Concrete Home Stands Up to Tornado

Tornado Homes

Stoughton, Wisconsin, residents picked up the pieces after a tornado recently leveled most homes in the area. One home is still standing amidst the rubble: a concrete home, currently under construction in an upscale Stoughton neighborhood, built with insulating concrete forms (ICFs).

When the F-3 tornado tore through town, the home was only partially constructed. The structure was under roof, with windows installed, and brick cladding had begun. First reports were that the only damage the home sustained was to the garage roof. It was stated later that the screened-in porch was lost, and all windows were broken. Sundberg's HomeThese reports were confirmed when Boyd Coleman, a structural engineer, was called in to inspect the damage. “Although I’m familiar with ICF construction, this was the first I had seen of an ICF building that had gone through something like this.” Coleman added, “I was surprised to see so much debris stuck in the foam.” Coleman found that the ICF walls did not move. There was damage to the top plate where the garage roof was blown off, but none to the concrete. Where Simpson hurricane clips were used, the roof trusses were intact. Debris from the storm was found 75 miles east in Milwaukee. (Flying debris is the primary cause of injuries and fatalities during tornadoes and hurricanes.) Meteorologists believe 26 tornadoes touched down in a 100-mile-long area. Wisconsin typically has 21 tornadoes in an average year. Construction resumed on the 3-story, almost 5,000 square foot house. The roof and porch were replaced, and the entire roof had to be reshingled. Windows and doors also needed replacement, but construction was set to be back to pre-storm progress two to four weeks after the event. According to the builder, Randy Settersten, “I’d really like to get these folks into their home before Christmas.”

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