Hurricane Protection for Your Home

Hurricane Protection Options
CGI, PGT, and WinDoor

How Wind Can Affect Your Home

You know that hurricane winds can cause tremendous property loss, but what you may not know is that a large amount of damage is actually caused by wind-borne debris (such as tree limbs, street signs, roof tiles, etc.) and not the wind itself. Debris penetrates windows and doors, allowing wind to enter a home. This creates significantly more pressure inside the house than the structure is designed to withstand which often results in lifting the roof or pushing out the walls. Even if the roof and walls remain intact, the rain and water damage from a broken window can destroy the interior and leave a home uninhabitable.

Protecting Your Property, Protecting Yourself

In recent years, the Florida Building Code has strengthened its requirements for hurricane protection on homes as a proactive way to reduce the damage caused to residents by hurricanes. Coastal areas have building codes requiring wind-born debris protection in hurricane-prone areas. While builders and architects should be aware of the code requirements, you must protect yourself by ensuring the products you plan to use meet code requirements. Ask to see the products' certification documents for windows, doors, and shutters and verify acceptance with your local building department. Plywood shutters have specific requirements, so be sure to check the regulations in your area for further details.

The following chart may help you evaluate the products available for wind-borne debris protection. These products may also qualify you for homeowners insurance discounts. Ask your insurance agent for details. It should be noted that window film and masking tape do not meet building code requirements for wind-borne debris protection. Also, many deed-restricted communities regulate when and for how long shutters may remain installed.

Comparing Hurricane Protection Options for Your Home

Home Protected From Hurricanes

Keeping wind and water out is critical to your home's survival. Hurricane protection should be a planned element of any vulnerable home. Plywood should be a last-minute alternative, and if used, must be properly fastened. It should be noted that plywood is more expensive over time because it does not qualify for insurance discounts and must be replaced periodically. When choosing a product, you should ask yourself the following:

  • Am I a year-round resident?
  • What are my physical limitations? Can I handle screens or lightweight corrugated plastic but not aluminum or other shutters?
  • Will I be comfortable with the look of permanent products, such as roll-down or accordion-style shutters? These often have visible storage "boxes" on a home's exterior when not in use.
  • Am I capable of installing shutters alone? If not, you may want to consider installing permanent protection, such as impact-resistant windows and doors.

Comparing Your Options

ProductEase of UseStorageAppearance of HomeEgressSecurityUV ProtectionNoise Reduction
CGI, PGT, and WinDoor Impact- Resistant Windows and Doors No effort required by homeowner. No storage required. No negative effect on appearance of home. Full egress. 24/7 protection from intruders. 24/7 protection from up to 99% of harmful rays. 24/7 reduction of outside noise.
Electric Roll-Down Shutters Requires homeowner to be present. No labor required to roll down, minimal time. Motors susceptible to operational problems in coastal areas. Manual override needed if power is out. No storage required. Shutter housings and tracks detract from appearance of home. No egress when shutters are down. Protects from intruders only when shutters are down. Only when shutters are down. Only when shutters are down.
Manual Roll-Down Shutters Requires homeowner to be present. Minimal labor and lime required to roll down. No storage required. Shutter housings and tracks detract from appearance of home. No egress when shutters are down. Protects from intruders only when shutters are down. Only when shutters are down. Only when shutters are down.
Accordion Shutters Requires a moderate amount of labor and time to fold out. No storage required. Shutter housings and tracks detract from appearance of home. No egress when shutters are folded out. Not designed for security. Only when shutters are folded out. Only when shutters are folded out.
Panel Shutters Requires significant labor and time to install and remove. Additional cost for installation and removal if needed. Storage required. Panel tracks detract from appearance of home. No egress when shutters are installed. Not designed for security. Only when shutters are installed. Only when shutters are installed.
Plywood Panels Requires significant labor and time to install and remove. Additional cost for installation and removal if needed. Significant storage required. Anchoring system detracts from appearance of home. No egress when installed. Not designed for security. Only when installed. Only when installed.
Fabric Storm Panels Requires homeowner to be present. Minimal labor and time required to hang up. Required storage space. Flat clean look from appearance of home. No egress when installed. Not designed for security. Only when panels are installed. No noise reduction.

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