The Best Types of Hurricane Protection for Your Home

Residing in an area that’s prone to hurricanes, like South Florida, hurricane protection for your home is a must. Decades ago the options were limited, but today there are countless ways to protect your home. From impact-resistant window to hurricane shutters to fabric screens there is something for everyone. While some of these options are outrageously expensive others are extremely affordable. Let’s explore the seven most popular ways to protect your home during a hurricane along with the pros and cons of each.

The Best Types of Hurricane Protection for Your Home

Most Popular Hurricane Protection Options

Impact-Resistant Windows

Your home can be protected all year long without lifting a finger! From protecting your home during a hurricane to keeping intruders out hurricane impact windows cover it all. They are by far the most convenient, but they are also the most costly out of all of the options. Hurricane impact windows are impact-resistant, but not impact-proof, which means the glass can break. However, if the window does break shards of glass won’t go flying across the room. Hurricane impact windows are built with multiple layers of protection and a special coating, so if the glass does break it will spiderweb instead.

In addition to protecting you during a hurricane impact-resistant windows can also reduce your electric bill, keep the UV rays out along with outside noise.

PROs of Impact-Resistant Windows
  • Eliminates the need for hurricane shutters
  • Sleek and clean
  • They can improve your homes energy efficiency
  • Blocks up to 99% of UV rays
  • Reduce outside noise
CONs of Impact-Resistant Windows
  • Costly, they are the most expensive option for hurricane protection
  • Not impact-proof, so they can break and will need to be replaced

Accordion Shutters

The Best Types of Hurricane Protection for Your Home - Accordion Shutters

One of the most popular options for hurricane protection is accordion shutters. While they are not sleek and clean like impact-resistant windows they are an excellent option and much more affordable.

Accordion shutters are bolted to the sides of your windows and as the name suggests open like an accordion. They are a permanent fixture, so they will stay attached to your home year-round.

Accordion shutters are incredibly easy to use and can be closed quickly by one person. Plus, they can be custom-fit to the exact size of any door or window.

PROs of Accordion Shutters
  • They are permanently attached to the home, so no need to store them
  • Only takes minutes to close
  • They can be closed by one person
CONs of Accordion Shutters
  • They are permanently attached to the home and can look out of place
  • They need regular maintenance to ensure the wheels glide and the shutters properly close/lock

Hurricane Panels

Hurricane panels are one of the most cost-effective ways to protect your windows and doors during a hurricane. These panels are made from steel, aluminum or polycarbonate, making them extremely durable. Each hurricane panel is corrugated and is bolted to the wall around your window or door. For maximum strength and protection hurricane panels usually overlap. Some will slide onto tracks while others will not.

Unlike accordion shutters that only take minutes to close hurricane panels can take hours to install. Since these panels need to be bolted to your home it usually takes at least two people to install. One-story homes are pretty easy and safe to install hurricane panels. However, two-story homes can become complicated and dangerous since a ladder is required. Once hurricane panels are installed your home will be extremely dark and will remain that way until they are removed.

PROs of Hurricane Panels
  • One of the most inexpensive options
  • Removable
CONs of Hurricane Panels
  • Heavy, bulky and sharp
  • They can be difficult to install, may require more than one person
  • Require storage space
  • Your house will be pitch black if you lose power
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Additional Hurricane Protection Options

Colonial Shutters

Colonial shutters are by far one of the most attractive types of shutters that not only add protection to your home but curb appeal two. These louvered shutters are attached to the wall beside each window and fold together to protect the window. Colonial shutters can be customized, so you’ll be able to choose the perfect size, color and material for your home.

PROs of Colonial Shutters
  • Add curb appeal
  • They are permanently attached to the home
  • Only takes minutes to close and can be closed by one person
CONs of Colonial Shutters
  • They can’t be used to protect doors
  • They may have a storm bar or center rod that can increase installation time

Bahama Shutters

Bahama shutters are commonplace in warmer climates, like the Bahamas. They are a one-piece louvered shutter that attaches directly to the home above the window and props open. Bahama shutters can be adjusted similar to an awning and provide shade along with hurricane protection. Much like colonial shutters, they can protect your windows while adding curb appeal. Bahama shutters are usually made out of wood or aluminum, which depending on the material and size can be weaker than other wind storm protection options.

