Screen Installation: Hurricane Screens Explained

Hurricane screens, also known as storm screens, are a critical component in safeguarding homes and buildings from the devastating effects of hurricanes. These protective barriers are specifically designed to withstand high-speed winds and flying debris, often a byproduct of violent storms. This article will delve into the intricacies of hurricane screens, their installation process, and their importance in storm-prone areas.

As we navigate through this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of hurricane screens, their construction materials, and the science behind their effectiveness. We will also discuss the installation process, maintenance requirements, and the regulatory standards associated with hurricane screens. This detailed glossary will serve as a valuable resource for homeowners, builders, and anyone interested in understanding the role of hurricane screens in protecting properties.

Understanding Hurricane Screens

Hurricane screens are protective barriers installed over windows, doors, and other vulnerable points of a building to prevent damage from high-speed winds and flying debris during a hurricane. They are typically made of high-strength, impact-resistant materials and are designed to absorb and distribute the force of wind and debris, thereby protecting the structural integrity of the building.

These screens are not to be confused with regular window screens, which are primarily designed to keep insects out while allowing air to circulate. Hurricane screens are much more robust and are engineered to withstand the extreme conditions associated with hurricanes. They are a vital part of a comprehensive hurricane protection plan, especially for properties located in hurricane-prone areas.

Types of Hurricane Screens

There are several types of hurricane screens available in the market, each with its own set of advantages and limitations. The most common types include fabric-based screens, metal screens, and clear polycarbonate screens. The choice of screen type depends on several factors, including the level of protection required, aesthetic preferences, budget, and local building codes.

Fabric-based screens are made of high-strength synthetic fabric and are typically more affordable than other types. They are lightweight, easy to install, and can be rolled up when not in use. Metal screens, on the other hand, are made of steel or aluminum and offer a higher level of protection. However, they are heavier, more expensive, and may require professional installation. Clear polycarbonate screens offer the best of both worlds, providing high-level protection while allowing natural light to enter the building.

Construction Materials

The materials used in the construction of hurricane screens play a crucial role in their effectiveness. High-quality screens are typically made of materials that are strong, durable, and resistant to weathering. These include high-strength synthetic fabrics, steel, aluminum, and polycarbonate.

High-strength synthetic fabrics are often used in fabric-based screens due to their strength and flexibility. Steel and aluminum are commonly used in metal screens due to their high strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance. Polycarbonate, a type of plastic, is used in clear screens due to its high impact resistance and transparency.

Installation of Hurricane Screens

The installation process of hurricane screens is a critical aspect that determines their effectiveness. Proper installation ensures that the screens can withstand high-speed winds and flying debris without detaching from the building or causing damage to the structure.

The installation process varies depending on the type of screen and the specific requirements of the building. However, it generally involves measuring the area to be protected, preparing the surface, attaching the screen to the building using appropriate fasteners, and ensuring a secure fit. It is recommended to hire a professional installer to ensure proper installation and compliance with local building codes.

Measuring and Preparing the Surface

The first step in the installation process is to measure the area to be protected. This includes windows, doors, and other vulnerable points of the building. The measurements should be accurate to ensure a proper fit of the screen. Once the measurements are taken, the surface is prepared by cleaning and removing any obstacles that may interfere with the installation.

Preparing the surface also involves checking for any damages or defects that may compromise the effectiveness of the screen. This includes cracks, loose bricks, rotting wood, and other structural issues. Any such issues should be addressed before proceeding with the installation.

Attaching the Screen

Once the surface is prepared, the screen is attached to the building using appropriate fasteners. The type of fasteners used depends on the type of screen and the material of the building. For instance, metal screens may require heavy-duty screws or bolts, while fabric screens may require hooks or clips.

The screen should be attached securely to ensure that it can withstand high-speed winds and flying debris. It should also be checked for any gaps or loose ends that may allow wind or debris to enter. Once the screen is securely attached, it is tested to ensure its effectiveness.

Maintenance of Hurricane Screens

Regular maintenance of hurricane screens is essential to ensure their longevity and effectiveness. This includes cleaning the screens, checking for damages, and replacing worn-out parts. The maintenance requirements may vary depending on the type of screen and the local weather conditions.

Cleaning the screens involves removing dirt, debris, and other contaminants that may affect the visibility or functionality of the screens. This can be done using a soft brush and mild detergent. Damages such as tears, cracks, or loose fasteners should be repaired immediately to prevent further damage. Worn-out parts such as clips, hooks, or screws should be replaced as needed.

Professional Maintenance

While basic maintenance tasks can be performed by the homeowners themselves, it is recommended to hire a professional for more complex tasks. This includes repairing damages, replacing parts, and conducting regular inspections. Professionals have the necessary tools and expertise to perform these tasks efficiently and safely.

Professional maintenance also ensures that the screens are in compliance with local building codes and regulations. This is particularly important in hurricane-prone areas where building codes often require regular inspections and maintenance of hurricane protection devices.

DIY Maintenance

For homeowners who prefer to perform maintenance tasks themselves, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines. This includes wearing protective gear, using the right tools, and following the correct procedures. It is also important to know when to seek professional help. If a task seems too complex or risky, it is best to hire a professional.

DIY maintenance can be a cost-effective way to keep the screens in good condition. However, it requires a certain level of skill and knowledge. Homeowners should educate themselves about the specific maintenance requirements of their screens and learn the necessary skills before attempting DIY maintenance.

Regulatory Standards for Hurricane Screens

Hurricane screens are subject to various regulatory standards to ensure their quality and effectiveness. These standards are set by local, state, and federal agencies and are enforced through building codes and regulations. They cover various aspects of hurricane screens, including their design, construction, installation, and maintenance.

The specific standards may vary depending on the location and the type of building. However, they generally require the screens to be made of high-strength, impact-resistant materials and to be installed securely to the building. They also require regular inspections and maintenance to ensure the screens remain effective over time.

Design and Construction Standards

The design and construction standards for hurricane screens focus on their ability to withstand high-speed winds and flying debris. They specify the minimum strength and impact resistance required for the screens and the materials used in their construction. They also specify the design features that help distribute the force of wind and debris, such as the shape and size of the screens.

These standards are based on scientific research and testing. They are regularly updated to reflect the latest findings and technologies. Manufacturers of hurricane screens are required to comply with these standards and to provide evidence of compliance, such as test results or certifications.

Installation and Maintenance Standards

The installation and maintenance standards for hurricane screens focus on their correct and safe installation and their regular upkeep. They specify the methods and materials to be used in the installation and the procedures for checking and maintaining the screens.

These standards are designed to ensure that the screens are installed securely and maintained properly to provide effective protection against hurricanes. They are enforced through building inspections and penalties for non-compliance. Homeowners and builders are responsible for ensuring that the installation and maintenance of hurricane screens comply with these standards.


Hurricane screens are an essential part of a comprehensive hurricane protection plan. They provide effective protection against high-speed winds and flying debris, helping to safeguard homes and buildings in hurricane-prone areas. Understanding the intricacies of hurricane screens, including their types, construction materials, installation process, and maintenance requirements, can help homeowners and builders make informed decisions and ensure the longevity and effectiveness of these protective barriers.

While the installation and maintenance of hurricane screens may seem complex, they are critical tasks that ensure the safety and integrity of properties during hurricanes. With the right knowledge and resources, these tasks can be performed efficiently and effectively. This comprehensive glossary serves as a valuable resource in this regard, providing detailed information and insights into the world of hurricane screens.

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