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Building for Oklahoma Weather

Dec 19, 2023 Share
Building for Oklahoma Weather

Building for Oklahoma Weather: Innovative Materials and Techniques for Oklahoma Home Construction

The way we build our homes is changing. Whether it’s capturing renewable energy, reducing an environmental footprint, or preparing for shifts in climate, the needs of homeowners are evolving, and so is the approach of the people who build them.

For more than three decades, Home Creations has been building Oklahoma homes that last. From fire and water safety to withstanding wild weather, Home Creations continues to set the standard in our industry, constructing homes that exceed code and energy efficiency requirements to provide our homeowners with the cost savings and peace of mind they deserve. As a locally owned company with deep roots in the Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Chickasha areas, Home Creations understand the challenges Oklahoma homes and their owners face, and we have developed the techniques and strategies necessary to make sure every property we build stays strong, secure, and beautiful for years to come.

Challenges to Home Building in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has been testing its homeowners long before the state’s founding more than 100 years ago. From sod houses and cabins on windswept plains to rebuilding after tornadoes and riding out earthquakes, the people who live in Oklahoma have a special kind of grit.

Building a safe, dry, and durable home in Oklahoma takes a similar kind of grit, as well as creativity and adaptation in building methods. Here are 4 factors home builders have to contend with.

  1. Soil.Much of Oklahoma has higher clay soil content than many other states, especially in the southwest corner. Clay soil will require deeper foundations made with more concrete to be truly safe. Clay soil is also one reason why basements are rare in Oklahoma, because clay absorbs and holds water in cooler weather, but dries up in warmer temperatures, causing cracks and holes in concrete and increasing the risk of water seepage.

  2. Climate.There are, of course, more dramatic environmental factors at play in the state as well. Oklahoma is situated at an interesting latitudinal location. The panhandle will feel the dryness expected of the west, but the eastern side of the state may see the effects of hurricanes and tropical storms crossing over from nearby states on the coast. This could result in dangerous flash flooding. Oklahoma also has a high level of sun exposure, which means that paint and siding must be able to withstand intense heat and direct sunlight with high levels of UV radiation.

  3. Temperature.Oklahoma’s temperatures can be hard to predict and can fluctuate dramatically over a short period of time. If pipes freeze during unexpected temperature drops, the affected plumbing could leak and cause water damage. 

  4. Storms.Oklahoma’s geography puts it directly in the path of Tornado Alley, an area designated for its propensity for tornadoes and strong winds. 

How Home Creations Builds Oklahoma Homes to Last

However, for every environmental challenge, smart and experienced construction teams like those at Home Creations have evolved in their building strategies and developed efficient, effective, and affordable solutions that make Oklahoma homes some of the most durable in the country.

Here’s how home builders today tackle some of Oklahoma’s most common weather events.

Dry Spells and Flash Flooding

Oklahoma is susceptible to both long spells of drought and flash flooding, problems that can exacerbate each other. Frequent droughts harden the clay soil here, making it less absorbent and more prone to flash flooding and washout during sudden heavy rainfall and storms. Lack of rain also causes the soil around your home to shrink and pull back from the foundation, creating large gaps and cracks where water can enter.

When there is too much rain, it begins to saturate the soil, increasing the pressure and causing it to expand and push into your foundation. This forces your foundation to act as a dam, and it may only be a matter of time before the dam breaks.

Builders combat the effects of these extremes with techniques like:

  • French drains that redirect the water away from the home

  • Gutters

  • Helical piers in the foundation for more stability and security

  • Deeper foundation footings that extend beyond the freeze line

Moisture from rain and flooding also increases the risk of mold, condensation damage, and wood rot.DuPont Tyvek Home Wrapcan be installed around the entire home, defending it against moisture, air, and water and preventing damage and organic growth.

Landscapingis another effective way to protect your home, which is why every new Home Creations home comes with afully-sodded landscape packageto help keep your foundation dry and stable.

