Last week I blogged about the accordion shutters being installed on my house. I’ll write more about that as I go through the Miami-Dade County inspection process and the My Safe Florida Home program. But in the meantime, I should mention other types of window protection available.
For years I had metal storm panels on my house. These are usually the most economical way to go if you want the security of getting the Miami-Dade County Notice of Acceptance. Some of the negatives associated with the storm panels include the need for sufficient storage space when not on the windows, installation can be tiring and take a fair amount of time, and they are not appropriate except for the ground floor.
I like accordions because they are permanently installed. You only have to close them before the storm. And they can be used on high-rises. Negatives include the fact that they are more expensive than panels, a professional installer is usually needed, and they require some maintenance (usually lubrication at the beginning of each hurricane season).
I have one roll-down shutter on a kitchen to patio pass-through window. The roll-down was installed because a patio countertop did not allow sufficient space for accordions. Like accordions, the roll-downs are permanently installed and easy to close quickly. Mine has a manual-crank although electronic roll-downs are available. Remember that the electronic ones will need backup power if commercial power fails. The biggest negative is the expense.
Colonial Shutters and Bahama Shutters
Both these types are permanently attached and easy to close. In my opinion, both of these shutters look nice on some style of homes. The Bahama shutters will provide shade which should reduce your electric bill. But, like the accordions and roll-downs, they are more expensive than panels.
Various manufacturers produce a transparent, lightweight and amazingly strong fabric that provides excellent protection. Some of these fabrics have the Miami-Dade County Notice of Acceptance. Some bay windows, condominium balconies and garage doors are suitable for this type of covering. The cost is usually more than panels, but less than roll-downs, colonial and Bahama shutters.
Impact Resistant Windows
These windows have really come a long way. I always thought they made really good sense for new homes, but wasn’t sure about replacing windows of an existing home. I’m pleased to see more and more homes get these windows that have the Miami-Dade County Notice of Acceptance. A homeowner can have peace of mind not only for hurricane protection but these windows also give you improved protection from burglars. Energy efficiency and noise reduction are also real pluses. The biggest negative that I know of is the cost. And you need to understand that the glass can still be shattered during a strong hurricane and the frames can be dented or scratched. That means that costly repairs may have to be made. But the windows should do their job of keeping the wind out.
What if you can’t afford the types of window protection mentioned above?
A homeowner may use plywood shutters. In my opinion, some protection is better than no protection. Miami-Dade County recommends the plywood should be at least 5/8 inches thick. This means they are very heavy. It also means that they are very difficult to install once the winds pick up so they will need to be put up well in advance. Storage can also be an issue.
It is important to keep the wind out of your house during a hurricane and it is good that there are several types of window protection now available. Make sure that you do your homework on the product you choose. If you use a contractor for the installation, be sure they are licensed and insured. The contractors listed on the My Safe Florida Home website (www.mysafefloridahome.com) have been determined to hold a state or county license and have received training in hurricane retrofits.