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Hurricane Shutters:Which are Right for You?

Updated on February 14, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Hurricane shutters protect your windows by shutting out debris. They also help to stabilize and protect your entire home during a hurricane. The shutters will help to keep water and high winds from damaging the insides of the walls. There are several different kinds of hurricane shutters. Each has advantages and disadvantages to the homeowner. It is always important to consider the style of your home your budget and the requirements for your area before choosing a certain type of shutter.

Most hurricane shutters can be installed as a do it yourself project depending on how handy you are and whether or not you have help available. It will take approximately one day to install the various types of shutters, depending on the size of your home.

Obviously, the best time to install hurricane shutters is while your home is being built. If your home is all ready built and you live in an area that experiences hurricanes then it is important to install the shutters before a hurricane is forecast. If you are unsure of yourself then hire a contractor. It is important that the shutters are installed securely.

Image: Accordian Storm Panels from Florida Hurricane SHutters (floridahurricaneshutter.com)
Image: Accordian Storm Panels from Florida Hurricane SHutters (floridahurricaneshutter.com)

Plywood: Build Hurricane Shutters Yourself

Plywood shutters are the most inexpensive of the shutter types. Plywood shutters are not shutters at all but just large pieces of plywood cut to fit the window and door frames. They are screwed in place when a hurricane is forecast and removed when the danger has passed.

The Pros:

  • Inexpensive, only about $8 per square foot.

  • Removable so they don't compromise the style of the home.

The Cons:

  • They must be stored when not in use.

  • You generally need two people to hang them.

  • They can take up to twenty minutes per window to install when time is of the essence.

They should be stained or painted for longest wear, and stored carefully to keep from warping. DIY Network has instructions for installing this type of homemade hurricane shutter.

Colonial Shutters

Colonial shutters look like any other shutters on a house. They are installed on other side of a window, but rather than being fixed in place they are on hinges. When a hurricane is expected the homeowner simply pulls the shutters closed and latches them in the center.

Pros:

  • Are permanent.
  • Look nice.

  • Easily secured by one person.

Cons:

  • They can't be used to protect doors

The average cost of colonial style hurricane shutters is $30.00 and an entire home can be secured by one person in under an hour. Installation instructions with plenty of images can be found at Decorative Shutters.

Hurricane Shutters

Accordian or Bahama Style Storm Shutters

Bahama or awning shutters are permanently attached to the building with heavy duty hinges that are placed at the top of the window over the shutter. When they are open they look like an awning, covering the window at a slight angle and keeping it shaded. It takes only moments to shut and secure the shutters and protect the windows from hurricanes and high winds.

Pros:

  • Permanently attached to the home.
  • One person can ready the house for an oncoming hurricane.
  • Provide shade and privacy to the homeowner all the time.

Cons:

  • They can block light
  • Limited use, they cannot be used on doors.
  • Some people find them unattractive.

The awning shutters are more difficult to install that just plywood. Briscoe Shutters has a step by step tutorial to help you install the shutters

A variation on the Bahama shutter is the accordion shutter. These hurricane shutters are attached to the top and bottom of the window. They are usually made of corrugated metal and slide to open or close.

Pros:

  • Permanently attached.
  • Can be made storm read by one person.
  • Some types have locks that also allow them to keep out looters.

Cons:

  • Break easier.
  • They are ugly.

The average cost of both Bahama and Accordion shutters is $20.00 to $30.00 per square foot. It will take about thirty minutes to completely secure a home that has them installed. 

Roll Down Hurricane Shutters

Roll down shutters are the most popular choice. They do not change the look of your home and are very secure. They roll down to cover windows and doors completely during inclement weather.

Pros:

  • Permanently attached to the structure.

  • Home can be made storm ready by one person in less than an hour.

  • Can be used as a theft deterrent.

  • Quickest system to operate

Cons:

  • Most expensive of the current systems.

  • Automated system requires battery backup in case of power outage.

  • About $50 per square foot.

Storm Shutters website has instructions for installing roll down hurricane shutters.

Save Time, Money, and Lives

The best time to install hurricane shutters is before a hurricane is forecast. If you are having a new structure built talk to your contractor about installing them during the building process.

If your home is older then consider the shapes and numbers of windows, as well as the aesthetics of the different types of shutters. Remember that curb appeal is important as well. Talk to a contractor about the best choice for you.

Good hurricane shutters can save you thousands of dollars in repair costs for a small initial investment. Being prepared is an important was to save money, and possibly your life.

Comments

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    • RalphGreene profile image

      RalphGreene 

      6 years ago

      Impressive article about hurricane shutters!

    • profile image

      Jon 

      7 years ago

      There are a lot of options I guess here. Kind of one of those things you hate to have to spend money on but definitely worth it in the long run. Does insurance ever subsidize this type of thing?

    • profile image

      Emergency Generators 

      8 years ago

      Nice write up on picking shutters for your home. Any chance you could do the same for emergency generators?

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