What Happens to Tiny Houses During a Hurricane?
You might be surprised at the answer. Several Florida tiny house owners recently learned just how tough their tiny houses are!
During the Tennessee Tiny House Festival, Hurricane Irma was paying a visit to my home state of Florida. I wasn’t sure if our traditional house on a foundation would be there when we got home, and the owners of tiny houses were understandably concerned as well. Read on to hear how they prepared, what kind of tie downs were used, and how their homes were in the aftermath.
Jeremy Ricci owns a tiny house vacation resort on Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota. He had his tiny houses protected as well as possible, even pulling them together in the hopes of withstanding the hurricane winds. It all worked! The tiny houses held up well, and the resort was one of the first places to have power restored. Many people called and booked a stay in the tiny houses to have a place with electricity and hot showers, proving once again that tiny houses are a great solution for the future! You can find out more about the resort and see pictures of the tiny homes here, and be sure to visit them on Facebook.
Tiffany the Tiny Home
Tim Davidson, owner of Tiffany the Tiny Home, wrote a great blog post about what it’s like knowing that a monster storm is headed for your beloved tiny house, and everything they went through trying to get ready. Tim is grateful that Irma was a category 1 storm (which still means winds up to 95 mph) by the time it reached Tiffany, a little over an hour south of Tampa. He reports that other than a big tree branch falling inches from Tiffany and a little touch up paint, everything is fine after the hurricane. Now that’s good news!
Be sure to read Tim’s post; it contains great information on the importance of dee rings on tiny house trailers, and tie downs. You can also learn more about Tiffany and get lots of important information on their website, and don’t forget to visit them on Facebook.
Barb Diaz’s tiny home, Take-Me-Home, is in the Gracious RV & Tiny House Park in Okeechobee. The park was under mandatory evacuation, but before leaving Barb did all she could to keep her home safe during the storm. (Read below to learn more about tie-downs and see how she anchored Take-Me-Home to the ground.) She says, “The park manager, Andy and #1 maintenance man, Jesse, spent about 4 hours of their time anchoring down my big tiny.” As you can see in the picture, they put 2 thick ropes up, over and under the house. “There are 2 other anchors strapped to the tongue and to the rear trailer base. I spent the 2 days before the storm boarding up the windows and attaching bolt closures to the aluminum awnings which I installed 2 weeks ago.” During the storm, Okeechobee had sustained 46 mph winds for 5 hours, with gusts up to 75 mph. All 4 of the tiny houses which live in Gracious RV & Tiny House Park full-time made it through unscathed! Click here to read the full story of Take-Me-Home vs. the storm, and the wonderful community where she lives.
Leap of Faith
In Port Orange, FL, Suzy Beckwith boarded up her tiny house, Leap of Faith, and prepared it for the coming storm as best she could. Then, with prayers in her heart and her own “leap of faith,” she left her home behind and went to ride out the storm at a friend’s house. Afterwards, she was relieved to learn that her home had survived. She said, “Thank you Jesus! House built tough!” That’s great news, especially since Suzy, with the help of friends and family, built her house herself. She reports that she is very thankful that the water didn’t come any higher. Although her house sits high, an inch more and the water would have been in her house. She returned home to no electricity, because the box was underwater, and to another big surprise. Her 8,150 pound house had moved about 2 feet! Very scary, but as Suzy said, it could have been worse. She is “Thankful for the good, the bad and the ugly.”
Anchors and Tie-downs
PLEASE NOTE: this information is just to make you aware of the need for some type of anchoring system. This is not a how-to. Do the research to learn what type of system you need for the size and type of tiny house you have, the type of ground or base you are on, and how many anchors you will need.
Tie-downs refer to the systems of heavy-duty straps and anchors that are used to keep your home stable during storms. There are several different types of anchors depending on what type of ground you are on. One thing we have heard from a lot of builders and owners is that tiny house trailers should have dee rings so the trailers can be tied down. Many come with these dee rings, but if not, they can be welded on, preferably long before a storm is headed your way!
Barb Diaz, owner of Take-Me-Home, graciously shared pictures of the anchors and tie-downs she used.
Be safe, everyone!