Ultimate Guide to Gold Fortified Homes

A fortification system refers to the building or renovation of a house to meet certain standards that make it less susceptible to hurricane damage. This is especially crucial for areas that are prone to hurricanes, such as Baldwin County.

Gold fortification is the top tier. This designation can only be achieved when a house is built, as this requires the house to be anchored together from top to bottom.

The list below shows all the Gold FORTIFIED home requirements. You will also see the other two tiers in comparison with the FORTIFIED Gold level.

The National Standard for ResilienceFORTIFIED RoofFORTIFIED SilverFORTIFIED Gold
Enhanced Roof Deck Attachment
Sealed Roof Deck
Locked Down Roof Edges
Impact-resistant Shingles Rated by IBHS
Wind and Rain-Resistant Attic Vents
Impact Protection for Windows & Doors
Impact & Pressure-Rated Garage Doors
Chimney Bracing
Reinforced Soffits
Anchored Attached Structures
Gable End Bracing
Pressure-rated Windows & Doors
Stronger Exterior Sheathing
Engineered Roof-to-Wall Connections
Engineered Story-to-Story Connections
Engineered Wall-to-Foundation Connections
A construction of a gold fortified home.

Credit: Image by Troy Mortier | Unsplash

What Are Gold Fortified Homes?

As you can see from the table above, a Gold FORTIFIED home is one that has the most protection. Simply put, this type of home will require a lot more power and force for any of its parts to be damaged or destroyed because everything works as an entirety.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is a nonprofit and independent research company that designed the FORTIFIED Home program. The program is a nationally recognized method of building with over 20 years of real-world testing and scientific research.

FORTIFIED consists of specific construction practices that help strengthen homes to withstand natural disasters and other severe weather events.

The state of Alabama, along with Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, have all passed laws or regulations that provide financial incentives for FORTIFIED homes, from discounts on building materials and construction costs to reduced insurance premiums.

A neighborhood of gold fortified homes.

Credit: Image by Ivan Bandura | Unsplash

Why Choose Gold Fortified Homes?

There are significant benefits for homeowners who choose Gold FORTIFIED homes.

One such benefit is tax breaks. In Alabama, upgrading to the FORTIFIED standard can qualify residents for a deduction from their gross income of 50% of the cost or $3,000 to retrofit their home to resist wind or flood damage, whichever is lower.

Another advantage of a Gold FORTIFIED home – insurance. Upgrading to this standard can lead to savings ranging from 45% to 50% on your homeowners’ insurance.

Based on a research project supported by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, a FORTIFIED designation is also most likely to result in a 2% to 4% increase in property value. This is great news for those who plan to sell their home after a few years.

A structural design of a gold fortified home.

Credit: Image by Gabriel Alenius | Unsplash

Robust Structural Design

Strength by design is one of the key features of Gold FORTIFIED homes. Baldwin County, AL, Foley, in particular, has been recognized as a leading city in the United States for building fortified homes that can withstand hurricanes and other weather events.

Foley has around 4,466 homes designated as fortified. This investment in the strength and durability of buildings is expected to make the city more resilient in the face of future weather events.

Unlike in most areas of the country, where typical construction relies on gravity to keep the home in one piece when high winds threaten, FORTIFIED Gold requires an engineered continuous load path.

FORTIFIED’s system ensures maximum protection by creating a singular, solid structure. The key is having a roof fixed to the walls which are anchored to the foundation.

It is because of the amount of work involved that it is more cost-effective to build a home to the Gold FORTIFIED standard rather than to renovate an existing one.

Cost to consider to build a gold fortified home.

Credit: Image by Tierra Mallorca | Unsplash

Cost Considerations

There will be additional costs to cover the materials and labor to make the structure stronger. These costs will vary based on the home’s individual design, as well as the specific requirements of the building code in your specific area.

Upgrading to a newly constructed FORTIFIED Gold home can add 1% to 3% to the total budget. For a 2,000-square-foot home, the cost increase for re-roofing is typically between $1,000 and $3,000.

Homeowners are likely to break even in about five years, and savings would grow with additional years in the home. This is great news if you are planning to buy a home with this designation and stay in it for the long term.


As storms seemingly get worse with each passing year, it becomes increasingly important to build or upgrade homes to withstand the treacherous conditions they bring.

Fortunately, most homes built in Baldwin City are Gold FORTIFIED. A Gold FORTIFIED home provides the utmost protection for you and your loved ones. It’s a great investment, and it offers incentives in terms of tax deductions and discounts on homeowners’ insurance.

If you are in the market for a home built to Gold FORTIFIED standards, I can show you all the available properties in the area. Give me a call today at 251.543.6094 or send me an email at bruce@inlandbayrealty.com to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

The designation is evaluated and renewed every 5 years.

Yes, it lowers your homeowners’ insurance by 45% to 50%.

In Alabama, legislation was passed requiring state-admitted insurance companies to provide discounts on homes that meet FORTIFIED standards in certain coastal counties. State-wide, tax credits and grants are up to $10,000 with no income limits.

Due to the amount of work involved with gold-level upgrades, it is more cost effective to build to these standards rather than to renovate.