Abrupt and Frequent Temperature Changes

Staying comfortable in Oklahoma's ever-changing temperatures can be tricky. The installation ofradiant barrier decking, a highly reflective material that reflects radiant heat, prevents heat gain through the roof, keeping the attic at a steady temperature and creating less work for your HVAC system. 

Effective attic insulation can also help keep your home comfortable and energy efficient. Insulation has an “R” rating, which is the measure of thermal resistance; the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. Home Creations installsR-44 attic insulationin all our new Oklahoma homes, exceeding the state’s R-30 code requirement.

Low-E thermalpane windowswith argon gas are another way to reduce the amount of heat loss, heat gain, or heat radiation entering your home. The low-E coating and argon gas reduce the amount of UV rays in a conditioned space, preventing sun damage to your curtains and furniture and keeping your home’s temperature regulated.

Efficient HVAC systemsare critical for coping with big swings in the seasons. All of the HVAC systems installed in Home Creations new homes include a 96% efficient furnace and a 16 SEER AC*, with Mastic used to seal all system joints.

The effects of Oklahoma’s unpredictable temperature fluctuations go beyond personal comfort. If water freezes unexpectedly within the plumbing or an attached hose, the piping of the house could be damaged, and certain appliances can fail.Freeze-proof water spigotscan be an effective safeguard against the damaging expansion and flooding that can be caused by freezing. Installed on the exterior of the home, these spigots won’t freeze if you accidentally forget to unhook a hose during a hard freeze, protecting your plumbing and your home.

*The U.S. Department of Energy requires air conditions to achieve a minimum SEER rating of 13, with Oklahoma’s building code requiring a 14.

Tornado Risk and High Winds

In Oklahoma, tornado shelters are becoming increasingly popular as standard features in all new homes, and with options like underground steel garage shelters, concrete above ground safe rooms, and concrete storm shelters, there’s a solution to help make your new property–and your family–safer during storm seasons. 

Anchor boltsare eight-inch-deep bolts that securely anchor the structure of the house to the stem wall of the foundation, keeping the house grounded and more resilient against strong straight line winds. They are installed into the concrete and held in place by J-shape locks.

Tornado straps(sometimes called hurricane straps) secure the frame of the roof to the rest of the house, reducing the chances of the roof being removed by high winds.

Unlike standard foam boards,oriented strand boardsconsist of layers of wood in alternating orientations, making it more resilient against storms and straight line winds.

Solar Opportunities in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is among the country’s top ten “sunniest” states, averaging a whopping 234 days of sun a year. Without natural or manmade obstacles like mountains or skyscrapers to block that sun, Oklahoma is the perfect place for harnessing the power of solar energy.

Unlike their earlier years on the market,solar panelsare no longer prohibitively expensive for a large population of homeowners, and adding them to your home can pay dividends in cost-effectiveness and savings. Supplementing your energy bill with solar power can equate to a significant reduction in your monthly costs, and even, over time, reduce or eliminate your reliance on traditional electricity sources altogether, and solar panels can help lower your Home Energy Rating Score (HERS) to the mid-teens. Moreover, solar panels are increasingly a contributing factor to higher property values, meaning that, even if you don’t intend to stay in your home forever, solar panels may potentially deliver you a higher return on your sale.

All Home Creations homes are built wired and ready to partner withEightTwenty, an Oklahoma-based solar energy company, to deliver affordable, quality energy services. You can use the Zero app to monitor, in real-time, what appliances or areas of your home are impacting your energy consumption, or try out the EightTwenty calculator to estimate your savings.

Trust Your Home to the Oklahoma Building Experts at Home Creations

At Home Creations, we’ve spent the better part of 30 years building homes that are more than beautiful–they’re built to last, even in the face of new and existing environmental challenges and economic demands. We remain committed to delivering the home you’ve always dreamed of at a price you can afford and with the safety features you deserve for real peace of mind. Contact a Home Creations New Home Consultant today and start making your future a reality.

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