As we continue to recover from Hurricane Matthew and prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, it is important to understand what we can do to protect our homes in the event of another storm.

One of the best solutions is adding storm protection to your home. Whether you already have storm protection or are interested in learning more, the following guide will help you.

Many people have a misconception that hurricane shutters protect only against broken windows. However, they actually protect your roof too. The real danger during a hurricane is the vast amount of wind and flying debris. Objects might hit your home, causing openings for gusts to enter.

The real damage often comes after this, when wind has a way into your home creating negative and positive pressure. Once inside, the wind looks for any area to escape. Since the entry point will continue to have wind coming in, the roof is often the area that gives first, and can actually be blown off of your home.

By installing hurricane shutters, the openings are blocked from excessive wind entering your home.

Covering your windows and doors with plywood should only be a last resort alternative to actual storm shutters. Plywood is heavy and difficult to deploy. It can also cause damage to your home, as you have to screw or nail the sheets directly into the structure. Most importantly, these panels fail to meet criteria for optimal storm protection.

There are several types of storm protection solutions. Choosing the appropriate product can be overwhelming.

If your home is equipped with rolling, accordion or storm-rated Colonial shutters, deployment is very easy and shouldn’t take too much time. However, steel or fabric panels require a little more work.

Be aware that storm protection deployment takes time and practice. You need to understand your tools, safety procedures and how to properly secure your storm protection to avoid service issues like over tightening fasteners, breaking windows, or damaging your home. Refer to the materials that came with your shutters to understand the best and safest way to deploy them. Here are some tips:

  • Bring shutters out of storage and place the set of panels near the first window to protect.
  • Remove the plastic caps around the window.
  • Put on work gloves.
  • Beginning with the bottom of the window, take a shutter panel and align the holes on the panel with those around the window. Install sidewalk bolts into the female panel mates on the two lower bolts, and finger tighten.
  • Proceed upward with the next panel and repeat until all panels are in place. Tighten snugly, but not too tight, using a cordless screwdriver. Over tightening fasteners and bottoming them out can cause the fasteners in your house to be removed while removing sidewalk bolt.

Dana Briggs is the owner of Armor Building Solutions. www.ArmorBuilding