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Give windows hurricane-proof treatment

Homeowners have a number of choices to protect their windows in a storm. The prices are as varied as the products.

All prices given are approximate. They may vary depending on where the protection is to be installed (more expensive on higher floors that require ladders or scaffolding, for example), and anything custom-made will be expensive. The figures quoted here are an average of those cited by three independent dealers.

But dealers also say they've been told by their wholesale suppliers that the price of aluminum will rise sharply in mid-April, and again in the summer. So prepare yourself for a price adjustment.

Consumer demand has driven the move to see-through shutters. After living in boarded-up houses for six weeks in the late summer of 2004, buyers want protection that admits light. Retailers, too, want to protect their windows yet let customers see that they're open for business.

Ask to see documentation that products meet Miami-Dade certification tests. Window film does not. It won't prevent your windows from shattering; it may hold the pieces in place. For that matter, plywood does not meet the impact certification test. Neither do corrugated plastic panels.

Window protection options

Colonial shutters

These decorative shutters add to the home's appearance. When a storm threatens, they close, like old-fashioned shutters, and lock across the window. $50 per square foot.

Full-view Bahamas

This aluminum product has moving louvers, open to the view, that can be snapped shut to provide hurricane protection. No backing plate is required, hence better light and air circulation. Around $50 per square foot. See them at or call toll-free 1-866-220-5019.

Steel or aluminum panels

Older styles mount in tracks around the windows. Newer ones are direct-mounted and attached with bolts or screws. Steel panels are around $9 per square foot; aluminum is around $12 per square foot. Aluminum is lighter. To admit light and avoid claustrophobia, many homeowners use at least one see-through Lexan panel, corrugated or flat, per room ($15 to $17 per square foot).

Roll-down shutters

These aluminum or PVC shutters operate by a pull strap or can be hand-cranked or motorized. Made to order for each window. About $55 to $65 per square foot.

Accordion shutters

These are typically used to cover sliding-glass doors. $25 to $35 per square foot.

Mesh wind screen

Transparent polypropylene mesh wind screen — Force 12 is one brand — is attached at top and bottom with removable stainless steel eye bolts. It cuts wind speed and slows objects that strike it. It is mainly used on large expanses of glass – sliders opening onto a lanai, for example — and in commercial applications; $13 to $15 per square foot. A related product is Diamond Screen, a mesh with reinforced corners for small or large windows. $12 per square foot.

Impact-resistant glass

Two panes of heavy glass form a sandwich with a middle layer of heavy, clear polyvinyl. Estimate $60-plus per square foot; figure $800 to $1,000 per opening.

Plastic panels

Made of corrugated plastic, these panels mount with 3M Dual Lock Fasteners. They come in translucent, opaque or clear; $4 to $9 per square foot. They're marketed as a plywood alternative.; toll-free 1-877-253-8371.

Fabric panels

Fabric-Shield panels from Wayne Dalton are made of PVC-coated woven fabric and attached to a stud or track with grommets and wing nuts. The shield is translucent, lightweight and easy to store. The material will flex, so it's possible a direct hit could break a window, but the interior is protected from rain. Stock and custom sizes. About $12 to $15 per square foot.

Fabric panels

Another variation: Storm-a-Rest panels made of Spectra, a polyethylene fiber that manufacturer Honeywell claims is 30 percent stronger than Kevlar. The panels, attached with simple fasteners, admit daylight and stop wind-driven rain. An accent band of striped Sunbrella fabric gives a festive tropical look when the shade is rolled up in fair weather. About $21 a square foot installed;

Give windows hurricane-proof treatment 05/16/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 2:42pm]
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