6 Best Practices for Construction in Subtropical Climates

Posted by Brett McCutcheon on Apr 14, 2018 8:54:00 AM

Construction in Subtropical Climates

The subtropical climate in the Southern region of the Unites States poses unique obstacles for construction projects, including: humidity, moisture, heat, high winds, storms, and hurricanes. All of these elements can have an impact on the integrity of a structure. Here are 6 best practices for successful and durable construction in a subtropical climate.

  1. Insulation

Good insulation is necessary in any building, but it’s essential when building in subtropical climates. If the building isn’t insulated properly, the high levels of humidity and moisture can lead to rot and mold that degrade the wall structure.  Thermal bridging can occur as well due to higher subtropical temperatures. High heat causes studs to expand along with the surrounding materials, creating a path for heat conduction. Continuous insulation prevents this thermal bridging from occurring and serves as an additional barrier to moisture.

  1. Roofing

Subtropical heat and sun can also cause roofing to overheat. Although, there are some precautions that can be taken to prevent this from happening. One solution is using lighter colored roofing materials, such as terracotta shingles that won’t heat up as quickly as traditional black asphalt shingles. It’s also important for buildings in this region to have vented attic spaces. This helps flush out the heat and maintain appropriate temperatures on both the interior and the exterior of the building. Finally, metal roofing is another solution that will provide added protection during hurricanes or storms with high winds, which happen more frequently in subtropical regions. Metal roofing is more expensive than other alternatives, but it’s the most durable, weather resistant, and energy efficient material.

  1. Siding

Similar to metal roofing, metal siding provides a high level of protection from wind and moisture damage. On the other hand, a more aesthetically pleasing option is brick or stucco. Both materials are suitable for hot and humid climates because they protect against moisture damage, provide good insulation, and have proven to be extremely durable. 

  1. Walls and Windows

Although the sunny weather in this climate is something to enjoy, the sun can also cause severe damage to a building’s windows and walls. Porches are common in the South because they provide a barrier of shade that protects walls and windows from direct sunlight. High winds that accompany subtropical storms can damage windows as well. Installing high-impact rated windows and doors help protect against wind and moisture damage when these storms arrive.

  1. Flooring

In addition to damaging walls and windows, water can cause damage to flooring. Carpeting is particularly susceptible to water damage and mildew because it holds on to moisture more than other materials like wood, tile, and concrete.  Consider using water resistant materials wherever possible, such as tiles, which have the added advantage of being cooler than carpet when heat becomes oppressive.

  1. Corrosion protection

Many subtropical regions are located near oceans, where exposure to the salty air can cause corrosion to the exterior of buildings and homes. In these areas of high salinity, it’s important to use building products with features that can protect against corrosion.  Look for fasteners from The BECK Fastener Group® that include their proprietary FasCoat® corrosion-resistant finish, proven to withstand up to 2,000 hours and more in salt spray testing before first signs of red rust.  To learn more, click here:  More Information

FASCO's award-winning RoofLoc® SCRAIL® Metal Roofing System features this coating and is also great for installing the metal siding that is often used in these regions.  Using this system, you can quickly attach metal to wood, creating 500+ pounds of holding power.  The next generation, version “2.0,” of this system features a redesigned nose, increased durability, improved visibility for shot placement, and improved trigger and rear foot designs. It’s eight times faster than bulk screws, and the SCRAIL® strips feature leak proof washers plus FasCoat® coating that prevents rust from forming for up to 2,000 hours and more. View the video: 

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Topics: Construction Fasteners

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