two men on ladders installing hurricane ties under the roof of a small Florida home

Hurricane straps or ties are essential for hurricane-proofing your home in areas subject to tropical storms and tornadoes.

They help keep your roof from blowing off in high winds and can prevent your house from collapsing if the walls are damaged. Installing them correctly is essential to keeping your family safe and home secured in a hurricane.

In this article, we’ll walk you through each step of the installation process in detail so that you can install your own hurricane straps or ties. Read on for everything you need to know about hurricane-proofing your home.

How to Install Hurricane Straps and Ties

The process of installing hurricane ties and straps consists of nine easy steps, including:

  1. Gathering the nails, ties, and straps
  2. Determining the number of ties and straps needed
  3. Marking the placement of ties and straps on the roof trusses
  4. Drilling pilot holes for each hurricane strap
  5. Securing ties or straps to roof trusses with screws
  6. Sealing all screw heads with sealant
  7. Installing gable end wall bracing (if necessary)
  8. Installing roof sheathing
  9. Installing hurricane clips (if necessary)

Now, let’s consider each of these steps in-depth. 

1.) Gather the Nails, Ties, and Straps

Before installing hurricane straps, it’s essential to gather all the materials you’ll need. For a typical installation, you will need the following materials:

  • Nails – the most common type of nail used for hurricane ties is the 16d nail. These are 3 1/2 inches (8.89 centimeters) long and have a diameter of 0.162 inch (0.411 centimeter). You’ll also need some 8d nails, which are 2 1/2 inches (6.35 centimeters) long and have a diameter of 0.131 inch (0.333 centimeter).
  • Screws – the most common type of screw used for hurricane straps are wood screws. They are available in various lengths, but the most common size used is 2 1/2-inch. You’ll also need some wood glue to secure the screws in place.
  • Hurricane clips – hurricane clips are metal plates used to secure the roof sheathing to the trusses.
  • Hurricane straps – hurricane straps are long strips of metal or nylon used to secure the trusses to the house’s walls. These are available in various widths, but the 2-inch (5.08 centimeters) strap is the most common size.
  • Hurricane tieshurricane ties are metal or plastic plates that connect joists or trusses to the house’s framing. They help resist the uplift forces exerted on the roof during a hurricane.

    Go with this Simpson Strong-Tie H2.5A Hurricane Tie. It’s made of galvanized steel for superior strength and durability, making it ideal for hurricane-prone areas.
The Simpson Strong-Tie H2.5A 18-Gauge Hurricane Tie in use
Courtesy of Amazon
  • Drill bit – you’ll need a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the screws you’re using to create a pilot hole for the screw. A pilot hole is a hole drilled into the wood to make it easier to drive in a screw or nail.
  • Sealant – after the hurricane ties and straps are installed, you’ll need to seal the screw heads with a waterproof sealant to prevent rust and corrosion.

The following YouTube video describes hurricane ties and how to install them on a budget:

Note: For every rafter or joist, you’ll need at least two nails, one hurricane tie, and one strap. 

2.) Determine the Number of Ties and Straps Needed

Before installing hurricane straps or ties, you must determine the number needed. If you install fewer than required, your roof could blow off in high winds.

To determine the amount needed, you’ll need to know the following:

  • The number of roof-to-wall connections – the amount will determine the number of hurricane straps needed. For example, if you have four roof-to-wall connections, you’ll need four hurricane straps.
  • The number of floor-to-floor connection – this figure will add to the number of straps needed. For example, if you have two floors in your house and four roof-to-wall connections, you’ll need four more straps.
  • The number of floor-to-foundation connections – similarly, this will add to the number of hurricane straps necessary. So, for example, if you have four such connections, you’ll need four additional straps.
  • The number of connections between horizontal and diagonal beams – if you have four such connections, you’ll need at least four hurricane ties.

