With millions of people living in coastal areas where hurricanes can strike, there are plenty of homeowners searching for ways to help their homes withstand strong winds. Wind is particularly damaging to the roof because it can push sideways and slide the roof off or lift from below and tear the structure apart. Hurricane straps, also known as truss braces, are one of the most affordable and reliable ways to reinforce your roof to resist wind damage.

Proven Protection

Unlike many other methods and products, hurricane straps have been tested both by artificial and real storm conditions. After years of comprehensive study of homes that withstood some of the worst tornado and hurricane storm winds, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) found that truss reinforcements were an essential feature. They are particularly important for gable roofs since the flat ends of the roof receive a lot of pressure from high-speed winds.

Initial Installation

The biggest downside to hurricane straps is the need to install them during initial construction. Many homeowners purchase homes long after they are built, while others overseeing the construction of a new home aren't aware of the need for truss bracing. Since these straps are pieces of metal that anchor the rafters or trusses to the rest of the framing of the home, it takes very little extra labor to install them during construction. These straps only cost a few dollars each, so your contractor should only increase the total cost by a relatively small percentage to compensate for the extra materials and labor.

Rigorous Retrofit

While adding hurricane straps to an existing structure is tricky, it is possible if you're willing to pay for the work. You will need an experienced roofer to partially disassemble parts of the roof so the ends of the trusses or rafters are properly accessible for installation. If straps are only placed in easily accessible parts of the attic, the roof will lack the strength and wind resistance offered by a complete installation.

Complete Cables

In addition to braces connecting roof structures to the walls, you can also run strong metal cables from the rafters to the very foundation supporting your home. These cables can complement or replace hurricane braces. However, the cables are even more limited to initial construction only. Retrofitting is impossible in most homes for hurricane roof cables, so keep it in mind for your next place if you're currently living in a finished home.

For more information about hurricane straps and cables, contact a professional roof company.