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Hurricane Clips

The common construction practice of toenailing in the trusses or rafters of the roof is frequently not enough to hold the roof in place during the high winds that accompany a hurricane, tornado, or very severe thunderstorm -- winds that can literally lift the roof off a house unless the roof is firmly attached. For better protection there are roof ties called "Hurricane clips." These stainless steel clips are nailed to both the roof structure and the house walls and provide the proper reinforcement to secure the roof to the walls. Hurricane clips have proven so effective that new building codes often require them in areas that are affected by severe storms.

If you are thinking of installing hurricane clips, consider the following:

  • The clips should be made from 18 gauge stainless steel and installed at least every 4 feet in order to withstand winds up to 100 miles per hour.
  • Hurricane clips are easiest to install when a house is being built, but they can be retrofitted to an existing house by removing the roof sheathing around the perimeter of the roof to reveal the top of the existing walls. It may also be necessary to remove exterior soffits and wall cladding to reveal the top 12 to 18 inches of the walls. Roof trusses should be strapped directly to the walls or anchored to the top plate of the wall and then to the wall stud.
  • The sturdiest method of securing the roof involves using the hurricane clips to connect the rafters of the roof to the top of the house walls and then bolting the walls to a plate in the cement house slab to keep the walls from lifting up with the roof in extreme conditions.

While hurricane clips will hold the roof on the house in severe storms, they will not prevent individual shingles or tiles from being blown off the roof.

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