Plywood Hurricane Shutters?

About this time last year, I was blogging about the accordion shutters being installed on my house.  See my blog from July 9, 2008 for a brief description of different types of window protection.

Accordion Shutters at Max's House

Accordion Shutters at Max's House

I have a peace of mind having accordion shutters with the Miami-Dade County Notice of Acceptance on my home.  But I also understand that many folks can’t afford to purchase shutters or impact resistant windows, and they are going to use plywood shutters instead.  You should know that plywood shutters do not pass the Miami-Dade County large missile impact tests.  I can’t stop thinking about the 2” x 4” x 6’ piece of lumber shot into Miami-Dade County approved shutters versus the same 2 x 4 shot into plywood shown on our WPLG-TV Hurricane Special this year.  The 2 x 4 easily penetrated the plywood. 

However, in my opinion, some protection is better than no protection.  If you are going to use plywood, an instruction video for installation can be found at the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes web site at  Go to the Hurricane section and click on Animated How-To: Emergency Board-Up.  An internet search on plywood shutter installation will reveal other methods as well.  Buying the materials, cutting the plywood, and drilling holes for the anchors and bolts should be done well in advance.  If the plywood shutters are not installed properly, they can become dangerous flying missiles during a hurricane.

Miami-Dade County recommends the plywood be at least 5/8 inches thick.  This means that the plywood shutters are very heavy.  It also means that they are difficult to install once the winds pick up so they will need to be put up well in advance.  As with most hurricane preparations, it is important to plan ahead.


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