an aerial view of a hurricane on the left and a mobile home with a palm tree in the front yard on the right

Manufactured homes have features that can withstand hurricanes. However, you can add extra protection to make your home even more hurricane-resistant. 

So, what can you do to give your house added durability during hurricanes?  

It’s essential to ensure your house’s exterior and interior protection, as the key to minimizing damage is to take steps before the disaster hits. This article lists several essential tips to help you make your home hurricane-resistant. Let’s get into it!

How Do I Make My Manufactured Home Hurricane-Resistant?

To make your manufactured home hurricane-resistant, you must secure your home’s tie-downs and anchors and strengthen wall joints and cracks to avoid water leaking into the house. Other necessary steps include gutter cleaning, window protection, and securing exterior attachments.

Now let’s look at each of these precautions more in-depth.

a row of manufactured homes with green grass in front
Manufactured homes are especially vulnerable to storms, given their lightweight construction materials, not being tied down to a foundation, and more.

1.) Secure the Tie-Downs

First things first, you need to secure your tie-downs. Tie-downs are anchors and straps that ensure your house stays standing during strong winds, including a hurricane. Poorly installed tie-downs increase the risk of your house overturning or sliding. 

According to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Act, manufactured homes must have tie-downs. But getting a professional to check them before the hurricane season is a good idea, even if your house has tie-downs. 

There are two types of tie-downs:

  • Frame tie-downs – these are pre-installed in the newer manufactured homes. The builders attach the straps to the frame rails to add stability to the entire structure. Frame anchors look better aesthetically and are more effective.
  • Over-the-top – these tie-down straps are like a wrap around your house. They stretch over the roof from one side to the other, strapping into the nethermost point of the house. 
Closeup on the frame attachment end of a frame anchor tie-down on the underside of a mobile home
Courtesy of Clayton Homes

No matter what type of tie-downs your manufactured home has, here are some essential things to look at:

  • You must ensure the straps are tight enough.
  • Check with local authorities about the recommended strap strength and number of tie-downs for your location. 
  • Replace anchors and tie-downs that show any signs of damage or corrosion
  • Check anchors for proper full-depth installation.

2.) Secure Windows and Doors

One of the most important things during a hurricane is preventing wind and water from entering your house. When strong winds get inside a manufactured home, they create pressure, which can blow off your house’s roof.

Getting hurricane-proof windows is the best solution. But you can protect your windows if your budget doesn’t allow you to replace them.

An effective way to secure windows and doors is to install removable shutters over them. It’s important to get sturdy shutters that can minimize the impact.

You can also use plywood if you can’t afford shutters. Plywood protects your door and window frames from the outside. It would be best to take proper measurements for your frames to board your windows effectively. 

A makeshift plywood hurricane shutter
When Hurricane Ian was coming at us here in Saint Petersburg, FL, we grabbed any wood we could to make a hurricane shutter for the largest window in our home.

Additionally, it’s ideal to use sliding shutters to close them without effort or wasting time. 

Here are some other ways to protect doors and windows:

  • Close and lock all your windows and doors. 
  • Use anti-burglary window films to add an extra layer of protection.
  • Repair your damaged window and door frames. 
  • Use window protection panels, screens, or other fabrics. 
  • You must remove all movable items from your front and backyard. Strong winds can blow these items away and crash into your windows or doors. 

3.) Reinforce the Roof

A mobile or manufactured home’s roof can come off if it’s weak or damaged. A roofless home can get swept away or flooded in no time. 

Roof damage can mean different things:

  • Leaks or cracks
  • Loose shingles
  • Misplaced shingles
  • Gaps in flashing 

Leaks and cracks in the roof can cause debris pileup and may become the entryway for sharp glass shards or other dangerous items. Therefore, you must fix the damage to ensure the roof is strong enough to withstand a hurricane. The best solution is to get a professional to do the repairs. 

You can strengthen the roof in several ways:

  • Cement the shingles’ edges with a roofing cement to hold them firmly in place.
  • Nail the shingles firmly to the roof.
  • Strengthen roof flashing to keep the rain out.
  • Get over-the-top tie-downs to hold the roof firmly in place. 
  • Replace missing shingles and secure them in place. 
  • Get a roof over if the damage is extensive.
  • Use reinforced webbing or roofing mastic to fix cracks and leaks. 

4.) Sheath the Roof

Roof sheathing is also highly advisable, as it gives your roof an extra layer of protection. It would be best to have thicker panels or whatever sheathing material you use for robust sheathing. For example, thick plywood boards can work well. 

An unfinished roof with plywood sheathing applied
Courtesy of Georgia Pacific

No matter what material you use for sheathing, you must use fasteners to securely fasten the roof structure to the roof sheathing. 