The following YouTube video may come in handy when determining the number of hurricane straps you need:

3.) Mark the Placement of Ties and Straps on the Roof Trusses

Once you know how many hurricane ties and straps you need, you can mark their placement on the roof trusses. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Measure and mark the placement of the hurricane ties on the roof trusses – the most common way to do this is by using a pencil or chalk to indicate the location of each tie on the wood.
  • Wrap a string around the trusses at the locations where you install the hurricane straps to help you keep the placement of the straps consistent.

4.) Drill Pilot Holes for Each Tie or Strap

After marking the placement of the ties and straps, you’ll need to drill pilot holes for each one. 

To drill a pilot hole, follow these steps:

  • Get a drill bit smaller in diameter than the screw you’ll be using to create a pilot hole that is the right size for it to fit snugly.
  • Drill the pilot holes at an angle to intersect with the center of the trusses. This measure will make it easier to drive in the screws or nails.
A pilot hole is drilled into roof sheathing to attach a hurricane strap

5.) Secure Ties or Straps to Roof Trusses With Screws

After drilling the pilot holes, you can now secure the hurricane straps to the roof trusses with screws. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Use a screw that is the appropriate size and type for the job. The most common type of screw used is a hex head screw.
  • Drive the screws into the pilot holes until they are snug against the trusses. Don’t over-tighten the screws, as this could strip the threads or break the wood.

6.) Seal All Screw Heads With Sealant

Now that the hurricane straps are installed, it’s time to seal the screw heads with a waterproof sealant. This will help prevent rust and corrosion, and it will also make it easier to remove the screws in the future, should you need to do so.

To seal the screw heads, follow these steps:

  • First, apply a bead of sealant around the perimeter of each screw head.
  • Use your finger or a putty knife to spread the sealant evenly over the surface of the screw head.
  • Allow the sealant to dry completely.

7.) Install Gable End Wall Bracing (if Necessary)

If your house has gable end walls, you’ll need to install bracing to reinforce them. Gable end walls are particularly vulnerable to high winds, so it’s essential to ensure they’re adequately supported.

The gable end truss of a home under construction

The most common brace used for gable end walls is plywood sheathing.

To install plywood sheathing, follow these steps:

  • Cut the plywood to size using a circular saw.
  • Attach the plywood to the gable end wall with nails or screws. Be sure to use nails or screws long enough to penetrate the studs in the wall.

8.) Install Roof Sheathing

After reinforcing the gable end walls, you can now install the roof sheathing. Roof sheathing is a layer of material attached to the roof rafters, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB).

The purpose of roof sheathing is to provide a nailing surface for the shingles and to help to stiffen the roof.

To install roof sheathing, follow these steps:

  • Cut the sheathing to size using a circular saw.
  • Attach the sheathing to the roof rafters with nails or screws. Be sure to use nails or screws long enough to penetrate the rafters.

9.) Install Hurricane Clips (if Necessary)

In some areas, hurricane clips are required by code. Hurricane clips are metal brackets that attach the roof sheathing to the trusses.

A Simpson Strong-Tie hurricane tie secures a joist beam to a rafter
Courtesy of Simpson Strong-Tie

They help to resist uplift forces in high winds and can provide additional protection for your home in a hurricane.

To install hurricane clips, follow these steps:

  • Locate the clip placement on the trusses. The building code or plan will specify the clip placement.
  • Attach the clips to the trusses with nails or screws. Be sure to use ones long enough to penetrate the trusses.

And that’s it!

You’ve now installed hurricane ties and straps on your roof, and you can rest assured that your home is better protected against high winds.

Caveat: These are just general guidelines to give you an idea of the steps involved in installing hurricane ties and straps. Always consult with a qualified contractor or engineer to ensure that your home is adequately protected against high winds.

In addition, follow all local building codes to ensure your home meets or exceeds minimum requirements.

Conclusion

Installing hurricane ties and straps is a necessary step in protecting your home against high winds. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure your home is adequately protected. Additionally, by taking the time to do it yourself, you can save money on the cost of installation.

Consult with a qualified contractor or engineer for the best results, and follow all local building codes. By installing hurricane ties and straps properly, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home is better protected against high winds.

Sources

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