The foundation of a house with hurricane strap plates fashioned to it vertically

Hurricane straps or ties are steel metal clips or fasteners installed on roofs, walls, and foundations of buildings to enhance resistance against wind and seismic forces in hurricane-prone areas.

Attaching them to your foundation can be quite the process, and getting each step right is critical to ensuring they function as intended.

So, how should you go about it?

This article will outline steps to install hurricane clips to a foundation and help you understand precisely what you need to do in each. So let’s dive right in.

How To Attach Hurricane Straps to Your Foundation

Here’s how to attach hurricane straps to your foundation:

  1. Get your tools ready
  2. Drill through the seal plate
  3. Attach the hurricane straps

1.) Get Your Tools Ready

This step is standard for every project, including installing a hurricane strap to a foundation. The necessary tools should be available. Having your tools handy and in one place keeps you organized and makes you work faster and better. 

So what do you need?

The Simpson Strong-Tie H2.5A 18-Gauge Hurricane Tie in use
Courtesy of Simpson Strong-Tie
  • Hurricane straps – the metal clips we’re installing. There are different types of straps, but the one best suited for this project is the multipurpose hurricane strap. You can attach them to roofs, walls, and foundations.
  • Anchor bolts – for attaching structural elements (hurricane straps in this case) to concrete, they’ll pass through the pre-spaced holes in the strap.
Closeup on a pile of anchor bolts to be used with hurricane straps
  • A wrench – for tightening anchor bolts
  • A hammer drill – for creating circular holes through concrete. Hammer drills are similar to regular drills, but they also have a hammering effect that forces the bit into the material as it revolves. A hammer drill breaks up the concrete by hitting it repeatedly and then drills out the shattered material.
  • Masonry bits – these are arrowhead-shaped tips, usually made of steel, for drilling holes in hard materials like concrete. Masonry bits with a carbide tip can withstand the force of striking and drilling dense concrete with hammer drills.

2.) Drill Through the Sill Plate

The actual work starts with the drilling. If you can’t access the foundation, you can’t attach the hurricane strap. So, you’ll have to drill through the sill plate. The sill plate is the wooden board that sits on the foundation to provide an even base for the entire structure.

Don’t know how to use a hammer drill? We’ve got you covered. Follow these instructions.

  1. Mark the drilling spot – using a pencil, mark where you want to drill. Since we’ll be attaching many straps, you might also make as many spots as necessary. However, the marks shouldn’t exceed 6 ft (1.82 m) apart.
  2. Set the drilling depth – the drilling depth would determine the drill bit length. The drilling depth also depends on the material you want to drill through. In this case, you’re driving through concrete, so a depth of 2.5 cm (1 inch) will suffice. 
  3. Hold the drill correctly – you must have a good and comfortable grip to drill accurately. Hold the tool as if you’re handling a gun with your finger on the trigger.
  4. Make your first hole – the pilot hole is another name for the first hole. Place the tip of the drill perpendicular to the foundation and hold it firmly in place. Next, begin drilling a small hole with the drill, and stop after a few seconds.
  5. Incrementally increase the drill speed – blow out the dust in the pilot before you continue. Then, gradually increase the speed while maintaining a tight grip on the drill.

    While holding it, provide sufficient pressure but don’t be forceful. After every twenty seconds, remove the drill from the hole to allow some dust to escape while reducing strain on your hand.
  6. Blow out the dust – stop drilling after you’ve reached the desired depth. Then, blow out the dust in the hole.
A sill plate with a screw and bolt holding it intact

3.) Attach the Hurricane Straps

You can now attach the hurricane straps to the foundation. Use the anchor bolts to fasten them from wall studs to the foundation through the sill plate. Use 5/8-inch (1.59 cm) anchor bolts for this task.

Use a wrench to tighten the bolts, ensuring they’re snug. Next, attach the hurricane straps to the other holes you drilled into the foundation. Remember to keep them at least six inches (15.24 cm) apart.

Diagram of a hurricane strap attached to a sill plate on a foundation.
Courtesy of Simpson Strong-Tie

While you’re working, take steps to ensure your safety. Drilling through concrete will send dust and small pieces of concrete into the air. Wear a facemask to protect your nose and eyes.

Also, wear work boots while walking around to protect your feet. A building at the foundation stage will likely have nails around that could pierce through footwear and cause injury.

Double-check your work when you’re done—you may have missed a bolt on one of the straps or have a strap loose. Double-checking will help you discover errors or omissions.

You’d want to attach these straps to your home and go to rest knowing that your house has the necessary protection against wind and seismic forces. But how long can hurricane straps last after installation?

How Long Do Hurricane Straps Last?

Hurricane straps can last for many years and, in most cases, throughout the lifetime of a building. This longevity is because they are made of steel. Steel is durable and highly resistant to corrosion, ideal for areas prone to high winds and frequent storms. 

However, corrosion is still possible. Therefore, you should inspect your installation once in a while. You can get a professional to do this for you.

Wrapping Up

Hurricane straps enhance a building’s structural integrity by providing resistance to wind and seismic forces. As a result, they’re essential building requirements in areas prone to hurricanes, fierce storms, and earthquakes.

Attaching hurricane straps to your foundation will require drilling into the foundation through the sill plate. Hopefully, the steps outlined in this article will help you do that correctly.

It’s important to be safety-conscious while working. A face mask will shield your eyes and nose from dust and flying pieces of concrete while drilling. Also, appropriate footwear will protect your feet from sharp objects typical of a building site.


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