A Guide to Choosing the Right Shutters for Hurricane Season

Hurricanes can be devastating to a home, as well as to the people and possessions inside. Although structural engineering and window-strengthening technology are both constantly evolving fields, hurricane shutters are still the best protection for a home in a hurricane.

Shutters protect windows and glass doors from strong winds and debris that can do incredible structural damage during a hurricane. The best kind of shutters for your home depends on your budget and ease of access. Follow these tips to pick the right shutters for this hurricane season.

Different Materials for Different Budgets

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Image via Flickr by smiteme

Hurricane shutters come in many different materials, each with their own pros and cons. Here’s a short breakdown of the upsides and downsides of the most typical materials:

  • Plywood shutters are inexpensive, though they lack the strength of more sturdy materials. They’re a good compromise for people with lower incomes.
  • Steel panel shutters are some of the strongest on the market, though they’re considerably more expensive than wood shutters.
  • Aluminum shutters are cheaper than steel and stronger than plywood.
  • Currently, experts with organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration don’t recommend plastic film or shatter-resistant windows as stand-alone hurricane protection. These features are good all-around investments, but cannot protect windows from hurricane debris as well as shutters can.

Styles of Shutter

Depending on your personal circumstances, you may want to choose hurricane shutters that are easy to use, attractive, or some combination of both. These are the major styles:

  • Colonial style and Bahama style are both good for wood shutters. They’re stylish, easy to move and a quick to install.
  • Metal shutters work best in accordion style because it’s the easiest to adjust and can be closed from inside your home. Accordion shutters do need to be cleaned and lubricated yearly, though.
  • Roll-up and panel shutters are also common styles for metal materials. They offer increased strength, but they are difficult to install and must be operated from outside your home.

Hurricane Shutters and Insurance

Many homeowners insurance providers give special credits to homes that already have shutters installed, while other providers require shutters for comprehension coverage. This is especially common in coastal locations where hurricanes are common, like the state of Florida and on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

You should carefully read any existing or prospective insurance plans to determine what kind, if any, shutters will change your coverage. Don’t risk your homeowners insurance by guessing. Make sure you plan to install the right shutters before it’s too late.

Buying Online vs. In Person

As with many things, hurricane shutters are often more affordable when purchased on the Internet, but this method is best for those who are confident in their ability to measure and install shutters on their own. For those who require more professional assistance, purchasing hurricane shutters at a local store provides access to knowledgable and experienced workers. The staff at your local hardware store should understand details like local building codes and proper installation methods that can affect what shutters you choose.

Installing the right hurricane shutters can protect your home and your family from some of the wildest weather in the world. It’s a simple investment of mere hundreds of dollars that can save you thousands down the line.

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