Homeowners that live in regions experiencing frequent tropical storms and hurricanes have unique risks compared to those that live elsewhere. Homes may flood due to rising water or falling debris penetrating the home’s exterior. High-speed winds can hurl objects at the home, damaging the roof and siding or breaking windows. Installing storm shutters can mitigate many of these risks by creating a durable barrier to protect windows and doors.
Hurricane Shutter Designs and Durability
Storm shutters are available in a variety of styles, but some provide better protection than others. Some are permanent fixtures, while others rely on pre-installed tracks or anchor systems. Storm shutters that require a complete installation following a hurricane warning are the most cumbersome, such as plywood or metal panels.
Here are some of the more durable storm shutters:
- Storm panels. Storm panels come in a variety of materials, including plywood, metal, and fabric. Homeowners have to cut these panels to size, which is challenging when working with metal. Plywood is one of the most cost-effective barriers, but it’s too heavy to use on second-floor windows. It also absorbs moisture and tends to warp following heavy rainfall, diminishing its reusability. Metal panels are more hazardous to use as they have sharp edges. Fabric panels designed to withstand hurricane-force wind are easier to install and store for reuse, but they’re not as durable as other types of storm shutters. Homeowners can DIY storm panels ahead of hurricane season by pre-cutting and adding handles for an easier installation. Storm panels also require homeowners to drill, nail, or add mounts to window frames, which can be unsightly.
- Bahama shutters. Bahama shutters have horizontal louvers, hinges at the top of the window and act as a canopy when propped open. The louvers allow air to flow while still providing shade. They have a more stylish look than storm panels, and they remain installed year-round. However, they tend to block a lot of the natural light and obstruct views. They’re also not as impact-resistant due to the louvered slats.
- Shaker/Colonial shutters. Shaker or colonial-style shutters are the most aesthetically pleasing storm shutters, and many homeowners not in hurricane-prone areas install them as a decorative feature. For protection against hurricanes, homeowners attach them on either side of the windows, and hinges allow them to close and bolt the shutters closed during storms. Homeowners can have colonial shutters cut to almost any shape and size to protect unusual-shaped windows. Colonial shutters are available in numerous colors, styles, and materials. Louvered shutters are the most popular, but this design suffers from the same shortcomings as Bahama shutters.
- Accordion shutters. Accordion shutters are another type of permanent protection against hurricanes. They open and close easily by sliding along tracks. Accordion shutters only provide protection for rectangular windows, but they come in a wide array of heights and widths. They’re also useful for protecting sliding glass doors. However, they often detract from curb appeal.
- Rolling shutters. These shutters roll or pull down over windows much like a garage door. They’re also an effective method of home security and preventing theft. Rolling shutters require professional installation and the addition of an enclosed bump-out above the window to store them when not unrolled. They’re not as attractive as colonial or Bahama shutters, but they provide excellent protection against storm damage.
Aesthetics, cost, and durability often factor heavily in a homeowner’s choice of storm shutter. Regardless, adding a protective barrier over windows can prevent damage from wind and flying projectiles. Contact Windermere Insurance Group to learn more about protecting your home during hurricane season.