Tornado and High Wind Damage – Strengthen Your Home
Strengthen Your Home Against Tornado and High Winds - Wind Resistant Framing Connectors
Certain nails driven into framing lumber are no match for high winds. This is especially true for nails driven into the end grain of wood studs. End grain can be found at the top or bottom of a stud where it touches the top or bottom plate of a wall. Structural engineers and your own experience will tell you that a nail has virtually no holding power when driven into end grain because the nail is parallel with the tube-like structure of the lumber. Autopsies performed on destroyed houses show time and again that roofs and floors blow off houses because the top plate detaches from the studs.
Imagine a handful of drinking straws bunched next to one another. That is what a piece of lumber looks like under a microscope. When the tree grows, these straws run up and down the tree trunk. They are the transportation routes that the sap uses to travel between the roots and the leaves.
Drive a nail sideways through the tubes and you have a different story. There is great holding power. Metal framing connectors are used to take advantage of this fact. They bypass the end grain of lumber at every opportunity. The following illustrations are just a few of the many connectors you can use to strengthen your home against high wind destruction. The illustrations were taken from a wonderful color catalog you must get. It is available for free from the Simpson Strong-Tie Company, Inc. Call them and ask for: High Wind-Resistant Construction Connectors. Pay attention to the back cover of the catalog. It tells you exactly why you need to use these connectors in more than one place.
The framing connectors are made by Simpson and another company called USP Lumber Connectors. You can call them and ask for their full line catalog. One final word. Don't try to guess what connectors to use and how many. Pay a structural engineer to do this for you. There is a very good chance that if you hire the engineer, take photos as the connectors are installed and then forward this information to your insurance company. They may reduce your insurance premiums. If this happens, you may actually make money over the long run!