As we continue to recover from Hurricane Matthew and prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, it is important to understand what you can do to protect your home in the event of another storm. One of the best solutions is adding storm protection to your home. Whether you already have hurricane protection or are interested in learning more, the following guide will help you along.
Understanding Hurricane Protection
Many people have a misconception that hurricane shutters only protect against broken windows, however, they actually protect your roof. The real danger during a hurricane is the vast amount of wind and flying debris. Objects may hit your home, causing openings for gusts to enter. The real damage often comes after this, when wind has a way into your home creating negative and positive pressure. Once inside, the wind looks for any area to escape. Since the entry point will continue to have wind coming in, the roof is often the area that gives first, and can actually be blown off of your home. By installing hurricane shutters, the openings are blocked from excessive wind entering your home.
Storm Protection vs Plywood
Covering your windows and doors with plywood should only be a last resort alternative to actual storm shutters. They are heavy and difficult to deploy. They can also cause damage to your home as you have to screw or nail them directly into the structure. Most importantly, these panels fail to meet criteria for optimal storm protection.
Choosing the Right Storm Protection
There are several types of hurricane protection solutions. Choosing the appropriate product can be overwhelming. Here is a brief explanation of the benefits of each product.
Hurricane Shutter Types
Storm Panels are made of corrugated steel or aluminum. They are stored away until needed and are one of the most economical storm systems available. Click here to learn more about storm panels.
Fabric Panels are a highly-effective alternative to steel or aluminum hurricane panels. They offer better performance and are easier to handle and store. Click here to learn more about fabric panels.
Rolling shutters are louvered panels that roll up or down. They are permanently stored above nearly any span and are deployed manually or automatically. Click here to learn more about rolling shutters.
Accordion Shutters are hinged and louvered panels that are permanently mounted beside windows, doors and openings allowing for easy deployment. Click here to learn more about accordion shutters.
Storm-Rated Colonials are permanently mounted shutters hinged on the side and fold back into an open position and enhance the aesthetic quality of your home. Click here to learn more about storm-rated colonials.
Deploying Your Shutters
If your home is equipped with rolling, accordion or storm-rated colonial shutters, deployment is very easy and shouldn’t take up too much time. However, steel or fabric panels require a little more work. Be aware that storm protection deployment takes time and practice. You need to understand your tools, safety procedures and how to properly secure your storm protection to avoid service issues like over tightening fasteners, breaking windows, or damaging your home.
What You Will Need
To properly deploy your storm protection, you will need the following items:
• A pair of heavy work gloves
• Anti-seize lubricant (ie: WD-40, 3-in-One Oil)
• Utility knife or small screwdriver
• Cordless screwdriver or drill
• Installation plan provided by your contractor showing which sets of shutter panels go with which windows or other openings
• A ladder (if needed)
Installing Your Shutters
Bring shutters out of storage and place the set of panels near the first window to protect.
Remove the plastic caps around the window.
Put on work gloves.
Beginning with the bottom of the window, take a shutter panel and align the holes on the panel with those around the window. Install sidewalk bolts into the female panel mates on the two lower bolts, and finger tighten. Proceed upward with the next panel and repeat until all panels are in place. Tighten snugly, but not too tight, using a cordless screwdriver. Over tightening fasteners and bottoming them out can cause the fasteners in your house to be removed while removing sidewalk bolt.
Repeat for each window or opening.