PROs of Bahama Shutters
  • Add curb appeal
  • They are permanently attached to the home
  • Only takes minutes to close and can be closed by one person
  • Provide shade and privacy
CONs of Bahama Shutters
  • Tend to be weaker than other hurricane protection
  • They can’t be used to protect doors
  • They may block too much light for some

Roll-Down Shutters

The Best Types of Hurricane Protection for Your Home - Roll Down ShuttersRoll-down hurricane shutters, much like accordion shutters, can secure your home within minutes. These types of shutters attach above the window and with a touch of a button can instantly roll up or down.

While some roll-down shutters are automatic others need to be lowered manually using a hand crank. The biggest pro having manual roll-down shutters is they don’t run off of electric, so they won’t need a back-up battery. However, it can take a while to manually close all of the shutters by hand.

Usually made of aluminum or steel roll-down hurricane shutters provide a strong curtain barrier. They can also easily provide shade.

PROs of Roll-Down Shutters
  • They are permanently attached to the home
  • Only takes minutes to close and can be closed by one person
  • Provide shade and privacy
CONs of Roll-Down Shutters
  • Expensive compared to other shutter options
  • Requires a battery backup system

Hurricane Screens

One of the newest and most affordable types of hurricane window coverings are hurricane screens. These fabric storm panels are made of high-tech fabric that stretches across your windows and doors. Much like hurricane panels, they are attached with anchors around the window and doorways. Unlike the standard hurricane shutter that blocks light hurricane screens allow light and visibility.

PROs of Hurricane Screens
  • Affordable
  • Light and easy to install
  • Perfect for covered patios
CONs of Hurricane Screens
  • They can take time to install and may require two people depending on the size
  • They can absorb impact of debris, but may not stop the window from breaking
  • Some come in premade sizes that can’t be cut, so a custom order would be required
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Final Thoughts

Keeping your family safe during a hurricane should be a top priority, which is why having a plan in place to protect your home is a must. As you can see all seven options have pros and cons, so it really comes down to what the best option is for you and your family. Just keep in mind all of the options will suffice. So you don’t have to go with the most expensive option thinking it will be the best option or protect you more than other options.

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Additional Hurricane Protection Resources

  • Do hurricane shutters or impact windows add value to your home? Hurricane protection is a necessity in South Florida, so it’s something buyers expect. When certain items are expected they don’t always add financial value to a home, but they are a great selling point.
  • Can hurricane protection save you money on your homeowners insurance? Depending on the type of hurricane protection, commonly referred to as wind storm protection in the insurance industry, certain types can save you money on your insurance premiums. With that being said it’s usually a standard wind storm protection credit. So you’ll receive the same discount or credit for hurricane impact windows as you would for hurricane panel shutters.
  • What other hurricane preparations need to be made? In addition to protecting your windows and doors there are other preparations you should make. Trimming trees and shrubs before hurricane season starts in June is one of them. Buying supplies like non-perishable food, water and batteries is another. When a hurricane is expected to make landfall clearing your patio is a must, if not these items can become weapons as they fly through the air.

About the Author

Top Wellington Realtor, Michelle Gibson, wrote: “The Best Types of Hurricane Protection for Your Home”

Michelle has been specializing in residential real estate since 2001 throughout Wellington Florida and the surrounding area. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or rent she will guide you through the entire real estate transaction. If you’re ready to put Michelle’s knowledge and expertise to work for you call or e-mail her today.

Areas of service include Wellington, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Greenacres and more.

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The Best Types of Hurricane Protection for Your Home
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The Best Types of Hurricane Protection for Your Home
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Looking for the best hurricane protection for your home? If so here's a guide discussing the pros & cons of hurricane impact windows, shutters and screens.
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Michelle Gibson Wellington Florida REALTORMichelle Gibson of the Hansen Real Estate Group Inc is a full-time REALTOR who has been specializing in Wellington Florida real estate since 2001. This veteran to the real estate industry has expertise in technology, marketing and social media.

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