People who live in coastal areas and those in other hurricane prone areas, such as most of the state of Florida, will find shutters an excellent investment for protecting their lives, possessions and property. They protect against wind and wind-borne debris. Once a door or window has been breeched by hurricane winds, tremendous pressure is brought to bear on interior walls and upward pressure on the building's roof. This can lead to roof failure which will then expose the entire contents of the building to the storm. Shutters are a first line defense against the hurricane. Much of the damage and building failure in Hurricane Andrew could have been prevented by well installed hurricane shutters over windows and doors.
Shutters will protect your home and possessions from wind and water damage whether you are there or not. You should take every reasonable precaution to protect your property.
Since entrance doors, windows, and glass sliders have different functions, the same style of protection may not be ideal for all of the openings of your home. There are many different styles and selections. The most important factor is that the shutter products meet the Florida Building Code specifications and testing requirements.
The best kind are those that are affordable, are easy to deploy, and offer the greatest protection. Which of these properties are most important depends on the individual circumstances. Considerations should include cost, ease of operation, personal capabilities and level of protection. Whichever type is decided upon, it's important to remember that shutters MUST meet code requirements, be installed by a qualified installer, the anchorage meet code. It's important to remember that shutters are only as good as the quality of their installation. Ensure that the shutters and their anchorage are installed by qualified technicians and that the quality of the materials meet the necessary building codes.
Although these have benefits, they are no substitute for shutters. If, for instance, you have windows that can't be shuttered due to access, then you may wish to consider installing a shatter resistant window or film. Remember that the shatter resistant window or films only protect the glass. The frame is still under pressure and the whole window could fail. Windows with these treatments will suffer glass damage from the impact of debris and will need to be replaced. A shutter would take most or all of the energy of an impact. Always make sure that any product considered meets code requirements.
The same way you go about choosing any company that performs a service. Make sure they are licensed, insured, get and check references, check the Better Business Bureau and ask if there are any projects that they have completed that you can visit.
The ideal time to have shutters installed is when the house is built so they can be part of the design. If you own a house without shutters, have them installed as soon as is practical. Keep in mind that the beginning of hurricane season (June 1st through November 30th) is a busy time for most installation companies. Do NOT wait until a Hurricane Watch is issued for your area. If you have shutters, make sure at the start of each hurricane season your test out and maintain your shutters. For permanently installed shutters, test each one by closing them to make sure they work smoothly and lock tight. For panels and plywood shutters, try a couple of windows and doors to ensure the hardware works and check the time you need to complete the job. Check plywood for warping or other damage which could compromise it's integrity. Repair any problems at this time so that everything is ready when a storm threatens. When a Hurricane Watch is issued for your area, check all hardware and mechanisms again, and maybe pre-install the more difficult shutters. If you live in an evacuation zone and it will take 2 to 3 hours to complete your shutter installation, you may want to start during the Hurricane Watch phase. If you are not in an evacuation zone, you should time your installation early in the Warning phase so that you are not struggling with panels during high winds.
The least expensive method of protecting windows is probably using plywood. The key to plywood shutters is thickness and installation. You must use at least 3/4" exterior grade plywood, it makes the shutters heavier but safer. They should be cut to fit the outside of the opening with sufficient edge distance, secured on all four sides with the proper hardware, installed prior to hurricane season, marked for each opening they are made for and stored with their hardware in a dry location. Heat and moisture, over time, will warp plywood and a good fit is essential to their effectiveness.
Another consideration for cost effectiveness in purchasing shutters may be to purchase shutters for two or three windows at a time, starting with the most vulnerable. It would be best to start this process well before hurricane season.
The short answer in Florida is NO. Florida Statute 718.113 (5) states: Each board of administration of a residential condominium shall adopt hurricane shutter specifications for each building within each condominium operated by the association which shall include color, style, and other factors deemed relevant by the board. All specifications of the board must comply with the applicable building code. And a board may not refuse to approve the installation or replacement of hurricane shutters, impact glass, code-compliant windows or doors, or other types of code-compliant hurricane protection by a unit owner conforming to the specifications adopted by the board.
You can purchase shutters from us and install them yourself. If you choose that option, be aware that you will be forfeiting our product warranty. Also keep in mind that there may be additional hidden costs associated with self-installation. The savings are minimal for self installation versus our professional technicians installing it for you.
This can be a significant investment, so take your time doing the research. Some important criteria to look for when making a decision are building code approvals, personal capabilities, installation applications and aesthetics of the finished installation. We have a Shutter Selection Matrix that may aide in your decision making.
In making comparisons, it's important to factor in the same quality of products and service. When comparing the same products, we are competitively priced in the market. We may not be the cheapest, nor the most expensive. We take great pride in offering value by providing only the highest quality products, professional installation using our qualified and trained technicians (NO sub-contractors!), have insurance and offer product warranty.
Generally, a building permit is required when installing hurricane protection. However, there are instances in which a building permit is not required. Building permits should be pulled by your contractor. There are Florida Statutes (Section 489.103 (7) & 455.277(1)(j)) in place in reference to Owner/Builder permits. These state that if you don't intend on doing the work yourself, you should not pull the permit. You may be liable for costs associated with any injuries if the contractor has no worker's compensation insurance and/or is not licensed.
Upon signature of the contract, a homeowner may need to sign pertinent permit paperwork. This paperwork, along with the appropriate product approvals will be submitted to the municipality for approval. Upon review and approval, a permit will be issued for your property. Prior to the installation, the permit must be posted on your job site. Upon completion of the installation, the municipality will be contacted and a final inspection will take place. The permit needs to be prominently displayed for the inspection (outside attached to, or near the shutters). Once the inspection passes, the permit will be closed by the municipality.
No! It's a waste of effort, time and tape. It offers little strength to the glass and NO protection against flying debris. After the storm passes you will spend a lot of time trying to scrape the old, baked-on tape off your windows. Once a Hurricane Warning has been issued and you find yourself without hurricane shutters, you would be better off spending your time putting protection (such as plywood) over doors and windows.
Contact your insurance company for a Storm Mitigation Application. This form must be completed by an approved professional. Once the product is inspected and the application completed & submitted, you are entitled to a discount.
Any door with glass such as sliding glass doors, French doors, etc. should be protected. Some double doors or garage doors should either be shuttered or reinforced. In Hurricane Andrew, many of these doors gave way.