After weathering several hurricanes in our Corpus Christi home, we're concerned about how much more stress the roof can take. A friend of ours suggested installing hurricane clips on the roof to lessen our chances of wind damage. What do you think of hurricane clips, and can we install them ourselves?
Jason A. ~ Corpus Christi, Texas
Hi Jason, There is a lot of hardware required in new homes today by the national building codes to help prevent damage from hurricanes. Unfortunately, a lot of older homes don't have the benefit of these new damage prevention methods, and trying to add them can be very costly. Hurricane clips are something that can be added to your home, and while they don't cost very much, installing them in a completed house can be very labor intensive. I think it is a very good idea to add them though, especially in an area that may get a hurricane.
Hurricane clips help hold the roof system to the exterior walls of the house. They are metal straps which are nailed to the roof trusses where they cross the top plates of the exterior walls. The problem is, where those roof trusses sit on the top plate is at the very outside of the roof system, and there is very little room to work. Added to the challenge is the blown insulation that is often in that area, and the occasional nail that has penetrated the roof sheathing, and the sharp end that is waiting for your head to find it. Hurricane clips are normally put on in the framing stage of the home being built, and it is a very easy task at that time.
It can be done in a finished home though, it will just take some time to do, and you may not be able to do every truss. I have done this in finished homes before, and it's not a very fun job. If you plan on doing it during the summer, do it in the early morning before that Corpus Christi, Texas heat kicks in. Use a piece of plywood to lay on, as there is probably no flooring in the area, just bottom chords of roof trusses and insulation. Be very careful you don't fall through the ceiling, as I have had that pleasure before, too.
It may be worth it to get a price from a local Corpus Christi contractor to do the job. If it's not too expensive, it might be good to use them. I would be willing to bet that by the time you are finished doing it yourself, you will wish you had used a contractor.