These days, Mother Nature may be your best sales assistant. A torment of natural disasters, from Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey to tornadoes in Oklahoma to wildfires in Colorado, all remind homeowners of the need to make sure their house can protect them from harm. For them, being prepared means considering safety options. For you, it’s about being ready to discuss those options knowledgeably and then put them to use.
Some safety materials are ready-made, such as the above- and below-ground safe rooms that can protect occupants against winds of more than 200 miles per hour. Prices typically range from $2,000 to $6,000, according to BUILDER magazine, a sister publication to REMODELING.
Bad weather also is a good reason to bone up on the latest recommendations for securing wood-frame structures against high winds. BUILDER suggests that you:
- Anchor sill plates to the slab. The traditional way to anchor a sill plate is with J-shaped anchor bolts and large washers. Metal straps are also available.
- Tie the walls together. Metal straps tie each stud to the bottom plate and the top plates. At windows and doors, more U-shaped straps tie the header to the window framing.
- Bolt down the corners. Engineered and site-built sheer panels help hold a house plumb. Heavy-duty hardware — called hold-downs — bolts the sheer panels to the foundation.
- Use roof-to-wall connectors. Employ “hurricane clips” — metal straps that hold perpendicular framing members together.
- Hold the ridge together. Place straps over each rafter pair or else use standard wooden collar ties in the upper third of the rafter.
- Balloon frame the gable ends. For gable walls shorter than 20 feet, keep studs continuous and balloon frame the wall. Add fire blocking as required.