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The Aftermath with CTL Home Center

A post-hurricane Irma reflection from CTL Home Center Managing Director Michael Thomas

Considering what we just went through, I think the Territory’s buildings fared well; even though they lost windows and roofs, the actual structure stayed intact.

Some of the older homes suffered greater structural damages, but then again, nobody built for what we just experienced. I think this changes the whole game plan in terms of how we build moving forward.

Personally, I’m an advocate of concrete—I love concrete.

CTL Home Center is a steel structure wrapped in 10 inches of reinforced concrete around the entire building, so we were very fortunate that the building stood up well. We knew the weak points for us would have been the roof—which we lost—and the doors, because we have some huge roll-up doors.

Our doors were rated at around 139-140 mph winds so I literally panicked once we hit 150; I knew we’d lose them and we did.

Moving forward in terms of home construction, I think in addition to using steel, building blocks need to be filled with concrete; they require proper ring beams that actually tie the blocks together because in most cases, you’re building two floors so you can’t use blocks alone.

I believe wood roof structures need to be engineered and embedded properly in the concrete. The most important thing is to fasten the roof down correctly. The sheets on the roof must be screwed in tightly—I just remodeled my home and the contractor thought that I was crazy for having them use so many roof screws to hold the sheets down; once you secure the vulnerable points which would be the edge and the ridge caps, I think it will sustain.

The other issue is the windows that we’re using and how we’re actually embedding the windows in the structure as well as the doors. I think all those things need to be reviewed. I recommend impact windows which I know some people aren’t fond of; many are going toward shutters which I think make sense, but I also believe impact windows do what they’re supposed to because on all of our buildings, we have impact windows and doors.

We lost doors that were impact, but they did their job. Whatever hit them, shattered the glass but they stayed intact; now we just have to change the glass which is the same thing with the windows.

How you anchor the windows to the structure is critical—the type of screw mechanisms that you use to make sure that it’s fixed properly.

Hurricane shutters help to protect your windows even more—what style shutter you use depends on where you’re putting them and how they’re going to be installed. On one of our buildings, the shutters and the windows are integrated meaning the shutters are actually built into the window frame. There is nothing protruding with everything fitting well.

Keeping all this in mind, CTL Home Center is a full fledge building supply store that can assist in getting us back on our feet. We sell impact windows, regular windows, doors, security doors, roofing, plumbing materials, electrical supplies, home goods, house wares, furnishings with high end appliances, furniture, tubs, toilets, basins, wooded floors, and tile floors.

We like to say that we sell everything from the foundation up; the only thing we don’t source are sand and gravel because we don’t have the space to store them.

Even in the commercial area, we sell ceiling tiles, the grids for ceilings, carpet tiles—everything from the foundation to the turn key finished product.

CTL will continue to offer advice to anyone who needs it. Many of the things not seen in our store we source through our special-order department.

We’re working with people as much as we can—we ask customers to compare prices and we’ll try and acquire the best product for the best price.

We will replace just about everything that you lost even down to the pots and pans that flew out with the hurricane.

My advice—since we’re now going into a whole new realm regarding building construction—is we have to ensure that homes are re-engineered and designed properly.

Personally, I think that residents should take a part of their home and make it a safe, secure room similar to ‘storm cellars’ in the US—even after the event is over, at least you will know that you have a comfortable, dry, and safe place to retreat to.

About CTL Home Center

CTL was officially registered in 1967 by my father and mother, , Clarence and Mabell Thomas, although the company was functioning long before that. My dad was a trained plumber and two of the first hotels he worked on were Fort Burt and Treasure Isle.

CTL started off as a plumbing supply company and in the 70s, developed over the years into the plumbing hardware store that BVI residents became familiar with.

It has since evolved into a full-fledge hardware store and home center, selling every category in the hardware/home ware business: plumbing, electrical, tools, hardware, home goods, furnishings, and small and large appliances.

Clarence Thomas Ltd.


284-494-2359 (Office)

Email: [email protected]

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