Hurricane shutters are a Floridian’s best friend….. unless you have impact windows

Hurricane Dorian

If there is one necessity that is required if you live in Florida, its hurricane shutters. Way back when my townhouse was built, it included hurricane shutters. Hurricane shutters come in a few types, the two that I’m most familiar with are the ones that you screw into your house and accordions. Since living in Florida all this time, there have been very few times that I have had to put up shutters. I think the first time was during Hurricane Matthew and at the time I had the screw in shutters that came with my house. That was ridiculously difficult to put up on my own, I had to place each panel on an opening (there were at least 5-6 per window or door) and they had to be screwed into the house. Needless to say that was time consuming and back breaking work. The worst part was that I was only able to do the bottom floor, I left the tops alone and used duct tape to protect the windows (yep not recommended).

Accordion shutters

After some discussion with the Mrs., we decided to spring for the accordion shutters in anticipation of other hurricanes. Granted they cost about $5K and took months to get permits and the shutters actually put in but the benefit and cost were so worth it. Fast forward to Hurricane Irma, the only hurricane I ever evacuated for. This one was projected to come right to my community on the map. Since I had the new accordions, it only took 15-20 minutes to put all the shutters up and was relatively effortless. In the picture above, my neighbor still has the ones that you screw in and he was doing that for a few hours but he had help doing it.

With Dorian, it was projected to come to South Florida again, they said Category 3 but now its a 5 but it will skirt the state for the most part but I’m not taking any chances and I put up the shutters anyway. Most of my community has put up their shutters and there is a mixture of the screw in vs the accordions. The buildings that were built most recently don’t need shutters, they have impact glass. Impact glass is very expensive but then you don’t have to deal with hurricane shutters which is nice. You don’t have to live in darkness for a day or so. I don’t know if they’re rated to handle something like a category 5 storm but at least when something hits the glass it won’t shatter. If I knew that I was going to be staying in my home forever, I might want to invest in something like impact glass but since I spent the money on accordions, I think I’ll be fine for the most part.

If you live in FL and don’t have hurricane shutters, you’re just rolling the dice every June through November. We’ve been fortunate that the hurricanes to date have not made direct impacts to South Florida but that’s not the case in other parts of the state. I still see some people putting up plywood for their homes. The amount of time and effort required to do that is greater than having screw in shutters. While financially its expensive to put shutters on your home, at least you know you’ll be protected from a storm which is the most important thing. Now to sit and wait for the storm to blow over so I can take the shutters down and get some vitamin D in my life.

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