The Different Types Of Hurricane Protection And Their Costs?

When it comes to window protection during a hurricane the most popular choice for homeowners are hurricane shutters.  But more and more homeowners are starting to purchase hurricane windows and doors because of the additional benefits of security enhancements, convenience, insulation, energy efficiency, attractiveness when compared to shutters and the sound proofing features.  Another more affordable option that is still common for residential and commercial window and door protection is storm panels and plywood, which provide greater protection during a tropical storm or hurricane, but as most homeowner’s or business owners will agree, they take a lot of time and energy to install and remove.

There are 3 things that most homeowners keep in mind when they are researching hurricane protections for their windows and doors, which are:

  • Convenience
  • Appearance
  • Cost

Most homeowners just think that all they are protecting are just panes of glass that if broken can cause harm to their family inside, but an even bigger concern should be about what would happen if their roof gets blown off by hurricane winds.  Hurricane force winds have with is call a “lift effect” and when these strong winds blow over a structure such as a house or business and if for some reason a door or window opening is blown open in the middle of a tropical storm, then this can create even more of an upward push or pressure on your home’s roof, which can double or triple this lifting effect.  And that is the main cause of house’s losing their roofs in the midst of a storm.

Here are some things to consider about hurricane window protection:

Window Film

The main purpose of the window film is to minimize the amount of ultraviolet rays that enter your home and to protect your furnishings and flooring from fading or other damage.  Window film is also effective in theft deterrent and it could help your windows from shattering during a hurricane, but dependent on the category of the hurricane it really might not be an effective hurricane protection device and it definitely won’t prevent your roof from blowing off.  When compared to impact resistant windows that are about 3 times thicker than standard window glass.  Most high quality impact windows are made up of 2 or more layers of glass that has in between them a strong inter layer or film that is tear resistant that will prevent the glass from shattering if it is ever broken.  Very similar to how the windshields on cars are made.

One of the key elements that make hurricane windows so strong is the interlayer of the glass which is securely attached to each other to reinforce the frame of the window and this is done by use of industrial adhesives and mechanical processes, which even under extreme circumstances the impact resistant glass will not detach.  The goal of every homeowner and business owner should be to get sufficient window protection for all the openings of their residential or commercial buildings, whether it is by using impact windows or hurricane shutters or sometimes a combination of both, while at the same time keeping those openings sealed so that there is never a change in pressure in the interior of their home or business as the change in pressure is what could cause the roof to be blown off.  If you are trying to decide between plywood and window film on standard glass, then plywood will give you better protection any day.

Plywood Shutters

Plywood normally cost $2-$4 per square feet and it has always been an effective and popular choice amongst residential and commercial owners for decades, as it is both an affordable and efficient option for hurricane protection and it can be tightly fitted in door and window frames.  Plywood has proven itself to be effective in some of the worst storms such as Hurricane Andrew and while it may take some time to install it is rather easy.  The ideal thickness of plywood should be around 5/8 of an inch to ¾ of an inch thick and because it can take some time to get prepared, it is recommended that you have it cut to the sizes you need way in advance of the time you will need them.

Advantage of plywood:

It is probably the most inexpensive form of hurricane protection, while at the same time providing strong and excellent protection for your home or business.

Disadvantages of plywood:

You will need to have a place to store them when they are not in use, they can sometimes be difficult to handle as they are heavy need to be stacked, so it will require multiple people and out of all hurricane protection systems it takes the longest amount of time to install and if you have a two story home, this is not a good option for the 2ND Story of your house.  It will take about 25 minutes for each window installation if it is already pre-cut, so the entire house will take about 6-9 hours to complete.

