When trying to protect your home from a hurricane, shuttering or installing impact-rated windows and exterior doors to prevent high winds and wind pressures from entering your home or business is a key mitigation step. Keep reading for more information on window shutters and other emergency preparedness information.
Protect Your Home With Storm Shutters
Protecting openings, windows and exterior doors, including garage doors, is critical to the survival of a building during a hurricane. Opening protection should be procured and installed well before hurricane season. You can use shutters to protect existing windows and door or you can replace them with pressure- and impact-rated products that provide 24/7 protection. Most shutter systems have to be activated before a storm strikes, so if you elect to use shutters, make sure the hardware is pre-installed and that all shutter panels are labeled and ready for quick installation. Make sure that one or more doors are accessible as quick exits. This is usually most easily accomplished by installing impact-rated doors at these locations.
Opening protection can keep wind pressure from building up inside the structure, which often leads to loss of the roof. Wind forces during a hurricane can quickly pressurize a building and cause it to collapse in seconds once a window or door is forced open. Watch the video below to see how quickly a house collapses once wind rushes inside during a test at the IBHS Research Center.
IBHS’ shutter guide includes a comprehensive list of shutter materials, cost estimates, and pros and cons to consider when choosing the right type of protection for your home.
If permanent shutters are not available, plywood panels may be the only option.
Recommendations for Using Plywood
- Use 1/2 in. to 3/4 in. CDX plywood available in 4 ft x 8 ft sheets. Plywood should not be used to cover openings larger than 4 ft x 8 ft unless additional framing is added.
- Use two layers of 3/8 in. material to obtain the same effect as one layer of 3/4 in. material. Orient Strand Board (OSB) is not recommended.
Remember: Taping windows provides absolutely no protection. The idea that taping windows will prevent them from breaking when impacted by windborne debris is a myth. Taping windows to prepare for a storm wastes valuable time which should be used to install shutters or plywood which can provide real protection from high winds and driving rain, when installed properly.