Hurricane season at the Jersey Shore has been brutal in recent years, causing more and more homeowners to look for ways to protect their homes. While many protective measures may seem of little use when faced with something like Superstorm Sandy as we were in 2012, they are always a good idea and in most cases, very effective. Hurricane shutters are among the first things you should consider when storm proofing your home. Their purpose is to block wind, rain and objects tossed around by the storm that can cause damage. There are many different types of hurricane shutters, and it can be confusing to determine which would best protect your home.
Types of hurricane shutters can vary from simple plywood shutters that are bolted over your windows just before a storm to more permanent shutters that are functional and sometimes even decorative. There are a few different factors that can influence your choice such as installation process, strength, and durability, ease of operation and budget.
Of all the different types of hurricane shutters, these are the most basic. Typically a DIY project, they are simply sheets of plywood put over your window and secured into place. These temporary shutters are strictly functional and may be difficult to put up for a homeowner who is not handy or not physically fit.
It is recommended to use 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch CDX plywood. Available in 4 ft x 8 ft sheets, the plywood should not be used to cover openings larger than that unless additional framing is added.
Plywood hurricane shutters are the least expensive option as they have to be put up, taken down and placed into a designated storage space when not in use.
These shutters are a permanent fixture on your home and offer ease of operation as well as protection. Not the most aesthetically pleasing choice, they roll down from a housing mounted at the top of the window or door. Made from a variety of different materials like stainless steel, aluminum, galvanized steel, and plastic, they can be operated manually or are in some cases motorized.
Motorized roll shutters can be almost impossible to open if there is a power outage. This can be a bit of an inconvenience, but if you evacuate your home, their inability to be opened can provide added protection from theft in the aftermath of the storm.
Combining convenience with function, roll shutters are typically a more expensive option.
Colonial and Bahama Shutters
Both of these types of hurricane shutters tend to be decorative as well as provide protection.
Colonial hurricane shutters mimic traditional shutters commonly found on homes, but they are made of fiberglass or metal. The shutters are hinge-mounted to each side of the window or door and can be either louvered or solid. The colonial-style shutter is not typically recommended for an area wider than 8 ft.
Bahama hurricane shutters are also among the more decorative variety and are meant for window openings only. Normally composed of horizontal metal slats encased in a rectangular frame, they are fastened with hinges above the window. Bahama shutters can also be made from wood or fiberglass. When not protecting your home from severe weather, the shutters are held by horizontal side-arms at an outward angle, allowing views through the spacing between the slats.
While both of these options are typically more expensive, they also provide aesthetic value and the Bahama style shutter can also help provide shade. They are easier to operate than plywood shutters yet not as convenient as roll shutters.
This type of hurricane shutter is composed of interlocking vertical blades, usually aluminum, which roll horizontally on tracks mounted above and below the opening. They are easy to operate and can effectively cover a large area, typically either a window or a door. When not in use they are held back by clips or straps.
Accordion shutters are permanent and can have a significant impact on the appearance of your home. When in use, they block out just about all of the natural sunlight. They can be made with clear blades to allow the light into your home, but this option will increase the cost of the shutter.
These panels, like plywood shutters, are temporary and put into place when a storm is coming. They can be flat or corrugated. Corrugated panels are made typically made from galvanized steel, aluminum, and plastic. The flat panels are a newer alternative to plywood shutters and are made from polycarbonate sheets.
Both of these types of hurricane shutters are a less expensive option and can be difficult to put up if the high winds have begun. More labor intensive, they will need to be labeled as they are custom cut to each opening and they will need to be stored.
Fabric Hurricane and Storm Panels
This type of storm panel is usually made of a lightweight, durable fabric with a PVC coating. They can be customized to fit any door or window opening in your home. While they do completely block the view into or out of the home, the weave of the fabric does allow the flow of natural light.
Temporary and labor intensive, they must be put up taken down and stored. They are less expensive than some other options. Because the fabric will give to some degree upon impact, fabric storm panels are resistant to the damage metal shutters can sustain from storm-tossed objects.
How to Choose the Right One?
With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide. Keep in mind, the least expensive option isn’t the best one if you are going to struggle with operating it. Hurricane shutters can be a significant investment depending on the type you choose, but protecting your home is worth it.
If you are still confused about the different types of hurricane shutters and which would be the best choice, Liberty Door and Awning can help. Our expert staff will be happy to guide you through the different options and assist you in choosing the perfect hurricane shutters for your home. Contact us today or visit our Toms River, NJ showroom for all your home’s exterior needs.