How to prepare windows and shutters for the storm

Hurricane shutters require regular maintenance

  • Give it a try now to make sure your shutter system is working properly.
  • If you have removable panelstake them out to see if any are missing or bent.
  • Make sure you have enough mounting fasteners. Otherwise, hardware stores often offer extras. Make sure the mounting rails are clean and free of debris.
  • Apply some light machine oil to lubricate parts and deter rust.
  • Permanently applied shutter systems – such as roller, Bahama or accordion shutters – must be serviced annually (half-yearly if you live on the beach) by a professional, especially if the system is motorized. If the rollers are accessible, they can be sprayed with “white grease” spray, according to Bill Feeley, president of the International Hurricane Protection Association. All engines should be serviced by professionals.
  • Owners of newly built houses with shutter systems should ensure that their builder demonstrates how to use the system and that all parts are supplied before moving in. Missing or incorrectly sized components are common, according to Feeley. “The owner assumes they are a match, then when the storm rolls in they find out they don’t,” he said.

Need help with your hurricane shutters? Here’s who to contact

International Hurricane Protection Association: 844-516-4472,

American Association of Shutter Systems: 800-432-2204,

Least expensive option to protect your windows: plywood

Roller shutter orders and backlogs increase at the height of storm season. So the time to choose your coverings, if you haven’t already, is now. The cheapest option is plywood.

Plywood does not meet Florida building code specifications unless installed according to code.

However, if a storm is near and survival is the goal, follow the instructions in the attached chart for proper installation.

How to install plywood

Plywood Tips to Keep in Mind When Using Wood to Cover Your Windows

  • Plywood is available in 4ft x 8ft sheets. Measure windows and doors, adding 8 inches to each measurement for a 4-inch overhang. (If your window has an outside sill, lay the plywood over the sill and add 4 inches to the other 3 sides.)
  • Build your shutters now, before a storm approaches. Label them, for example “dining room east” and waterproof them with caulk or paint.
  • Store plywood above ground.

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