The Gulf of Mexico is a hurricane-prone area. Texas is partly in a designated catastrophe area, and people living there need to think about home fortification for protection against hurricane damage. Those living near the coast especially should take these steps seriously.

What is the Hurricane Tie and Strap Code for Texas?

The hurricane strap code for Texas has many requirements surrounding the installation of ties and straps. Homes near the coast should have hurricane ties installed. If the house is west of Texas State Highway 146, it must be able to withstand Category 2 winds. Areas east of highway 146 have stricter laws.

Safety standards decree that neither ties nor straps can have fewer than three nails. They must also be corrosion-free, with no more than ½-inch of space between them and the truss. 

Read on for a more in-depth look at the requirements for where you live in Texas and learn more about hurricane straps and ties.

What’s the Difference Between Hurricane Ties and Straps?

While hurricane ties and straps ultimately perform similar roles, their distinct features are a bit different.

Both are used to fortify the joist and trusses. Ties and straps prevent uplift from high winds and give homeowners living in danger zones peace of mind. However, there are slight differences between the two. The main difference is their application.

  • Hurricane ties – often called hurricane clips, hurricane ties are also referred to as rafter ties or truss ties. They are metal connectors that do not wrap over the truss.
Closeup of a hurricane tie securing two ceiling joists of a roof
  • Hurricane straps – it is necessary to wrap hurricane straps around the truss and nail them to the other side. Double straps are also available, and they have two metal connectors surrounding the truss.

The Benefits of Hurricane Ties or Straps

Approximately 50-70% of hurricane damage occurs on roofs. Hurricane straps and clips are proven to be effective in significantly reducing this. In areas prone to natural disasters, especially around the coastline, these measures are essential if you want to feel safe in your home. 

What If My Home Doesn’t Have Hurricane Straps or Ties Fitted?

If your home doesn’t have hurricane ties or straps fitted, it is still possible to get them. If your home or building has none, they can be installed by a professional, or you can do it yourself if you have the know-how.

If you are unsure whether or not you have the skills to install them yourself, you should talk to a professional. Doing construction work without the necessary tools or expertise can lead to injury.

The Cost of Fitting

  • Using a professional, a complete fitting will cost around $850 to $1,350 and should include the necessary wind mitigation inspection fee. 
  • Self-installation of hurricane ties or straps is possible and should pose no problem if you are confident in your ability. 

If self-installation is your preference, it will undoubtedly be much cheaper. These Simpson Strong-Tie Hurricane Ties are well-reviewed on Amazon.

What Are Some Things I Need To Know for Self-Installation?

There are several things you need to know for self-installation. If you are not familiar with DIY and home improvement, it may be better to call in the professionals. 

Some things worth considering are:

  • The number of ties or straps needed. Take into account the number of points at which trusses and rafters intersect the walls, and install the hurricane ties on both sides of the rafter.
  • If using hurricane straps, ensure the width of the rafter or truss is compatible.
  • Check with the manufacturer’s guidelines before buying nails to use with your hurricane ties. Different brands require the use of different-sized nails. It could be a difference in length or diameter.

Insurance Matters

Homeowners east of Texas State Highway 146 may not be able to get private insurance as they are in a designated catastrophe area. Instead, they should look for a Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) policy.

Overhead view of north and southbound lanes of TX 146

If you decide to install the ties or straps by yourself east of TX-146, you will need to get an inspection to ensure you meet the criteria for building standards. Passing this inspection should guarantee you are eligible for insurance from the TWIA. 

There are two types of certificates of compliance, one for ongoing construction (WPI-8) and another for completed construction (WPI-8-E).

West of TX-146, homeowners should be able to get private insurance more easily. As this area is not in the designated catastrophe area, the costs should be less expensive. Shopping around for the best deal may be in your interest.

The Texas Department of Insurance

Located in Austin, The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) regulates insurance companies in the state. It enforces the insurance code, thus offering customer protection and balanced competition among companies.

This short YouTube video will give you a little more insight into the TDI and what it can do for you: 

Does My Home Already Have a Certificate of Compliance?

The TDI will be able to tell you if your home already has a certificate of compliance. 

If you are a new homeowner, you can check if your property has a certificate of compliance already on the TDI windstorm website. To check for a certificate issued by the TWIA, you can call 1-800-231-5360.

Other Steps To Minimize Hurricane Damage

To minimize hurricane damage, you should take extra precautions to safeguard the integrity of your home. These measures include impact-resistant windows and doors, taking out insurance, and keeping valuables in a sturdy and safe place. 

Follow the steps below to minimize hurricane damage:

  • Reinforce your garage door; metal, impact-resistant garage doors fitted with a vertical bracing system are best
  • Install impact-resistant windows and hurricane-resistant doors
  • Install hurricane shutters
  • Board up your windows with plywood if other options are too expensive
  • Stock up on supplies, especially food and water but also batteries, flashlights, etc
  • Sandbag your doors
  • Buy flood insurance
  • Keep valuables and essential documents in a sturdy safe
  • Move electronics upstairs and unplug bigger or fixed appliances, including the air conditioner
  • Move yard furniture indoors
  • Trim any trees in the yard that could cause damage if blown over

Final Thoughts

Every homeowner needs peace of mind. Effectively preventing damage to any home is an absolute must. However, it is even more critical for those living in danger zones, whether it be a hurricane, earthquake, or any other disaster-prone area.  

Living in the Gulf of Mexico area can be a highly volatile experience, especially once the hurricane season kicks in. Therefore, homeowners must be proactive with their home protection before the winds come.

Never leave things until the last minute. But, first things first, get that roof fortified if it isn’t already!

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