Shutting out the storm
Storm shutters remain the most economical solution for most homeowners to protect windows. When installing any type of shutter system, be sure to wear protective gloves. Here are four basic shutter designs.
Plywood shutters

Barrel-bolt plywood shutters
Use on concrete-block stucco homes that have windows inset at least two inches from the exterior wall.

Buy plywood ahead of time, before the rush. Make sure it is at least 5/8 of an inch thick.

Buy 3- or 4-inch barrel bolts, enough for one bolt for a minimum of every 12 inches of plywood.

Cut the plywood sheets to size for each window, allowing for a snug fit in the inset.

For larger windows or sliding doors, attach two pieces of plywood with 2-by-4s or a piano hinge.

Attach bolts to plywood, mark where you need the holes to be drilled in the concrete stucco.

Drill holes, in marked spots in concrete stucco.

Overlapping plywood shutters
If your windows do not have a 2-inch inset, plywood shutters can overlap.

Buy plywood ahead of time, before the rush.

Make sure it is at least 5/8 of an inch thick.

Cut the plywood sheets to size for each window, allowing for an overlap of at least 4 inches. Label each panel.

Drill corresponding holes in the plywood and walls. Use a 1/4-inch drill bit for the wood. Use a masonry or carbide-tipped bit for concrete or stucco walls.

Hammer 1/4-inch lead sleeve anchors – not plastic – into the holes in the wall. The anchors should be at least 2 inches long.

When a hurricane threatens, use tapping screws at least 2 inches long to bolt the plywood in place.

Average cost: $1 - $5 per square foot
Preparation time: 1 - 1 1/2 hours per window.


Steve Madden | Times

Accordion hurricane shutters
These one- or two-piece hurricane shutters are housed beside the windows or doors when not in use. They unfold accordion-style to cover and protect during a storm.

Pros
Permanently affixed beside the windows and don't require any extra 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 theft deterrent.

Cons
Can look bulky and out of place on some houses.

Consider the aesthetics before having them installed.

Glide on wheels, have the potential to break more easily than some of the other systems.

Average cost: $16 - $20 per square foot
Preparation time: 15-30 minutes for an entire house

Storm panels
These steel or aluminum shutters attach to the walls
around windows and doors on bolts or tracks.

The first style incorporates both tracks and bolts. The top of the panel is slipped into a track above the window, and the bottom of the panel is secured to bolts that are permanently attached beneath the window.

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

The third style uses only bolts permanently set into the wall beside the windows and doors. They can be loosened as the panel is hung horizontally, and screwed down to secure it.

Pros
Most inexpensive of the permanent shutter systems.

Removable, so they don't change the look of the house when not in use.

Strong, and can provide excellent protection for both doors and windows.

Cons
Require storage, but usually stack together tightly and take up little space.

Can be difficult to handle; hanging can require more than one person.

Sometimes don't line up properly.

Have sharp edges.

Average cost: $7 - $8 per square foot;
Preparation time: 15 minutes per window depending on the style.

Roll-down hurricane shutters

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

Pros
Are permanently affixed above the windows and don't require any extra storage space.

Can easily be made storm-ready by one person.

Offer some of the best protection, and make an excellent theft deterrent.

Cons
Most expensive of the popular shutter systems.

Push-button-operated roll-down shutters require a battery backup system so the shutters can be lowered and raised during power outages.

Average cost: $30 - $55 per square foot
Preparation time: Minimum; probably the easiest shutter to operate.


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