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Hurricane Window Protection: What Can you Do?

Living in a hurricane-prone area comes with its own set of challenges. One of the most important being safeguarding your home from the fury of these powerful storms. While sturdy walls and a strong roof are crucial, your windows present a vulnerability. But fear not, fellow coastal dweller! Here’s your comprehensive guide to hurricane window protection, ensuring your home weathers the storm (literally).

Why Protect Your Windows?

Imagine this: a fierce hurricane barrels down, flinging debris like angry missiles. Your windows, the eyes of your home, are the first line of defense. If they break, the wind and rain can wreak havoc, turning your haven into a disaster zone.

Here’s why protecting your windows is critical:

  • Prevents flying debris from causing damage: Hurricanes turn everyday objects into dangerous projectiles. Plywood, branches, or even lawn furniture can shatter your windows, allowing wind and rain to enter.
  • Protects your home’s interior: Once the window breaks, the wind and rain can unleash their fury. This can damage furniture, belongings, and even compromise the structural integrity of your home.
  • Minimizes water damage: Rain entering through broken windows can cause extensive water damage, leading to mold growth, electrical hazards, and costly repairs.

Your Window Warriors: A Look at Protection Options

Now that we understand the “why,” let’s delve into the “how.” Here are the most popular hurricane window protection options, each with its own set of advantages and considerations:

1. Plywood Boards:

  • Pros: Affordable, readily available, and relatively easy to install (with some DIY skills)
  • Cons: Time-consuming to put up and take down, cumbersome to store, and can detract from your home’s aesthetics. Additionally, not always approved by building codes in all areas.

2. Hurricane Fabric:

  • Pros: More aesthetically pleasing than plywood, and easier to store. Some fabrics can be semi-transparent, allowing some natural light in.
  • Cons: May not be as strong as other options, and not always approved by building codes.

3. Storm Panels:

  • Pros: Easy to install and remove, often custom-made to fit your windows, and typically meet building code requirements.
  • Cons: Can be more expensive than plywood, and some types might require additional storage space.

4. Hurricane Shutters:

  • Pros: Extremely strong and durable, offering the best protection against flying debris. Available in various styles (roll-down, accordion, etc.) to suit your needs and aesthetics.
  • Cons: The most expensive option, and professional installation might be required depending on the type of shutter.

5. Impact-Resistant Windows:

  • Pros: The ultimate solution, offering permanent protection and eliminating the need for storm prep activities. Provides superior noise reduction and UV protection.
  • Cons: The most expensive option by far, and replacing existing windows can be a significant undertaking.

Choosing the Right Option for You: A Balancing Act

With so many options, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Budget: Plywood and fabric are the most budget-friendly, while impact-resistant windows are the priciest.
  • Convenience: How much time and effort are you willing to invest in installation and removal?
  • Building codes: Check your local building codes to ensure your chosen option is compliant.
  • Durability: Consider the level of protection you need based on your location and hurricane risk.
  • Aesthetics: Some options, like shutters and impact-resistant windows, can enhance your home’s curb appeal.

Bonus Tip: Don’t wait until the last minute! Having a plan and chosen method in place before hurricane season arrives ensures you’re prepared and avoid the stress of last-minute scrambling.

Beyond the Basics: Additional Tips for Hurricane Window Protection

  • Secure your window coverings properly: Ensure your chosen protection is securely fastened to withstand strong winds.
  • Protect your garage door: This large opening can be vulnerable, so consider using storm shutters or bracing your existing door.
  • Stay informed: Monitor weather reports and follow local advisories to stay updated on the storm’s path and intensity.
  • Assemble an emergency kit: Stock up on essential supplies like food, water, first-aid kits, and medications in case of power outages or evacuation orders.

By following these tips and implementing the right window protection strategy, you can transform your home into a hurricane haven, offering peace of mind and safeguarding your loved ones and belongings during these powerful storms. Remember, preparation is key!