Shutters & Hurricane Protection

If you are someone who lives in Europe, the West Coast of America, or Northeast Florida, then you probably do not have to worry much about hurricanes and their protection shutters. But if you’re one of those who live by the Atlantic Coast, or in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, South, or North Carolina, then you know what I mean when I tell you that you need to know anything and everything about hurricane protection and hurricane shutters.

The DIY and other homemade solutions like using plywood across windows and doors, and duct tape might seem like the answer temporarily. But we all know that sooner or later, a permanent solution is needed. Some people out there have managed to make wooden shutters at home. However, the manufacturing industry's advancement that comes with modernity has allowed the market to introduce proper hurricane shutters for the ease of the people around the globe

What exactly are hurricane shutters?
Hurricane shutters are made to protect houses from damage caused by a hurricane. They prevent the windows from breaking by the other objects flying in the air during a hurricane. They protect your home from damages that a hurricane can cause.

What types of shutter materials are there?
There are three types of materials that hurricane shutters are made of:
1. Plywood
2. Polycarbonate Plastic (Lexan - a polycarbonate resin thermoplastic)
3. Metal (Steel or Aluminum)

How are these shutters used?
These shutters are to be used by attaching them to the window or door by screws or tracks. In case they are no longer needed, they are to be stored in a location within reach at times of emergency. Nowadays, newly constructed homes often come with specific storage areas for hurricane shutters.

What types of shutters can I install?
Shutters come in different types:

1. Storm Panel Shutters:
This type of hurricane shutter is removable. These kinds of shutters are widely and most frequently used because their cost is reasonable and practical. These shutters might take up a lot of your time to be installed, though, which is why you need to dedicate extra time before an impending natural disaster to install them. These are not very easy to install in case of emergencies or at times of a high-velocity wind forming up a hurricane. These shutters should also be removed and then stored with proper care.

Storm panel shutters are known to be the most economical kinds of shutters. But the process of removing and storing them until there’s another hurricane or storm makes them temporary. These can also be ordered very quickly because, due to their frequent use and peoples’ preferences for storm panel shutters over the other types of shutters, most of the manufacturers keep the standard sizes in stock. There is only one other drawback about such kinds of shutters in that there are not a lot of upgrades available for this shutter type.

Hurricane Preparation time: 25 to 30 minutes.
The Average Cost: $5 to $15 per square foot.

2. Rolling Shutters:
These shutters are made in such a way that they can be inserted into rails and used as window blinds or what you call roller blinds. They can be rolled down like a garage door. They can be rolled up and stored inside the compartment above the window that comes with it when they are no longer needed. Later, at times of use, they can be rolled down electronically or manually. These shutters also allow other facilities like temperature regulation and increase your house's privacy as they can act as curtains.

These shutters are known to be more durable as compared to other shutters. They are ideal for large areas like doorways or patios. These only take a few minutes to install. The only drawback of these shutters is that they are expensive to buy. Their installation requires a professional, which can also be very expensive in itself.

Hurricane Preparation time: 2 to 5 minutes.
The Average Cost: $25 to $35 per square foot.

There further exists a type in rolling shutters known as motorized shutters or electric shutters. These are operated by either a remote control of a switch. These shutters specifically work electronically, and the process of their working is a motor that causes them to roll. Such kinds of shutters are known to be the most ‘convenient’ kind of shutters. The durability of these shutters isn’t guaranteed since their effectiveness depends on if the motor is functioning properly. If they ever get stuck or if they no longer work, there is a chance that the engine is broken and that you need to purchase a new motor. In some cases, you might even need to buy a new shutter.

The Average Cost: $35 to $52 per square foot.

3. Accordion Shutters:
These are made by interlocking the vertical blades of the material that slide into the area horizontally. They can be folded up just like an accordion, as the name says, in times when they are not needed. These shutters are stored inside a box and are installed on the sides of the window. As a result, it makes them convenient to use and protect the windows.

These shutters are often less expensive than other types of shutters. Once installed, these shutters are permanent, which cuts off the headache of removing, storing, and re-installing them. Another advantage of these shutters is that these can open quickly and easily, which makes them a convenient choice for homeowners that want a headache-free way to protect their windows from storms and hurricanes.

Hurricane Preparation time: 4 to 5 minutes per window.
The Average Cost: $15 to $20 per square foot.

4. Colonial Shutters:
Colonial shutters are very easy to use and only required a simple unfolding movement from the center of the shutters or any of the sides. These shutters also create a decorative and appealing appearance on your windows or doors.

These shutters are generally more aesthetic than other types of shutters. Other shutters might not complement the look of your overall house. Since colonial shutters offer a more pleasing look, they may seem a little expensive. These shutters are also permanent, just like accordion shutters.

Hurricane Preparation time: 4 to 5 minutes per window.
The Average Cost: $200 to $500 per window.

5. Plywood Shutters:
Plywood shutters are composed of wood. These shutters are the most cost-effective and are available at any of the hardware stores.

Being less expensive also results in quite a few drawbacks of such shutters. If plywood shutters aren’t installed correctly, they can cause a great deal of damage. These shutters may not create a good look at the house and are also not as effective as other shutters. Along with all these things, these shutters require quite a lot of time for installation.
Hurricane Preparation time: 60 minutes per window.
The Average Cost: $1 per square foot.

6. Bahama Hurricane Shutters:
Bahama hurricane shutters are installed so that they stick to the top of the window and can be opened at a 45-degree angle from the bottom of the window allowing the light wind breeze to enter. These shutters, like colonial shutters, also create an appealing look of the house as well as providing shade protection. On the other hand, these are too expensive and unreliable when protecting large openings like doorways.

Hurricane Preparation time: 2 to 3 minutes per window.
The Average Cost: $20 to $32 per square foot.

7. Hurricane Glass Shutters:
These shutters are impact-resistant and comprise several layers of special glass that do not shatter into pieces even if a storm breaks it. This makes hurricane glass shutters safe and profitable. For example, if these shutters are installed in a house with 2-year-olds roaming around, there will be no danger of hurricane causing a great deal of damage or causing the glass to shatter.

Another advantage of these shutters that makes them superior over all other shutters is that they do not need to take up preparation time at all in times of a hurricane once they are installed. These shutters are also made up of clear glass, which does not ruin the view at all, unlike other shutters. Not only this, but hurricane glass shutters also protect against water damage or sudden air pressure changes. The only drawback of such shutters is that they are expensive.

The Average Cost: $40 to $55 per square foot.

Where to buy shutters from?
You can buy shutters from hardware stores, door manufacturers, window manufacturers, or dealers who specialize in this area. The ideal time to purchase these shutters is early spring or late winter.

How to install hurricane shutters?
Some hurricane shutters require professional installation to work properly in times of a hurricane, whereas others easily install yourself. Usually, shutter dealers and manufacturers provide the proper instructions to ensure that you install the shutters correctly. But it is still generally advised to call a professional for the installation of your shutters to ensure the protection of your house when a hurricane strikes your area.

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