As Hurricane Dorian sets its' sights on the East Coast of the United States with more hurricanes brewing in the Atlantic it's important to be as prepared as possible. Hurricane notifications give everyone plenty of time to prepare and one simple way to add a protective layer and peace of mind is with rope.
If your home does not already have hurricane strapping for your roof installed this is the most assured way to secure your roof.
Even if you have hurricane strapping installed it's a good idea to batten down the house with some rope. Rope with a high tensile strength and a slight "give" is best. Solid Braid Polypropylene Utility Rope is inexpensive, resists rot, mildew and chemicals and fits all the properties you'd need in an emergency. It also floats. Adding some inexpensive fish netting under the rope is a good way to hold down shingles as well.
The single most important step in securing your home is anchoring the rope. No matter how strong your rope is it will do no better than the strength of your anchor posts.
The post hole approach:
Here, you put concrete-filled post holes about 4 feet from the wall with an embedded steel tie-down point (like that shown below). Then you can attach the ropes. They should be low enough in the ground so that your mower doesn't hit them.
The reason they are about 4 feet from the wall is that they are much harder to pull out sideways than straight up as would be the case if they were right by the side of the wall. The protocol would be to toss a ball of string attached to the rope over the house then use that to pull the bigger rope over. Secure it on one side, then secure it loosely on the other side. Only tighten the ropes 100% once you know the hurricane is definitely going to arrive. Tightening down the ropes is sure to cause a little shingle and gutter damage so you wouldn't do it unless the threat was completely real.
Another option is to put strong eye bolts in the foundation if the foundation is accessible. You can tie off on them and they would hold as well but this also requires previous installation and some drilling into concrete. This tactic might even be stronger than the post hole method.
The next aspect is to "net" the entire house with some light weight fish net. It must be just strong enough to hold the shingles on. Put pieces of netting the width of the space between two post hole tie-downs. A complete net for the whole house would weigh too much to easily deploy. Then, at the base of the house, attach them to the post hole tie-downs. These attachments don't have to be particularly tight like the roof ties. They shouldn't be able to come loose under any circumstances. Leave everything separate so that if one thing fails, the rest aren't pulled away by it, i.e. don't tie everything together into one big piece of rope-net-anchors.
The net holes don't have to be very fine ... just so that they cover each individual shingle. Note the added protection of having a first line of defense in the front of your home to catch flying debris. You should also board your windows. If your house is completely "wrapped" in netting, you can store stuff between the net and your wall, like outdoor furniture. Anything you put there is another line of defense. Trimming the trees around your home will help to reduce the flying debris problem and stowing it between the net and wall would make that debris work for you instead of against you. A great deal depends on how much time you have to work on your defense. The ropes, of course, come first. If you lose your roof, you lose everything.
Hurricane Safety Tips:
- Stay away from low-lying and flood prone areas.
- Always stay indoors during a hurricane, because strong winds will blow things around.
- Leave mobile homes and to go to a shelter.
- If your home isn’t on higher ground, go to a shelter.
- If emergency managers say to evacuate, then do so immediately.