Hurricane Storm Panels for Your Home


Clear plastic Lexan panels allow light in during a storm
(Photo courtesy of Speas Storm Shutters)

One of the best ways to minimize damage to your home during a hurricane is to cover your windows and doors with storm panels or shutters. There are many types available, but all require advance planning so they’re ready to go when a storm is heading your way.

Plywood

The old standby and least expensive option, plywood is not approved for hurricane protection by many state building codes. While 1/2” plywood used to be considered adequate, it’s now recommended that sheets be at least 5/8” thick to provide protection from flying projectiles. Since plywood is heavy and awkward to handle, hanging it can be labor intensive and may require two people.


Plywood is the least expensive option and can be installed by the homeowner

Buy plywood before hurricane season, since it can be in short supply when a storm is approaching. Cut it to size before hurricane season arrives to reduce last minute preparations. Attach plywood every 12” using bolts, screws, barrel bolts or special clips.

Metal Storm Panels

Corrugated aluminum or steel panels are extremely strong. Individual panels overlap each other for added strength. They can be installed on permanently mounted tracks or bolted in place.

Plastic Storm Panels

Polycarbonate plastic (Lexan) is available in corrugated panels that are installed in permanently mounted tracks or bolted in place. Plastic shutters come in clear, translucent, and opaque styles. While the most expensive form of protection, unlike plywood or metal, they allow light in your home during a storm.


Plastic panels protect windows from flying debris
(Photo courtesy of Speas Storm Shutters)

Fabric Storm Panels

Touted as an effective alternative to rigid materials, fabric storm panels are made from a geo-synthetic, PVC coated fabric or Kevlar. They attached around windows and doors using grommets and bolts or straps and buckles. While keeping wind, rain, and flying debris out, the mesh fabric allows light and some air to come through.


Fabric storm panels are easy to put up and take down
(Photo courtesy of Storm Smart Industries)

You wouldn’t think that fabric would provide sufficient protection for your windows against hurricane force winds and flying projectiles, but many fabric storm panels meet or exceeded state building codes as well as ASTM standards for hurricane protection.

While most fabric storm panels are installed by the dealer, homeowners may be able to buy the material and install it themselves for around $5 per square foot for PVC fabric.


Fabric storm panels can also be attached using straps
(Photo courtesy of Storm Smart Industries)