Tornado-Proofing Your Steel Shed

When a twister’s threatening to wreak havoc on your neighborhood, you want to be prepared.

You may already have go-to safety preparedness techniques for your family (e.g., designated storm shelter areas). Do you have similar plans in place for your structures?

If a tornado’s hitting, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is the safety of your shed. However, these sometimes-flimsy structures are often at high risk for falling over or flying away in the face of a violent storm. Today, let’s talk about ways to mitigate that risk and learn how tornado-proofing your steel shed can keep it safe.

Strengthen Your Steel Shed to Keep It Safe in a Windy Storm

Consider these ways to keep your shed (and your valuables) safe:

1. Check out your state’s steel structure building codes as you’re building your shed.

These codes are written with typical weather trends in mind, which means they’re a good starting point for ensuring your shed is ready for local weather. For example, these codes might mandate specific types of anchors or roof fasteners, resulting in stronger connections between different parts of your shed. Keeping your shed up to these codes will reduce the likelihood that your structure will collapse during high winds.

2. If you haven’t yet built your shed, take a minute to consider an optimal location.

Avoid placing it beneath a tree or below a power structure. Are there natural barriers (such as heavy, dense structures) in the general vicinity of your proposed shed location? Build your shed nearby. Those barriers may be able to dissipate wind that could attack your structure.

3. Invest in a strong foundation.

Your steel structure may be solid in and of itself, but if it’s not connected to anything, it’ll blow away when a twister hits. If you live in a particularly stormy area, consider pouring a concrete slab or concrete piers to serve as the basis for your shed. Reinforce your concrete foundation with rebar to get prepared for seriously high-velocity winds. (Again, check with your state’s codes — this precaution may actually be required in your area.) Use proper anchors for your shed’s walls to ensure that you’re building a strong structure from the bottom up.

4. Use a curved shed design.

Angles and junctures often represent weak points in shed designs, serving as easy points for the wind to attack and knock even a solid structure to the floor. To avoid this, design your shed with a few of these weak points as possible. Curved designs can be ideal for weathering intense high winds for this reason.

5. Consider a storm-proof roof.

The data is in: The more that you’re able to break up the surface area of your roof, the better. Avoid building a shed with a single-surface slanted roof. Opt for a simple gable instead. As you’re designing your roof, avoid overhangs (or long pieces of your roof that extend beyond the walls). These can render your shed susceptible to uplift drafts or wind that can come up from beneath to pick up your roof or your entire steel structure. Make sure you use high-quality fasteners to strengthen the wall-roof connection or even add a central column in your shed to anchor the middle of your roof to your shed’s foundation.

6. Select doors (and windows, if applicable) that are storm-resistant.

Any openings in your shed’s walls can constitute weak points. Instead, select high-impact resistant windows (e.g., ones with two panes of glass reinforced with plastic) and doors with high-quality aluminum or steel frames. This will give you a higher impact rating and help your structure avoid rust over time. If you’re looking for extra security, invest in storm shutters or shields to close over your shed’s windows or doors.

Fine-Tune Your Tornado Safety Strategy for Your Steel Structures with GA-Based Peak Steel Contractors

Interested in enjoying increased peace of mind? Ready to invest in a safer shed? At Peak Steel Contractors, we’re advocates of firmer foundations and high-quality structures. Our goal? When a storm hits, you don’t have to worry.

Reach out to our team today, and we’ll help you build a stronger steel shed or help with tornado-proofing your steel shed. Check out our gallery of past projects and contact us for more information.