Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Tree Falling On A Tiny House

This summer has been filled with a slew of crazy storms; the storms have been extremely windy, heavy rain and overall, very intense.  Much of my city has been without power for days because of fallen trees.  The upside of living off the grid is I have full control over my entire power system, I can inspect and fix anything that breaks.

One decision I made when going off grid was to park my house in the woods where I have tree cover for shade during the summer and in the winter (when the leaves fall), solar exposure.  But the last few months have called into question the wisdom of that decision.

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This summer alone I’ve had two huge trees (75+ foot) fall perilously close to my house.  Last week I was standing in my kitchen cooking dinner when I didn’t just see lightning, I felt my entire floor flex beneath my feet as the bolt struck a tree only 15 feet from my house.  To put it mildly, it scared me.  I felt the floor flex and then all a sudden my windows were covered by tree branches and leaves.

The tree that fell had a huge “Y” fork in it and my house miraculously fell right between that fork as the tree hurtled towards my house.  The large trunk landed on both sides of my tiny house.  I’m not one that stresses out easily, gets on edge or prone to freak outs, but I was seriously on edge after this.

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I’ve talk a lot about setting up your land, this might be another consideration to take into account.

Some practical tips on building a strong house

  • Make sure you use rafter hurricane ties for your roof
  • Collar ties in your roof help prevent roofs folding in on itself
  • Opt for a thicker roof deck if you can afford the extra weight
  • Consider removing trees that pose a danger
9 Comments
  1. Good advice!! Sorry you had to go through that and glad you are ok! Any advice on where tiny houses are allowed in New York State ( millerton area)?
    Thanks,
    Marlene

  2. Wow. Something I think about a lot. I live in Texas and trees would definitely help with the heat but I’m always afraid with our hurricane and other strange storms. Glad you were so fortunate. I am using a builder for my tiny house and I have a lot of questions about what they are building with. I often feel like I’m overstepping but I feel like I must know what I’m getting since I’m not building it myself (and it is costing a pretty penny)!
    I didn’t think about the heft of the roofing material. This is something I will ask about now.

    • Rachel, I share your sentiments….Texas living, like Florida, is a two-edged sword. Hotter than blazes for more than half the year, the shade trees are a valued friend, but also a tyrannical foe. Here is where hopefully, the THOW, is at least (in theory anyway) able to be moved out of harm’s way….if you have the time and the ready means to move it prior to a storm!

  3. My two cents,
    There are many, whatever that means, who think that their dream is to be off grid. You can be your own power company–WOW. What that means is that you find a way or a person who can fix your Chinese inverter when the inverter quits working. Cost of new inverter: $500, $800, a thousand? Batteries go bad because enough batteries were not purchased because they were too expensive. They were being discharged by 80% so they did not last as long as they were suppose to. Cost of batteries: $300, $375, $500 each.
    I told someone the other day that they needed to learn how to read a smart meter and they wanted to know why. Most people have no idea what an energy Star appliance is; nor why they need to buy one. They are more expensive and why would I want to spend more money?
    Being off grid is not just an idea, but it has to become a way of life. You become an off grid nut and you have to hang out with off grid nuts.
    I tell people about these $10 LED light bulbs that I have found that use 4 watts of electricity and put out the light of a 50 watt light bulb if there was a 50 watt light bulb and they want to know why they need those. Because their is a science to light bulbs and electric bills. You have to know how to read your electric bill and exactly what it is telling you. But no one cares—they just pay the bill thinking that there is nothing that they can do about it anyway. They don’t even know where the power is going and they don’t want to be educated about it. It’s too much work. Al

  4. I recently had our local tree guy over for a danger assessment. I only needed a bunch of dead limbs trimmed (good for tiny wood stove “logs”). Besides cleaning up potential shack thumpers it’s also good fire protection.

  5. When life hands you fallen trees, make firewood.
    Our house is surrounded by dozens of large white pines. Lost a few and lots of large branches. Been lucky so far. I want to downsize, she doesn’t. If a tree does hit the house, it might be an opportunity to downsize.
    I worry more about the fire hazard. With the current drought in eastern Mass., that could be an issue. But we like the shade and privacy so the trees stay.

  6. Not many trees where I’m parking my THOW. But, I’m definitely worried about severe weather. We had a wild lightning t-storm the other night and I’m thinking “this lightning is so loud & close, what the heck will this be like when I’m in my THOW w/a metal roof?!” Heaven forbid there’s a tornado warning (It’s happened in this area). I’d have to take my dog & find somewhere safer to be!

  7. Ryan, you are so right! Those shade trees are potentially something of a mixed blessing. Here on the East Coast of Florida (about an hour south of Cape Kennedy), even a short summer rainstorm can be trouble. My property has more than a 1000 trees (even after removing 75!) and everyone seems to have branches that can find me if stressed enough. The leaves and branches are holding enough combined water weight to make one’s home unliveable after even a “mild” storm. ¡Cuidado!

  8. Trees have wonderful benefits of shade, but storms can unfortunately bring them down. I hope everything was alright considering. Great tips for building a strong house, thanks for sharing!

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