The interior of your home contains so many of your most cherished possessions — from irreplaceable photographs and collectibles to expensive appliances, electronics and furniture. Most importantly, the interiors spaces of a house are where your family lives. Your home’s exterior plays a vital role in keeping all of your family members, pets and possessions safe day and night.
Hurricane shutters are one of the most important investments you can make to ensure the interior of your home remains protected from these destructive storms. Whether you’re new to the Atlantic Coast or have yet to use hurricane shutters, we encourage you to learn about the many ways in which these resources protect your home and family throughout potentially devastating storms.
What Are Hurricane Shutters?
You may have heard hurricane shutters referred to as storm shutters or simply shutters. This is a bit of a misnomer. There are many types of exterior shutters. Some homeowners may choose decorative shutters to lend an aesthetic to their homes without installing them as protective tools. Others may choose to install basic storm shutters to help secure the home against seasonal wind and rain. The primary difference between basic storm shutters and hurricane shutters is that hurricane shutters are specifically designed to endure extreme conditions.
Before you determine whether you need hurricane shutters, it’s important to understand the differences between tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. Meteorologists classify storms based on their features. Hurricanes are rated according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale that estimates potential property damage that may occur due to extreme winds:
- Tropical Depression or storm: A thunderstorm in a low-pressure area that can include circular wind flow with sustained winds as high as 38 mph or increased sustained wind speeds to at least 39 mph and no higher than 73 mph.
- Category 1 Hurricane: Wind speeds between 74 and 95 mph. Property damage that may occur include harm to the roof, siding and gutters as well as trees or power lines.
- Category 2 Hurricane: Sustained wind speeds between 96 and 110 mph. These storms increase the chances of significant property damage and can even uproot or snap some trees.
- Category 3 Hurricane: Wind speeds between 111 and 129 mph, which may cause devastating damage to property and could knock out area electricity and water services.
- Category 4 Hurricane: Wind speeds of 130 to 156 mph and can cause an area to become uninhabitable or accessible for long periods of time.
- Category 5 Hurricane: A catastrophic force that can completely destroy homes.
Who Needs Hurricane Shutters?
Hurricanes can cause extreme damage to homes. Even the winds and rains from tropical storms and Category 1 storms can destroy parts of your exterior. According to the National Weather Service, an average of 10 tropical storms form in the eastern waters of the country each year. Of the storms that develop in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, six usually gain enough strength to become hurricanes.
These weather patterns are quite unpredictable. In 2005, a record 28 storms were named. Though some people may believe that only coastal areas in the Southeast are at risk of encountering hurricanes, these devastating storms defy assumptions and expectations. For example, Hurricane Sandy impacted 24 states on the east side of the country, including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
While the likelihood of hurricane impact may vary from state to state, all homeowners who live near the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea should consider purchasing hurricane shutters for their property. All it takes is one powerful storm to cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in property destruction and personal injury.
Types of Hurricane Shutters
Just as there are distinctions between decorative shutters, storm shutters and hurricane shutters, there are also different variations of hurricane shutters available. We carry five durable hurricane protection products from Wayne Dalton and Alutech United, Inc.:
- Screens: Hurricane screens by Alutech United Inc. provide great barriers to place between powerful storms and your property. You use these screens for your windows and doors and also install them to cover your garage, entryways, lanais, patios, balconies and four-season rooms. These screens decrease the impact of driving rain and wind that passes through to your home.
- Storm Panels: Available as a custom fabric panel or in steel, aluminum or polycarbonate varieties, storm panels offer the protection you need at a moment’s notice. These are great temporary and cost-effective storm protection solutions. Storm panels are lightweight and can be neatly stored after hurricane season. Custom Wayne Dalton Fabric-Shield Storm Products are also Florida and International Building Code compliant, approved by the Texas Department of Insurance and meet the ASTM-E-1866 and ASTM-E-1996 testing standards.
- Accordion Shutters: The appearance of accordion shutters earn their namesake — these shutters unfold across your home when needed and compactly fold back together when not in use. Permanently attached to the side of your windows or doors, these shutters work best for large, horizontal areas such as sliding glass doors or bay windows. Our Alutech Accordion Hurricane Shutters are available in curved and removable tracks to fit your needs perfectly.
- Roll-Down Shutters: Roll shutters are so easy to use, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to install them. Perfect for homes and businesses alike, they are a top choice for many property owners. They simply roll up and down as needed and can even be controlled via remote control or home automation. Alutech United’s Alu Star Roll Shutters are ideal for any shape door or window, lanai or balcony, storefront or kiosk.
- Pull-Down Shutters: An alternative to steel or aluminum roll-down shutters, the Fabric-Shield Storm Pull-Down Shutters from Wayne Dalton deliver the protection you need in fabric form. They are translucent, which allows some natural light to pass through. Though these PVC coated woven fabrics are lightweight, they deliver the strength needed to prevent wind, rain and projectiles from damaging your property. All pull-down shutters are designed to meet TDI approval and all Florida and International Building Code compliance.
For years, Liberty Door and Awning has helped home and business owners secure their properties through each hurricane season. Our hurricane shutters designed by Wayne Dalton and Alutech United Inc. adapt perfectly to your exterior needs. Every one of these hurricane protection products provide a number of benefits that extend far beyond hurricane protection. In fact, one of the reasons why hurricane shutters are such an important investment is because they also contain features that offer advantages for other aspects of your property.