Storm Panel Hurricane Shutters

These panels normally run about $5-$8 per square foot and are another effective and popular choice; these types of shutters are normally made of aluminum or steel and are designed as corrugated panels that are attached to the walls surrounding the doors or windows.  Depending on the design, they are typically mounted by use of either bolts or tracks and bolts.  The advantages of storm panels are that they are the most cost effective permanent hurricane protection system and they can be installed by the homeowner.  They are an excellent form of protection as they are very strong.  The disadvantage is that they require storage and can be stacked to save room, but because they are heavy and have sharp edges they can be a pain to handle at times.  You will need multiple people to hang them and they require a lot of time to install them and they are not ideal for 2 story homes.  Each window will take about 20 minutes, so you are looking at about 5 hours for installing them around the entire home.

Accordion Shutters

Accordion hurricane shutters normally run about $15 to $18 per square foot and they attached directly into your house by the door or window opening.  Once installed, they can be easily unfolded or folded up when they are not in use.  The advantages of these is that they can be easily deployed by a single person when they are needed and since they are permanently attached to your door or window they do not require any storage and depending on the design they can be locked and used as a theft deterrent device.  What most consumers don’t like about them is they are unattractive and bulky, so if you are concerned about aesthetics then you won’t like these types of shutters and because they have more mechanical parts than other types of shutters they could require a little more maintenance.  Once installed, they will take about 30 minutes to secure an entire home.

Bahama and Colonial Shutters

These are shutters that are permanently installed either above or on the side wall of the windows and they are designed in a louvered pattern.  They do not require any storage and you can deploy them easily when needed and only one person is needed to do so.  In addition to protecting your home it can also enhance the beauty to it since they are a decorative by design.  The downside with this is that you can’t use them on your doors; instead you would have to use another system in combination with these if you want door protection.  And they could be limited in use due to their style and designs.  They will take about 30-60 minutes to deploy an entire home.

Roll Down Shutters

These types of hurricane shutters will cost about $35-$55 per square feet and they are installed permanently in an enclosed box above the window when they are not needed and when they are needed you can either use the electronic motor or you can manually roll them down with the hand crank.  The benefits of this type of shutter is it doesn’t require any store since it is permanently affixed to the wall, one person can easily deploy it and since you can lock them they are a good theft deterrent system.  The disadvantages are that it is probably one of the most expensive types of hurricane protection systems, because it requires a backup system for the battery that is used in the event of a power outage.  It will only take a few minutes to deploy around an entire home as it is the easiest of all the hurricane protection systems.

Impact Windows

Impact resistant windows normally run about $40-$55 per square feet and since they can stand up to hurricane force winds and flying debris, there really isn’t any need for hurricane shutters.  While it may be a large investment to replace all the existing windows on a house, it still is the most cost effective.  Since these impact resistant windows can make your home more energy efficient, dampen outside noises, theft deterrent, while protecting your home from hurricanes, you will get the most bang for your buck by investing in impact windows.  In addition, they can help to increase the value of your house a lot more than other hurricane protection devices.

The advantages of impact windows are that you won’t need hurricane shutters at all, great for second homes in tropical areas, as once they are installed there is no additional work needed to prepare your house for hurricane season.  It’s almost impossible to break, so it is an excellent theft deterrent.  The only negatives about this choice of hurricane protection are the cost, as it can be an expensive investment.

Now, since you know what all your options are when it comes to hurricane protection, you can now make a better choice, but maybe you are one of those persons that is concerned about the aesthetics that comes with shutters, but you know it is more affordable and at the same time you would rather the impact resistant windows but you know it is not in your budget right now.  One of the things you could consider is combining the two. So what you could do is buy shutters for the back windows or any windows that are not visible from the street and buy impact windows for the front and side windows, that should bring down the cost significantly.

Installing shutters are a pain, if you already have shutters you know what I am talking about, if you don’t ask anyone that has to install them every hurricane season and they will tell you, it’s not uncommon for shutter owners to upgrade to impact windows because they are tired of having to deal with the installation process of putting them up, taking them down and storing them.

If you are currently considering window replacement for your old standard windows and you also want to buy hurricane shutters at the same time, then you definitely need to consider impact windows, because if this situation describes you, then you will find that the cost to just get impact windows, instead of new standard windows and shutters will only be marginal and will be a lot better investment for you.  To learn more, visit this site.


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