Why Anchoring Is So Important and What You Can Do About It.

There’s a bit of science involved in properly anchoring your home. There are some things you can do yourself and others that should be entrusted to a professional. Do you know the difference? Read more about why anchoring is so important and what your options are as a manufactured home owner.

Make Sure Your Home Is Ready for Strong Winds

Anchoring Your Home:
When strong winds blow, manufactured homes need special protection. No matter where you live, you need tie-downs and anchors to keep your manufactured home stable and secure. Before you start the job, you should understand why this wind protection system is necessary, and know the basic requirements for tie-downs and anchors. You also need to become familiar with all the components that make up your anchoring system. It’s a good idea to consult with an experienced professional installer or building inspector if you have any questions or doubts about the installation.

Why Tie Downs:
Manufactured homes must have anchors and tie-downs to keep them in place during high winds. Compared to site-built homes, manufactured homes are relatively lightweight. They have flat sides and ends, and they are built on frames rather than foundations. Almost all manufactured homes are elevated, situated on top of some type of pier. Wind can get under the home and lift them up. Wind passing over the top can also create an uplift force.

Types of Tie Downs:
The type of tie-down you select usually depends on when your manufactured home was built. Older homes often have exposed over-the-top tie-downs. This is an effective system, but it does detract from the appearance of your house. The straps are placed over the siding and roof. Until recent years, most manufactured homes came equipped with concealed over-the-top tie-downs. These straps are located just under the exterior siding and metal roof. The end of the strap hangs out under the manufactured home. Newer model homes might not have any type of over-the-top tie-down. Because of increased structural strength of manufactured homes, these models are secured with anchoring straps attached to the home’s steel frame rails, called frame anchors. Doublewides are also secured with frame anchors.

Types of Anchors:
You’ll find anchors available for different types of soil conditions, including concrete slab. Auger anchors have been designed for both hard soil and soft soil. Rock anchors or drive anchors allow attachment to a rock or coral base. This type of anchor is also pinned to the ground with crossing steel stakes. If you will be pouring a concrete base you can install a concrete deadman anchor first. You need to know your soil type to select the right anchor. Soil classifications usually include rock/hard pan, heavy sandy gravel. Heavy sand, silty gravel, clay gravel, clay, uncommitted fill, or peat.

How to Check Your Tie Down Straps:
If you have vinyl, or metal skirting around the home, remove the skirting and locate the tie down straps. Once you have located the straps, you can test the tension by touching the strap. The strap should be firm to the touch, and not loose. If the strap is loose, a professional should be called to properly adjust the tension on the tie down strap.

Awnings or Attached Structures:
Porches and other structures–such as entry way canopies and carports that are attached to houses–can break loose and tear away from the home. When this happens, a part of the house roof is usually damaged leaving openings where water and wind can enter your home; and the debris from the structure can cause serious damage to your house and those of your neighbors. When the roof of this attached structure is solid and one or more of the sides is open, the uplift forces on the roof can be quite large, particularly when the wind is blowing towards the house and pressures build up on the bottom surface of the roof because the wind is blocked by the house’s wall. These pressures on the bottom surface add to the uplift pressures of the wind speeding up over the top of the roof (the kind of uplift created on an airplane’s wing) and the combined loads can easily overcome the uplift resistance, unless the roof is properly tied down.

Common Collateral Damages From Wind Borne Awnings:
When awnings become airborne, they can cause serious damages to your home.

  • Roof damages: It is not uncommon, when the awning is uplifted, for it to land on top of the homes roof, or hit it on its way over. When this happens, depending on speed of impact, it could not only damage roof coverings (e.g., shingles, tile, metal), but it could also structurally damage the roof. It is possible for the awning to puncture the decking, and even crack or break the roof truss.
  • Siding damages: As with the roof, when the awning, or attached structure is blown apart from the home, it often strikes the side of the home, or neighbors home. When this happens, there are a number of components that can be damaged. Some of these components include, siding, sheathing, wall studs, windows, gutters, and doors.

What can you as a home owner do to prevent this?
There are a couple things you as a home owner can do to minimize the risk of this happening to you.

  • If you are having a new awning or patio cover constructed, and attached to your home, check the local building codes. Check the awning or structures wind rating. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, paying close attention to the way the structure is braced, and attached to the ground or slab.
  • If hiring a contractor to do this, only hire licensed and insured contractors, who are familiar with this type of construction, and local building codes.
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