Hurricane straps can be used to reinforce a deck house or a residence of any type, as long as the building has a wood frame. Hurricane straps are perforated bands of galvanized steel that reinforce connections between structural members of a wood frame building. They are used to secure the roof rafters to the stud walls and the stud walls to the concrete foundation, decreasing the potential for uplift in hurricane-force winds.
Hurricane straps are easily installed; nothing more complicated than a hammer and #16 nails will be needed to attach them. Below are some tips to consider when installing hurricane straps.
Step 1 - When to Install Hurricane Straps
Hurricane straps are applied to a wood frame structure as soon as the structural frame is completed, before any plywood sheathing or decking is installed. Install hurricane straps with #16 nails, toe-nailing where they attach to the face (long dimension) of the structural lumber.
Step 2 - Installing Straps on an Existing Structure
To install straps on an existing structure, it will be necessary to cut back roofing (shingles, decking) and exterior wall cladding (siding, sheathing, insulation) down about 2 feet along the edge of the structural member, revealing the bare wood frame along the plates and the ridge. You may also need to remove some of the gypsum board from the interior surface of the exterior walls.
Step 3 - How to Install the Straps
Ideally, a strap should be installed at each structural member. But in reality, straps installed at alternating studs or rafters is the more common practice.
Step 4 - Where to Install the Straps
Hurricane straps are manufactured in a variety of shapes and configurations; be sure to obtain those which are suitable for the framing assembly at the joints that will require strapping.
A typical rafter to rafter application has a strap nailed to the top edge of the rafter at the ridge connection, extends over the ridge and connects with the rafter on the opposite side.
A rafter to plate connection uses a pre-formed strap that wraps around the top edge and side face of the rafter at the plate connection and is twisted 90 degrees flat against the edge of the plate.
In a plate to foundation connection, the strap is fastened to the outside surface of the foundation wall with concrete nails and extends up past the plate several inches along the edge of the stud.
In 2 story structures, straps would connect the bottom plate of the upper floor to the top plate of the lower floor.
If you are unsure about which framing connections require reinforcing and by which method, consult with a general contractor. In the event of severe weather, installed hurricane straps are certain to minimize the risk of structural damage and may even prevent loss of life.