HomeownerHelpful Info: Home Improvement

Hurricane Shutters

Hurricane Shutters Educational Content

Hurricane shutters protect windows and doors from debris flying around during a storm. Without them, there is a higher chance of glass shattering. In hurricane-force winds, a broken window can create a pressure imbalance in the house. When this happens, the house is at an increased risk of severe structural damage. Hurricane shutters are available in a variety of styles and materials to match your home’s exterior. As you search, you’ll find that shutter types vary from rolldown and accordion style to Bahama and awning style.

Some shutter types are automated. 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. Bahama shutters come in metal and wood options and also offer shade. Plywood shutters should be a last resort. If they’re the only option, boards should be 5/8 inches thick and fastened with lag bolts or barrel bolts.

Hurricane shutters should be installed before hurricane season. If you’re building a house, work hurricane shutters into the construction plan. Ideally, your shutters should be a permanent part of the house. Removable hurricane shutters can take several hours to put up. You may not have that kind of time if a storm is approaching. Coastal cities from Texas to Maine are vulnerable to hurricanes. The Florida peninsula is also prone to hurricane activity. Houses on evacuation routes should have hurricane shutters, too. They also face the threat of severe weather from hurricanes.

Some homeowners’ associations have restrictions about when temporary hurricane shutters can be set up. They cannot, however, prevent you from installing them altogether. Just make sure that your shutters meet any HOA requirements. Schedule installation before the beginning of hurricane season. This will put you ahead of the last-minute installation rush. Your shutters should be inspected each year to make sure they’re in working order.

Taping the windows is not a substitute for hurricane shutters. Tape does not provide the protection your home needs from hurricane winds. It also takes time to peel the sun-dried adhesive off your windows. Shatter-proof or special film-coated windows aren’t good substitutes for shutters, either. They simply don’t offer the same level of protection from flying debris as hurricane shutters. Removable or temporary hurricane shutters should not be left up all year. In the event of a fire or other emergency, shutters may block exits or prevent others from getting inside to help you.