A backyard shed secured with hurricane straps

It’s that time of year again; the leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter, and hurricane season is upon us.

Like most people, you’re probably confused about which hurricane straps to buy for your shed. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about hurricane proofing your shed, including where to buy the straps and how to install them.

What Is a Hurricane Strap, and What Does It Do?

Hurricane straps are designed to keep your shed’s roof attached to the walls.

They’re also known as wind straps, wind braces, or hurricane ties. The best time to install them is during roof installation.

Most sheds have gable roofs, which means that the roof is attached to the walls at the top. However, the point of contact can be a weak spot in high winds.

The wind can go under the roof and lift it off the walls, making it a distinct hazard during hurricane season.

However, installing hurricane straps at multiple points adds a layer of rigidity to the structure. 

In any case, we are not just securing the roof. You have to think about the entire structure of your shed.

Installing hurricane straps keeps the walls attached to the floor and the roof over the walls, providing an extra measure of protection and preventing the shed from being blown over by high winds.

A Florida beach during a hurricane with strong wind blowing against the water and palm trees

It would help if you also anchored your shed to the ground with a suitable hurricane strap. This step completes the three-tier connection, making it harder for the shed to be blown away, even in extreme winds.

What Are the Types of Hurricane Straps for Sheds?

The two main types of hurricane straps available for sheds are timber and rafter connectors.

Timber connectors attach the beams, floor plates, and studs to the structure, while rafter connectors attach rafters to ridge boards.

  • Rafter connectors – these are the most common type of hurricane strap. They’re made of galvanized steel, and they have a loop on one end that goes around the rafter and another on the other end that goes around the ridge board.
  • Timber connectors – these are less common, but they’re still used in some shed designs. They’re made of galvanized steel or stainless steel, and they have either a J-shape or an S-shape.
Closeup of a hurricane tie securing two ceiling joists of a roof
A timber connector hurricane strap on a shed’s ceiling joists

These are just the most common types of hurricane straps.

Many other styles are available, including those for specific applications like attaching trusses or purlins.

However, those special connectors are usually used in building homes, not sheds.

How To Install Hurricane Straps on Your Shed

Installing hurricane straps is a relatively simple process that anyone can do.

However, it’s essential to follow the instructions to ensure they’re installed correctly. Call an expert to install them for you if you’re in any doubt.

For the DIY hurricane strap approach:

  1. You’ll need to find the studs in the shed walls. The walls are where the straps will be attached, and you can use a stud finder to help you locate them.
  2. Once you’ve found the studs, measure and mark where the straps will be attached, then create pilot holes for the screws using a drill.
  3. Next, attach the hurricane straps to the wall with screws. Ensure they’re screwed in tightly, so they don’t come loose in high winds.
  4. Finally, attach the other end of the straps to the roof. You can do this by screwing them into the rafters or trusses.

And that’s it! You’ve installed hurricane straps on your shed, and it’s ready for hurricane season.

Where To Buy Hurricane Straps?

The best place to buy hurricane straps is at a hardware store or shed retailer, but they are usually expensive.

If you want to save money, buy from Amazon, Lowes, or Home Depot.

Which Hurricane Strap Is Best for a Shed?

The best overall hurricane strap for sheds is probably the Simpson Strong-Tie H1Z Zmax. Designed to keep your shed intact by securing the rafters to the roof, chances are you’ll be happy with this. Made from 18-gauge steel, they come in packs of 100. 

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

When shopping for hurricane straps, make sure to get the right size and shape for your shed, and don’t forget to buy the screws and other hardware you’ll need during installation.

The last thing you want is to get home and realize you need a bunch of self-tapping screws that you don’t have.

We have also seen people who DIY their hurricane straps. This route can be a great option if you’re handy and have the right tools for the job (think CNC machines and specialty drills).

Just make sure you use high-quality materials so your shed is safe in high winds.

Whichever route you choose, have straps installed on your shed before the next hurricane season.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Hurricane Straps

Choosing the right hurricane straps for your shed is crucial for ensuring its stability and protection during severe weather conditions.

Here are the factors to consider to get the best hurricane straps:

  • Roof type: Different roof types, like trusses, rafters, and hip roofs require specific types of straps. Ensure the straps you choose are compatible with your roof structure.
  • Local building codes: Building codes in hurricane-prone areas often mandate specific types and installations of hurricane straps. Therefore, check your local code requirements and choose straps accordingly.
  • Strap material: Hurricane straps are typically made of galvanized steel or stainless steel. Both offer good resistance to rust and corrosion. However, stainless steel provides the best protection in harsh coastal environments.
  • Gauge: The gauge of the steel refers to its thickness. Higher gauges (e.g., 16-gauge) are stronger and offer better wind resistance. Consult a structural engineer for the recommended gauge based on your wind zone and roof design.
  • Strap size: The size of the strap should be appropriate for the dimensions of your roof members and the wind load requirements. Oversized straps might be difficult to install, while undersized ones might not provide adequate strength.

Can You Reinforce an Old Shed?

It is possible to reinforce an old shed, but it will require a lot of work and might not be worth the effort, depending on the age and condition of the shed. 

It’s also important to note that hurricane-proofing an old shed will not make it as strong as a new shed designed to withstand high winds. 

If you decide to go ahead with it, you can follow these steps:

  1. Check the condition of the shed ensure the walls and roof are in good condition and have no cracks or holes. 
  2. If there are, you’ll need to repair them before proceeding with hurricane proofing – usually, this involves replacing some boards, patching holes with putty, and applying a fresh coat of paint.
  3. Once the repairs are made, install hurricane straps – the straps will help hold the shed together in high winds.

Final Thoughts

Installing hurricane straps on your shed is a great way to protect it from wind damage.

However, it’s essential to use suitable straps and install them correctly.

When shopping for hurricane straps, ensure you get the right size and shape for your shed. Additionally, don’t forget to buy the screws and other hardware you’ll need for the job.

You don’t want to get home and realize you didn’t buy a bunch of supplies that you need for the job.

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