blocks - the Best Exterior Wall Framing Option for a Texas Coastal Home

Texas based Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem under­stands the chal­lenges and require­ments of build­ing a strong, durable fram­ing sys­tem for a home on the Gulf Coast. The Bau­tex Block is a clas­si­fied five mois­ture resis­tant insu­lat­ed con­crete block with the strength to with­stand intense hur­ri­cane winds, the grav­i­ty loads from the weight of the struc­ture, and the trans­fer of loads from the roof and foun­da­tion. The Bau­tex Blocks meet the Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency FEMA 320 and FEMA 361 guide­lines in storm zones with pos­si­ble wind speeds up to 250 miles per hour (Zone IV, south­east­ern states). The Bau­tex Block also has the strength and mass to resist the impact of wind-dri­ven debris at speeds greater than 200 mph. Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem cre­ates an exte­ri­or wall frame with the strength and sta­bil­i­ty to with­stand both the flood and wind haz­ards com­mon in the Gulf region.

In addi­tion to dis­as­ter-resis­tance, the Bau­tex Block Wall Assem­bly has oth­er impor­tant qual­i­ties essen­tial to the fram­ing sys­tem of a Texas coast home.

Foundation Framing of a Texas Coastal Home

The final fram­ing ele­ment in the con­tin­u­ous path is a home’s foun­da­tion. The foun­da­tion of a coastal home must have the strength to trans­fer the loads from the shear walls to the ground below dur­ing severe wind events. Foun­da­tion fram­ing must also resist weath­er­ing, decay, and cor­ro­sion with very lit­tle main­te­nance. In coastal flood zones, pile foun­da­tions are com­mon­ly used to ele­vate struc­tures above flood lev­els. A com­plete con­tin­u­ous load path is essen­tial to safe­ly mov­ing the loads from the roof, to the walls and foun­da­tion and into to the ground.

The best fram­ing sys­tem option for a Texas Coastal home should resist intense winds, wind-dri­ven rain, flood­ing, cor­ro­sion, mois­ture, and decay. Selec­tion of fram­ing option should also con­sid­er ease of instal­la­tion and future main­te­nance require­ments. Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem address­es all the crit­i­cal ele­ments rec­om­mend­ed by FEMA and is the best option for the exter­nal wall fram­ing of a Texas Coastal home. Vis­it Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem for more infor­ma­tion on best fram­ing options for Texas Coastal homes.

Shear walls are specif­i­cal­ly designed to counter the effects of lat­er­al loads, like wind and seis­mic loads, on a build­ing or home.