If you spent most of your life residing outside a coastal hurricane area, you may not have heard about hurricane straps before. But on our little Caribbean island, these simple connectors are very important to make sure your contractor includes when building your home. While we are quite blessed with being below the hurricane belt and receiving very few severe storms, high winds and bad weather are always a possibility. Ensuring that the walls, roof systems, and foundation of your home are properly tied together is just common sense, especially after you have spent the time to find your perfect slice of Roatan island real estate for your homesite.
So, what are hurricane straps and what exactly do they do? We’ll explain below.
What are Hurricane Straps?
Hurricane straps – also known as tie-downs or hold downs are actually one of the least expensive pieces of hardware that you’ll need to buy to build your home on Roatan. They are also quite easy to install and quite frankly, if you have found a good contractor to work with, they should insist on using them. The term hurricane clips are used to refer to any connector that ties intersections of a home’s frame.
How Do Hurricane Clips Work?
In normal weather conditions, gravity helps hold walls and roofs together. But when winds get strong enough, they can pry roofs upwards, causing serious damage. We’ve all seen major storm coverage where roofs have been entirely ripped off homes, leaving them exposed like dollhouses. The objective of hurricane straps isn’t so much as to keep a roof intact but instead keeping the roof locked to the foundation and walls of your home and no matter where you live on the island – from Port Royal to West Bay, these are needed.
What Do Hurricane Clips Look Like?
The types of clips and connectors available can vary, but typically it will look like a small twisted metal strap that has nail holes drilled into it. The strap face is connected to the roof support and the other part to the top plate of the wall. The clips are attached to wherever the rafters meet the walls in your home.
What If You Bought an Existing Home on Roatan?
If you bought an older home on Roatan and have found out that tie-down hardware was not used in the construction, you do have options. While it is a large undertaking as you need to get beneath the wall and ceiling coverings, you can install hurricane clips and tie-down hardware after a home has been built. But this is a major renovation to your home. It is best to use an opportunity like if you are doing an addition or a major remodel to install the clips at the same time. If you have an opportunity to reinforce your home and protect your investment, it is time and money well spent.
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