June 13 2015 0comment

Hurricane shutter guide: Compare types, calculate costs

Hurricane shutter guide: Compare types, calculate costs

Hurricane shutters remain the most economical solution for mosthomeowners to protect window openings in a storm, althoughhurricane-proof glass is increasingly popular. Prepare ahead oftime, say experts, particularly with panels and plywood protection.Make sure the right tools and hardward are on hand before the stormnears. Here’s the lowdown on hurricane shutters and windowprotection.


Storm panel hurricane shutters

These steel or aluminum shutters attach to the wallsaround windows and doors on bolts or tracks. Storm panels arecorrugated, and each piece overlaps the next for maximum strength.There are several styles of storm panels to choose from.

The first style incorporates both tracks and bolts. Thetop of the panel is slipped into a track above the window, and thebottom of the panel is secured to bolts that are permanentlyattached beneath the window.

The second style uses a set of C-shaped tracks above andbelow the windows and doors. Bolts slide into the tracks fromeither side and must be manually aligned with the holes on thepanels.

The third style uses only bolts permanently set into thewall beside the windows and doors. They can be loosened as thepanel is hung horizontally, and screwed down to secureit.

The biggest problem with storm panels is that homeownersoften don’t check them when they buy a home. Many discover laterthat panels are missing or were cut improperly, or are too heavy toinstall themselves.

PROS
Most inexpensive of the permanent shuttersystems.
— Removable, so they don’t change the look of the housewhen not in use.
Strong, and can provide excellent protection forboth doors and windows.

CONS
Require storage, but usually stack togethertightly and take up little space.
Can be difficult to handle; hanging can requiremore than one person.
Sometimes don’t line up properly.
Have sharp edges.

Average cost: $7-$8 per square foot;
Average storm preparation time: 15 minutes perwindow depending on the style.


Accordion hurricane shutters

These one- or two-piece hurricane shutters are housedbeside the windows or doors when not in use. They unfoldaccordion-style to cover and protect during a storm.

PROS
— Permanently affixed beside the windows and don’t require anyextra storage space.
— Can easily be made storm-ready by one person.
— Some models can be locked with a key and may be used as a theftdeterrent.

CONS
— Can look bulky and out-of-place on some houses. Consider theaesthetics before having them installed.
— Glide on wheels, and have the potential to break more easilythan some of the other systems.

Average cost:
$16-$20 per square foot
Average storm preparation time: 15-30 minutes foran entire house


Colonial hurricane shutters

These are two-piece louvered shutters that attach to thewall beside each window. The fold together to protect thewindow.

PROS

— Are permanently affixed beside the windows and don’t requireany extra storage space.
— Can easily be made storm-ready by one person.
— Are decorative; they can beautify as well as protect yourhome.

CONS
— Some types of colonials require a storm bar or center rod tolock the shutters in place. This can increase installationtime.
— Can’t be used to protect doors, and must be combined withanother shutter system to ensure complete home protection.

Average cost:
$18-$30 per square foot
Average storm preparation time: At least 45minutes to an hour for an entire house.


Bahama hurricane shutters

These one-piece louvered shutters attach directly abovethe windows and prop open to provide shade for the window. Bahamashutters are storm-ready when lowered and secured to the wall.

PROS
— Permanently affixed beside the windows and don’t require anyextra storage space.
— Can easily be made storm-ready by one person.
— Provide permanent shade and privacy, even in the openposition.

CONS
— Have traditionally been weaker than other systems, but thenewest models protect well.
— Some people complain that they block too much light.
— Design limits their use. They can’t be used to protectdoors.

Average cost:
$18-$30 per square foot
Average storm preparation time: 15-30 minutes foran entire house.


Roll-down hurricane shutters

These shutters attach above the window. They roll up andstore in an enclosed box when not in use. They are lowered eithermanually by a hand crank or automatically by push button, and lockin place for storm protection.

PROS

— Are permanently affixed above the windows and don’t require anyextra storage space.
— Can easily be made storm-ready by one person.
— Offer some of the best protection, and make an excellent theftdeterrent.

CONS

— Most expensive of the popular shutter systems.
— Push-button-operated roll-down shutters require a batterybackup system so the shutters can be lowered and raised duringpower outages.

Average cost:
$30-$55 per square foot
Average storm preparation time: Minimum; probablythe easiest shutter to operate.


Hurricane glass

This glass can withstand hurricane debris and eliminatethe need for hurricane shutters. It costs more, especially toretrofit an older house. Modern code requirements, which alreadyrequire hurricane shutters or other protections on new houses, makethe glass a more practical option at the time of construction.

PROS

— Eliminates the need for hurricane shutters.
— The most practical hurricane glass is similar to a carwindshield, with a durable plastic-like layer sandwiched betweenglass. The outside layers break, but the center prevents ahole.

CONS
— Must be installed by a window contractor.
— The frame must be replaced along with the panes to meetcode.

Average cost: $35-$50 a square-foot,including new window frames and layered hurricane glass
Average storm preparation time: None.


 

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