Horizon Structures Presents Series….Hurricanes and Horse Barns



By Nikki Alvin-Smith


While many of us are aware of the special requirements for hurricane protection for our homes, window and door shutters, special bracing and straps between floors, roof anchored all the way down the walls to the basement, we may overlook the need for hurricane protection for our horse barn.


While some States also have requirements for hurricane protection for all structures including horse barns, many States do not. This doesn’t necessarily mean that having your horse building protected from wind damage is a bad thing. Simple upgrades can be made to a horse barn to help provide protection from the roof flying off or the building ripping off its foundation due to wind or water.


Here are some simple upgrades that you might want to consider if you are contemplating purchasing a horse barn.


Anchor The Building


Your building should be anchored down to avoid vertical lifting or shifting side-to-side during high winds. If your barn is a modular design and has tow hooks you can use a standard anchor kit available from the barn manufacturer to anchor it down with steel cables.


If you have concrete footers you can use steel strapping and set it into the concrete footer. You simply set rods in concrete and attach the concrete anchor straps Alternatively you can use hurricane brackets. These are L-shaped and should be at least ¼ inch thick steel and should attach the building with concrete fasteners to the footer. These brackets can also be used along the 6 x 6 baseboard of the building and attached with lag bolts.


While we think about anchoring a building against devastating winds the anchoring system is also important in areas where flooding may occur. This may prevent your building floating away.


Windows and Doors


The windows and doors are a high-risk area for damage and can be blown in during high winds. While many barn windows are fairly small and can be covered with Advantech or plywood during a storm, it is a smart idea to consider the type of doors carefully when choosing entry doors. A solid door will certainly fare better than a door with windows. Any area of glass can be made safer by adding permanent brackets at the top, bottom and sides so plywood can be quickly installed if the need arises or you can upgrade windows to hurricane grade.


Brace Your Barn


By making structural upgrades with extra bracing and larger joists and rafters, the building can be modified to be hurricane safe to 120 m.p.h. Ask your building company for advice. Most modular horse barn building companies have experience in building structures that conform or exceed tight hurricane code requirements in the high risk areas they service such as Florida. Making some simple adjustments in structural design for customers living in States where hurricane protection is not mandated in the building code, is easily completed by a company that has engineers on staff to make those adjustments, so don’t be shy to ask.


The Vulnerable Roof


Hurricane force winds can create a negative pressure that results in a lifting force capable of ripping your roof right off. As soon as the roof comes off, the entire building is at serious risk for falling apart. A well-prepared roof should be anchored through the walls. There are several different methods used to anchor the roof.


Hurricane clips on rafters and laminated headers can prevent your roof from blowing off. While the best solution is to attach the roof all the way down the side of the building to the foundation, even adding clips and laminated headers with closed soffits and smaller overhangs can make a positive improvement in making your horse barn hurricane worthy.


If your roof has shingles these should be rated to the highest possible rating and with the right installation technique an architectural shingle can be rated to 130 m.p.h. A second line of defense from incoming water is a water shield under the entire shingled roof.


For a metal roof the standing seam roofs are the best as these have a limited number of seams plus as the seams are raised the water flows down the roof in torrential rain and the seam is above that water passage.


Other Features


Overhangs are at high risk for being lifted from their pillars and should also be attached to the concrete footer where possible. The larger the overhang, the higher the risk of wind damage.


When designing your building remember the higher the pitch of the roof the more of a sail the roof will become during high wind. Steep pitches are necessary for high snow load areas, but a lesser pitch is needed with a metal versus shingle roof.


A wooden structure is heavier than a metal or plastic structure so necessarily will fare better at staying where Einstein’s gravity theory says it should be, on the ground. During hurricanes buildings are often damaged by projectiles, such as lawn furniture and other debris. A wooden structure will provide a better barrier to flying objects than a thin sheet of metal. Obviously they are much quieter than a metal building for their residents in a storm, which is important for the wellbeing of the animals.


The take away message here is that for peace of mind it makes sense to upgrade your horse barn with hurricane protection if you are concerned about high wind damage or flooding even if it not mandated by your local building code. An experienced barn building company will be able to address your concerns and offer customizations to fit your individual needs. Don’t be shy to ask.



PLEASE NOTE: This article is available for use in its entirety without edit, in any media format on condition that credit is given to Horizon Structures Inc., and author Nikki Alvin-Smith as a byline at the beginning of the article publication and Horizon Structures URL address and Nikki Alvin-Smith URL is included.  Horizon would appreciate notification of any publication and please contact Horizon Structures for photos to accompany the article.


This article is brought to you courtesy of Horizon Structures Inc., Atglen PA – Modular horse barn and indoor riding arena specialists. Horizon Structures also offers both residential and commercial kennels, coops, multi-use structures and playsets. Please visit https://www.HorizonStructures.com to learn more.


About Horizon Structures:  One horse or twenty, there’s one thing all horse owners have in common…the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners.  At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart “horse-friendly” design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses’ stabling needs.


All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need –

Horizon Structures also sells indoor riding arenas, chicken coops, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures.


Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook.  Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business.  He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.


For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at https://www.horizonstructures.com