Before moving to Arizona, we lived in Florida for most of our lives, so we are all too familiar with hurricanes, and the damage they can do. No matter what kind of house you’re building – tiny, small, large – it’s important that it can withstand a hurricane, should you be unfortunate enough to get hit by one.
Tiny houses can absolutely withstand a hurricane if constructed properly. In fact, there are even prefabricated structures made to withstand hurricanes that you can convert into a tiny house. Continue reading to learn more about hurricane-proof tiny house options…
Tiny Houses That Can Withstand a Hurricane
Tiny houses come in many different forms. You might think that your options are limited when selecting one that could survive a hurricane, but that’s not necessarily true. Here are some different types of tiny houses that could definitely hold up during a hurricane:
Shipping Container Houses
Shipping containers are structurally engineered to withstand anything the ocean can throw at them, including hurricanes. Turning a shipping container into a tiny house is perhaps your best bet at beating a hurricane.
They are very heavy and constructed out of rugged steel beams and corrugated steel panels. They’re basically tanks. In fact, did you know shipping containers have survived sinking to the bottom of the ocean with the items inside still preserved? If they can survive that, they can certainly handle a hurricane.
Cob houses are constructed out of a mixture of clay, sand, and straw sat upon a stone foundation. While clay, sand, and straw might not sound like the strongest materials; when mixed together in the proper ratios and given time to cure, they turn into cob, a material as strong has concrete.
Another factor that contributes to the strength of a cob house is the fact that they are basically monolithic structures, excluding the roof. In other words, they become one solid object once they are completed.
It’s important to note, however, that your cob house must have a good plaster on it if it’s going to withstand a hurricane. Cob that has not been plastered is susceptible to water damage.
Earthbag houses are very similar to cob houses. The only real difference is that the walls are first constructed out of bags filled with sand, then coated with cob and plaster. However, they are essentially solid, monolithic structures once completed.
Crazy as it might sound, a portable shed converted to a tiny house could potentially withstand a hurricane. If you live in a region that gets hurricanes, by default, a prebuilt shed will come with hurricane ties to meet local building codes.
We actually live in a shed-conversion – pictured above – and while we don’t get hurricanes by us, we do get some pretty intense storms during the monsoon season. So far, after more than two years, we haven’t had any problems. However, if you really want your shed-conversion to be able to survive a hurricane, we strongly recommend you put metal siding on it – the LP SmartSide they come with by default is pretty weak stuff.
We’d also recommend putting it on a slab foundation and bolting it down. Even though they are pretty heavy buildings – the tare weight of our 12×24 is 8,000 lb – you wouldn’t want to chance strong winds getting underneath it, which could potentially tip it over.
Tiny Houses That Probably Wouldn’t Do Well During a Hurricane
Now that we’ve gone over some options for tiny homes that could definitely withstand a hurricane, let’s talk about some that could likely get destroyed…
Tiny Houses on Wheels
Tiny houses on wheels are off the ground and they’re typically constructed to be fairly light so they’re easy to tow. This means they could potentially get flipped over by a hurricane.
Trailers and RVs
Trailers and RVs are just another form of tiny houses on wheels, and thus have the same problems. However, not only are they lightweight and off the ground, they are usually built with very thin, weak walls and siding. They are also prone to leak.
Tiny Houses on Blocks or Crawl Spaces
Again, we run into the same problem as the aforementioned. A tiny house on blocks is not anchored to the ground, so it could be blown over.
More Things You Can Do to Ensure Your Tiny House Is Hurricane Proof
First and foremost, it is absolutely vital that your tiny house is properly weather sealed. There are loads of tutorials online you can find for this, especially on Youtube.
Secondly, it is important that your tiny house has strong siding and a sturdy roof. We highly recommend a metal roof and metal siding. If you’ve got the budget, cedar is also a good choice.
Lastly, anchoring your house to the ground and installing hurricane ties is a must. The two worst things that could happen to your house during a hurricane is the roof blowing off or the whole house tipping over. Windows and shutters can be repaired, but if you lose your roof or tip over, that’s going to be pretty hard to recover from, if not impossible.