Remember, your manufactured home can sustain substantial damage even if it loses one piece of roof sheathing. So, the connection mustn’t be weak, or the strong winds will likely blow your sheathing off.

Common mistakes include:

  • Not using enough fasteners
  • Missing fasteners
  • Too much space between fasteners
  • Nails aren’t hitting the framing member
  • Too small or big nails

5.) Strengthen the Wall Joints and Cracks

The points where walls join with the floor and other surfaces are called wall joints. Any cracks in these joints can be a primary source of water leakage into the house. So, you must repair these joints and fill up the gaps.

Calling a professional to strengthen and fill the cracks correctly is best. However, you can also do it yourself if you have any experience in manufactured home construction. 

6.) Sheath the Walls

Wall sheathing adds an extra protective layer to the wall’s exterior. You can add both structural and non-structural wall sheathings to a manufactured home. Together they can provide support and insulation.

A diagram of the components of a wall
Courtesy of Hammer and Hand

Structural wall sheathing secures the house against strong winds, increasing support and strength. Non-structural sheathing acts as insulation to keep the rain and wind out. 

You can find different types of structural wall sheathings on the market. 

Common wall sheathing types include:

  • Wood-based such as plywood, waferboard, and oriented strand board (OSB)
  • Glass mat wall sheathing with fiberglass barrier
  • Gypsum-based wall sheathing
  • Thermos-based wall sheathing
  • Cement board sheathing

It’s important to note that mobile or manufactured homes mostly use plywood or OSB.

As for non-structural wall sheathing, you can choose from the following options:

  • Plastic
  • Cellulose fiber
  • Foam
  • Foil-faced sheathing
  • Paper-faced sheathing

7.) Clear Your Front and Backyard

You must carefully perform a full landscape check and remove any movable light or heavy items from your back and front yards. The winds can likely carry these items off and smash them against your windows or doors. And any damage to your exterior structure can allow winds and water to enter your home. 

Items susceptible to hurricane winds can include:

  • Patio furniture
  • Lanterns
  • Potted plants
  • Wind chimes
  • Gardening tools
  • BBQ grill and other outdoor cooking materials

A landscape check also includes assessing the damage the surrounding trees can inflict. Again, it’s a good idea to call professional pruners and check for possible damage from trees and their branches. 

8.) Secure Your HVAC System

The compressor of a mini-split and central AC unit next to the wall outside a home

A hurricane can easily damage your HVAC system if it doesn’t have protection. 

You can secure the system using a couple of methods:

  • Strap the HVAC system securely to the platform on which it stands
  • Get a strong protective tarp to cover your system

However, you must ensure the straps are sturdy enough to hold the system against the strongest winds. 

9.) Reinforce the Siding

Any damage to your manufactured home’s siding can compromise the entire structure’s safety. The siding usually covers your insulations, giving it an added protective layer. So, when the siding comes off, it can leave your walls and insulation vulnerable to a hurricane. 

You must secure the sidings using screws or any adhesive material. The siding material should also be resistant to hurricanes to improve security. 

10.) Secure the Interior

A hurricane doesn’t only damage the exterior. It can also cause havoc inside the house. The wind may enter the house even after taking every precaution. 

To avoid any severe damage within the house, you must secure cupboards, doors, cabinets, etc., using child locks.

Closeup on the knobs of a cupboard using a child-proof lock

Your electronics, such as TV and computers, glass objects, cookware, etc., can also fall, shatter, and hurt people. So, storing your electronic devices, such as TV and computers, in secure places would be best. 

11.) Secure Garage Doors 

You must pay attention to the doors if you have a garage. The wind can pull the gates off, increasing the risk of damage to your house. The wind can also enter your house if your manufactured home has an attached garage. This setup can create wind pressure inside the house, causing severe damage. 

The best thing is to get hurricane-resistant doors. But you can also lock them using retrofit kits, braces, and hurricane panels.

12.) Look for Hurricane Protection Outreach Programs

Most hurricane-prone areas have their hurricane outreach programs. You can contact your local program and request a consultation. 

The program sends professionals to your home to help with different aspects of hurricane protection, such as: 

  • Identifying potential risks
  • Finding weaknesses in your house
  • Preventing damage
  • Helping install improvements such as shutters, tie-down, anchors, etc.
  • Creating evacuation plans

They can even help cover costs for new improvements and increase your home’s resale value! However, each program has distinct policies and protocols, so determining what you’ll get help with depends on the specific program.

Conclusion

Manufactured homes have many inbuilt features to protect them from hurricanes, but it’s still a good idea to call experts for a consultation. They can help you identify risks and take preventative measures against a storm. 

The best way to make your manufactured home hurricane-resistant is to install hurricane-resistant features. However, you can make renovations for added protection if you can’t afford a rehaul. 

Sources

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