Why Are Storm Shutters Important?
Hurricane shutters protect the people and possessions inside your property. When catastrophic wind speeds send deadly projectiles through the air or wreak havoc on your exterior, you’ll be glad you’ve prepared your building to withstand these destructive forces.
Aside from exterior protection, hurricane shutters also offer a number of additional advantages, such as providing enhanced security to your home, decreasing your energy costs, preventing furniture damage, raising your potential resale value and even lowering your home insurance.
Hurricane Shutters Provide Security & Protection
The primary goal of a hurricane shutter is to protect the doors, windows and interior spaces of your home from the damaging wind, rain and projectiles caused by destructive storms. This level of protection also provides you with additional home security. Hurricane shutters are engineered to withstand impact at extreme speeds, which means they can also endure nearly any other form of impact that may occur outside of hurricane season. Your hurricane shutters can act as a deterrent for home burglaries as well.
Installing hurricane shutters on your property increases the security around your windows or sliding glass doors, protecting these areas from becoming potential entry points for burglars. Business owners can roll down their shutters to protect their building when operating hours have ended.
Homeowners can give themselves peace of mind knowing their homes are protected while on vacation or if the home is only used seasonally. By using these tools throughout the year, you can rest easy knowing that you have an added level of security that is reliable.
Hurricane Shutters Reduce Energy Costs
Throughout the year, the transfer of heat in and out of your home can raise your heating and cooling expenses. Depending on which type of windows your home has and what direction they face, they may be letting solar energy penetrate through and raise the indoor temperature. As your air conditioning struggles to constantly cool the space down, your energy bills can skyrocket.
Hurricane shutters cut down on the heat that passes through your windows. Roll or pull-down shutters are especially useful in controlling the amount of light and heat that enters the home. You can easily close the shutters halfway to light the space yet limit the amount of direct sun exposure. This may significantly reduce your electric bills, especially during the hot summer months.
Hurricane Shutters Protect Fading Furniture
Heat and sunlight do more than just increase your energy bills. Both your outdoor and indoor furniture is at risk of sun damage throughout the year. Fabrics, wood and leather may fade, dry out, crack or darken over years of consistent exposure to direct heat and sunlight.
Even hardwood floors can show signs of sun damage as outlines from furniture start to show if these household items aren’t rearranged every few months. Hurricane shutters can reduce or eliminate the impact of heat and sunlight on your furniture.
Using hurricane protective resources like hurricane screens from Liberty Door and Awning allows for the transference of some light. You still retain visibility while cutting down on direct impact from the sun and heat. It also makes it safer for you and your family to enjoy your indoor and outdoor spaces without an increased risk of skin damage from harmful UV rays.
Hurricane Shutters Increase the Resale Value
Every upgrade to your home is an investment, and strategic improvements or additions can potentially deliver a return on investment if you ever sell your property. While real estate market trends change, some investments are more enduring than others. Hurricane shutters are valuable installations that enhance the protection of your property. Some prospective buyers may consider the presence of hurricane shutters a huge advantage, especially since the investment and installation have been taken care of for them.
Many of the hurricane protective shutters sold by Liberty Door and Awning have the ability to be temporarily fixed to the home, then conveniently stored for later use. This may be an attractive incentive for buyers who want the option to use hurricane shutters but do not want them to appear on their exterior throughout the year.
Hurricane Shutters May Help You Save on Home Insurance
Insurance is a necessary expense for all property owners. Many home and business owners are interested in taking whatever proactive measures they can to lower their annual premium as much as possible. Installing hurricane shutters on your property could help reduce insurance expenses by as much as 10 percent. Every insurance company may have an applicable policy that includes discounts for hurricane shutters, but remember premiums may vary from state to state, company to company or plan to plan.
For example, properties in coastal states along the southeastern region of the country may have higher premiums if they do not have hurricane shutters. The Department of Banking & Insurance of New Jersey encourages property owners to responsibly prepare for a hurricane by boarding up windows with shutters and securing all objects that can be carried by strong wind. Though this practice is recommended, insurance discounts for New Jersey property owners may vary depending on the type of policy the owners carries.
Are hurricane shutters worth it? For peace of mind alone, they are worth getting installed.
In the event that hurricane passes over your home or business, they can potentially save you from tens of thousands of dollars in property damage or injury. Even in calm seasons, hurricane shutters can still provide a wealth of benefits that save you money and secure your property throughout the year. The safety of you, your property and your loved ones is a top priority. Protect them with hurricane shutters from Liberty Door and Awning.
Protect Your Property With Hurricane Shutters From Liberty Door and Awning
Hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and continues until November 30 each year. Though many years may pass without a destructive storm, it only takes one hurricane to cause catastrophic property damage and personal injury. Hurricane shutters are specifically engineered to protect your building’s exterior from powerful wind, rain and projectiles. These devices are easy to use and can either be neatly stored when not in use or installed permanently in a way that enhances the aesthetic of your property.
Although we all hope that a hurricane does not impact our area, it’s always wise to acknowledge the reality and prepare for the worst-case scenario. By installing high-performance hurricane shutters on your property prior to hurricane season, you’re taking the best possible steps to ensure your possessions and loved ones are protected as much as possible. For more information about our hurricane shutters and how you can prepare for a potential hurricane, get in touch with Liberty Door and Awning. We’re here to answer all of your questions.