Hurricane Shutters: Hurricane Screens Explained

In the face of a hurricane, one of the most critical steps homeowners can take to protect their property is to install hurricane shutters or screens. This glossary entry will provide an in-depth exploration of hurricane shutters and screens, their types, functions, installation processes, and maintenance requirements.

Understanding the importance and functionality of hurricane shutters and screens is essential for those living in hurricane-prone areas. These protective measures can significantly reduce the damage caused by high winds and flying debris, potentially saving lives and reducing repair costs.

Understanding Hurricanes

Hurricanes are powerful tropical storms that form over warm ocean waters. They are characterized by their strong winds, heavy rainfall, and potential to cause significant destruction. The most severe hurricanes can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour, causing catastrophic damage to properties and infrastructure.

One of the primary dangers of hurricanes is the flying debris carried by the high winds. This debris can shatter windows and cause extensive damage to homes. Therefore, protecting your home’s openings, such as windows and doors, is crucial during a hurricane, and this is where hurricane shutters and screens come into play.

The Role of Hurricane Shutters and Screens

Hurricane shutters and screens are designed to shield windows and doors from the impact of flying debris. They are typically made from durable materials such as metal or high-strength fabric and are designed to withstand the force of hurricane winds and the impact of flying debris.

By preventing windows and doors from shattering, hurricane shutters and screens can keep the high winds from entering the home. This is important because once the wind enters, it can cause an increase in pressure that can lead to structural damage, including the potential for the roof to be lifted off.

Types of Hurricane Shutters

There are several types of hurricane shutters available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The choice of shutter will depend on factors such as the homeowner’s budget, the architecture of the home, and the severity of hurricanes typically experienced in the area.

The most common types of hurricane shutters include storm panel shutters, accordion shutters, roll-down shutters, Bahama shutters, and colonial shutters. Each of these will be discussed in detail in the following sections.

Storm Panel Shutters

Storm panel shutters are among the most cost-effective options for hurricane protection. They are removable panels made from steel, aluminum, or polycarbonate that are attached to the windows and doors when a storm is approaching. They require a bit of manual labor to install and remove, but they provide excellent protection and are a popular choice for many homeowners.

One of the main advantages of storm panel shutters is their affordability. However, they require storage when not in use, and the installation process can be time-consuming, especially for larger homes. Despite these drawbacks, their effectiveness in protecting against hurricane damage makes them a worthwhile investment.

Accordion Shutters

Accordion shutters are permanent fixtures that are installed on the sides of windows and doors. They are made from interlocking aluminum blades that fold out of the way when not in use and can be quickly closed and locked when a storm is approaching. They are more expensive than storm panel shutters, but they offer the convenience of easy operation and do not require storage space.

The main advantage of accordion shutters is their ease of use. They can be closed and locked in a matter of minutes, making them a practical choice for those who may not have the time or physical ability to install storm panels. However, they are more expensive and may not be as aesthetically pleasing as other options.

Types of Hurricane Screens

Hurricane screens, also known as hurricane fabric, are a newer addition to the market but have quickly gained popularity due to their effectiveness and ease of use. They are made from high-strength, lightweight fabric that is designed to withstand the impact of flying debris.

There are two main types of hurricane screens: clip-on screens and roll-down screens. Both types offer excellent protection but differ in their installation processes and ease of use.

Clip-On Hurricane Screens

Clip-on hurricane screens are similar to storm panel shutters in that they are installed only when a storm is approaching. They are attached to the windows and doors using clips or other fastening systems. They are lightweight and easy to handle, making the installation process relatively straightforward.

One of the main advantages of clip-on screens is their affordability. They are typically less expensive than roll-down screens and offer a similar level of protection. However, like storm panel shutters, they require storage when not in use and can be time-consuming to install on larger homes.

Roll-Down Hurricane Screens

Roll-down hurricane screens are permanent fixtures that are installed above the windows and doors. They can be quickly and easily lowered when a storm is approaching and rolled up out of the way when not in use. They are more expensive than clip-on screens, but they offer the convenience of easy operation and do not require storage space.

The main advantage of roll-down screens is their ease of use. They can be lowered and secured in a matter of minutes, making them a practical choice for those who may not have the time or physical ability to install clip-on screens. However, they are more expensive and may require professional installation.

Installation and Maintenance of Hurricane Shutters and Screens

The installation process for hurricane shutters and screens will depend on the type of product. Some products, such as storm panel shutters and clip-on screens, can be installed by the homeowner, while others, such as roll-down shutters and screens, may require professional installation.

Maintenance of hurricane shutters and screens is typically minimal. They should be inspected regularly for signs of wear and tear and cleaned as needed. It’s also important to test the operation of shutters and screens periodically to ensure they can be quickly and easily closed in the event of a storm.

Conclusion

Hurricane shutters and screens play a crucial role in protecting homes from the destructive forces of hurricanes. By understanding the different types of shutters and screens available and their respective advantages and disadvantages, homeowners can make informed decisions about the best way to protect their property.

While the initial investment in hurricane shutters or screens may seem substantial, the potential savings in terms of reduced damage and repair costs can make it a worthwhile investment. Furthermore, the peace of mind that comes from knowing your home is protected can be invaluable.

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