Hurricane and Storm Shutters - What Are They, Why You Should Really Have Them, and Why Do You Need Them in Your House??
One of the best things you can do this year as you prepare for hurricane season is invest in a good set of hurricane shutters for your home. Hurricane windows will not only help save you money in repair bills, but they also help protect your home and those inside it during storms, by protecting the glass so it isn't shattered by flying debris.
Do I Need Shutters?
Another popular question is do I really need the shutters. If you live in any of the coastal communities from Texas to Maine, and those that are in hurricane prone areas should have hurricane shutters. Not only are they effective at protecting your home from wind and the objects flying in a storm, but after windows are breached, the wind causes high pressures inside of a home, which can rip the entire roof off a house. Most household damages and failures can be avoided with a set of properly installed hurricane shutters. But that leads to the next question.
Can I Just Tape My Windows?
Some common misconceptions are that you can just simply tape up the window and that should be good enough. In reality, taping your windows for a storm is nothing more than a waste of tape. Flying debris can still hit the glass, shattering it. And in the event that your windows are not broken, the tape residue that is left is a pain to remove. Your best bet is to put up either plywood or hurricane windows. But what about sliding glass doors and doors with ornamental glass fronts? And the answer is yes, those should be protected as well. All of these doors should be protected, as well as double doors and even garage doors, as these have been known to be ripped away from homes during larger hurricanes.
What if I Evacuate?
What if I plan on evacuating? Even if you know you’re going to evacuate for every storm, having hurricane shutters on your home will give you the peace of mind knowing that your home has the best chance and the highest line of defense against all that mother nature can throw at it, which gives you peace of mind, knowing that even though your neighbors’ homes may not be there, yours still might be. Storm windows also help prevent theft in the wake of large natural disasters, as well as provide better flood protection as well
Kinds of Shutters
OK, I want storm shutters. But what is the best kind? The top 3 category’s that storm shutters usually fall into include affordability, easy installation, and protection offered. Some shutters fall into one of these 3 category’s, with many offering all 3. The type, model, and design of the shutters will all be based off of these few things, and you can choose the shutters that meet your needs. Some shutters offer the convenience of easy installation and removal, but sacrifice when it comes to protection ratings, by being made out of lightweight aluminum over heavier steel. When budgets can’t afford high quality steel applications, plywood can be used. But for most, a good balance between higher protection and affordability is where you should be looking. Storm shutters are only as good as those that install them. Making sure that you use a licensed, reputable installer is crucial in storm windows performing to their optimum. Just make sure that the storm shutters you choose meet or exceed the building codes for the local area.This leads to another logical question.
When Should I Get Shutters?
When is the best time to get shutters? The best time is when the house is being built, as the shutters can be taken into account for design and application, although they can be purchased at any time. Just remember if you wait till hurricane season, local installers might already be busy helping all your friends and neighbors secure their homes. Do not wait till a hurricane watch has been issued for your area. Also, you should check all of your storm shutters at the beginning of hurricane season each year to make sure that your shutters are in good, operating order, and that they can be repaired before a large storm comes, so you’re totally prepared. Checking your supplies, and if you use plywood to cover windows, checking the wood for warp-age or other damage can save you time trying to find a good sheet of wood when a hurricane comes.
Shatter Resistant Glass/Glass Film
What about those shatter resistant windows and that plastic film that can be placed on windows? And it’s true that those can be used in helping prevent damage to windows, the extreme pressures associated with wind, along with the objects that the wind is blowing are all factors when choosing storm protection. Shatter resistant and plastic filmed windows are good in places that shutter installation is impossible or extremely difficult. They do offer some protection, but offer less than storm windows. In the least, cover shatter resistant windows with a plywood panel. Keep in mind that the film only protects the glass, and that the frame is still under pressure, which might give way. Also, films and safety glass might not meet local building codes.
Who to Trust
So I have decided to buy storm shutters, but who do I trust to install them? The best way to decide who to use to install your storm shutters should be a company that specializes in it. Choose one that is licensed, and get references, and check them, if they have a website, check the comments on work they have done. Ask neighbors who they had install their storm shutters. Doing some research now will save you in the long run. Checking with the Better Business Bureau is also a good way to find out a lot about a company.
OK, I looked at shutters, but I can’t afford these. If you find that you can’t afford storm shutters, the next best thing to use is plywood, installed inside the window frame. Plywood used for this should be already primed and ready, exterior grade, and at least 5/8 inch thick. Having a good fit for each panel is crucial for it to work effectively. Wood though, like glass, has a tendency to break when harder objects are slammed into it. When storing plywood when not in use, make sure to store it in a dry area, since both heat and moisture can warp and ruin your storm shutter plywood boards. If buying plywood for all of your windows is too expensive to do all at once, even buying wood for a couple of windows at a time is better than having nothing ready. Labeling the panels also helps aid in installation.
Home Owner Associations and Condo Owners
I own a condo. Can they prevent me from having shutters? The answer to this is basically no. Home owner associations, condo owner clubs, and other groups like this can tell you what colors, or style, etc. that the storm shutter has to be, but they cannot prevent you from owning and installing one on your condo. Check with your local HOA or condo owners group and check to see what they have as requirements if you are going to have storm shutters installed on your home.