To reduce wind damage from a hurricane or tornado, joints connecting the framing of a house are tied together from the roof down to the sill using metal straps and hardware.
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Randy Shackleford is a Research Engineer for a company that manufactures structural connectors for the building industry. He explains how the business of reinforcing homes is evolving.
The concept is that that the wind is pulling on the top of the roof causing uplift. So it’s important to connect the roof not only to the top wall plate, but all the way down to the foundation.
Start by securely fastening the roof sheathing to the rafters, then the roof framing is connected to the wall, and everywhere there’s a joint in the wall, it should be connected together.
The top plate is then connected to the stud, the stud is connected to the bottom plate, and a bolt is embedded in the foundation with a nut and extra large washer connecting the bottom plate to the foundation. So what you have is a continuous chain with all the lengths in the chain connected together from the roof down to the bottom.
You can buy all the material to reinforce your house from wind damage for about $200.00 for a modest size home.
One of the best ways to learn how to reinforce a home is when a disaster strikes. Engineers then can go out and look at the damage to see what failed and try to figure out what happened, then take that knowledge back and incorporate it in the building code.
This happened after earthquakes in California and Hurricane Andrew in Florida. And I’m sure the same thing will happen here in the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. We’ll take what we saw and incorporate it into improvements in both wind and flood resistance.