HomeownerEducational: A-M

Hurricane Shutters

Hurricane Shutters

Hurricane Shutter Types

Hurricane shutters protect windows and doors from damaging hurricane winds, rain, and flying debris. Without them, there is a higher chance of glass shattering, which leads to further stress on the structure of the house due to the pressure created by the incoming wind. Hurricane shutters are available in a variety of styles and materials that will match the exterior style of your house. Various types include automatic or manual rolldown shutters, accordion shutters, Bahama shutters, awning shutters, storm panel shutters, and plywood shutters.

Some shutter types are automated, and others need to be manually fastened either to each other from the inside, or connected to the wall. Accordion, awning, and storm panel shutters are usually made of aluminum or steel, while Bahama shutters come in metal and wood options and also offer shade. Plywood shutters should be a last resort. If they are the only option, boards should be 5/8 inches thick and should be fastened with lag bolts or barrel bolts.

Things to Consider

Hurricane shutters should be installed well before the imminent threat of a hurricane, if not as a part of the original design. If your shutters are not part of the original design or if they have to be taken down when not in use, they can take a minimum of two hours to put up each time. It may take longer to put them up if you have many windows or glass doors. It’s important to consider that time commitment when creating your evacuation or emergency preparedness strategy. Coastal cities from Texas to Maine are most vulnerable to hurricanes, and the Florida peninsula is also particularly prone to hurricane activity. Even houses on evacuation routes should have hurricane shutters, since they too face the threat of severe weather from hurricanes.

Some homeowners’ associations may have restrictions about when hurricane shutters can be set up, but they cannot prevent you from doing so, as long as the appearance meets the standards of the HOA rules. Installing hurricane shutters before hurricane season starts puts you ahead of the rush of homeowners who have to put them up at the last minute. Additionally, they should be inspected each year to make sure they’re in working order.

What not to do

Taping the windows is not a sufficient substitute for hurricane shutters. Tape does not provide the protection your home needs from hurricane winds, and it takes time to peel the sun-dried adhesive off your windows. Shatter-proof or special film-coated windows also don’t offer adequate protection from flying debris.

Hurricane shutters that are not pre-installed should not be left up all year. In the event of a fire or other emergency, shutters may block out your only exit or prevent others from getting inside to help you.