Shutter Installation: Commercial Hurricane Shutters Explained

Commercial hurricane shutters are an essential protective measure for businesses located in hurricane-prone areas. These shutters are designed to withstand the high winds and flying debris associated with hurricanes, thereby minimizing potential damage to the building and its contents. This article provides a comprehensive guide to commercial hurricane shutters, focusing on their installation process.

The installation of commercial hurricane shutters is a complex task that requires a thorough understanding of the product, the building structure, and the local building codes. It involves several steps, including selecting the right type of shutter, measuring the windows and doors, preparing the installation site, mounting the shutters, and testing their operation. This guide will delve into each of these steps in detail.

Types of Commercial Hurricane Shutters

There are several types of commercial hurricane shutters available in the market, each with its own set of features, benefits, and installation requirements. The choice of shutter type largely depends on the building’s architecture, the level of protection required, and the budget.

Accordion shutters, roll-down shutters, Bahama shutters, and colonial shutters are some of the most common types of commercial hurricane shutters. Each of these shutters has a unique design and operation mechanism, which influences their installation process.

Accordion Shutters

Accordion shutters are named for their folding design, which resembles the bellows of an accordion. These shutters are typically made of aluminum and are known for their durability and ease of operation. They are permanently installed on the building and can be quickly closed and locked in the event of a hurricane.

The installation of accordion shutters involves mounting a track on the top and bottom of the window or door, attaching the shutters to the track, and installing a locking mechanism. The shutters can be customized to fit any size of window or door, making them a versatile option for commercial buildings.

Roll-Down Shutters

Roll-down shutters, also known as rolling shutters, are made of interlocking slats that roll up and down on a track. These shutters provide a high level of protection against hurricanes and can also enhance the building’s security and energy efficiency.

The installation of roll-down shutters requires the mounting of a housing box above the window or door, installing the track on both sides, and attaching the shutter to the track. The shutters can be manually operated with a crank or motorized for ease of use.

Measuring for Commercial Hurricane Shutters

Accurate measurements are crucial for the successful installation of commercial hurricane shutters. The measurements should include the width and height of the windows and doors, as well as any obstructions that may affect the installation.

The measurement process should start with a thorough inspection of the installation site. This includes checking the condition of the walls, the location of electrical outlets and other utilities, and the presence of any architectural features that may interfere with the shutter installation.

Measuring the Width

The width of the window or door should be measured from the outside edges of the frame. It is important to measure at the top, middle, and bottom, as the width may vary at different points. The smallest measurement should be used for the shutter width to ensure a tight fit.

For windows and doors with arches or other non-rectangular shapes, additional measurements may be required. These measurements should be taken at the widest and tallest points of the shape, and the shutter should be designed to cover the entire area.

Measuring the Height

The height of the window or door should be measured from the bottom of the sill to the top of the frame. Like the width, the height should be measured at several points, and the smallest measurement should be used for the shutter height.

If the window or door has a sill that protrudes from the wall, the measurement should include the sill. This ensures that the shutter will cover the entire opening and provide maximum protection against hurricanes.

Preparing the Installation Site

Once the measurements have been taken, the next step is to prepare the installation site. This involves cleaning the area, removing any obstructions, and marking the locations for the shutter tracks and hardware.

The preparation process should begin with a thorough cleaning of the window or door frame and the surrounding wall. This removes any dirt, dust, or debris that could interfere with the installation. Any loose paint or old caulk should also be removed to ensure a secure attachment of the shutters.

Marking the Locations

The locations for the shutter tracks and hardware should be marked on the wall using a pencil or chalk. These marks should be based on the measurements taken earlier and should be checked for accuracy before proceeding with the installation.

The marks should be made at the top, middle, and bottom of the window or door, and should align with the edges of the frame. This ensures that the shutters will be installed straight and level, which is critical for their proper operation and performance.

Drilling the Holes

After the locations have been marked, the next step is to drill the holes for the shutter tracks and hardware. The holes should be drilled using a power drill and a masonry bit, and should be deep enough to accommodate the screws or bolts used for the installation.

The holes should be drilled at the marked locations, and should be spaced evenly along the width and height of the window or door. The spacing of the holes depends on the type of shutter and the manufacturer’s instructions, but typically ranges from 12 to 18 inches apart.

Mounting the Commercial Hurricane Shutters

The mounting of the commercial hurricane shutters is the most critical part of the installation process. This involves attaching the shutter tracks to the wall, hanging the shutters on the tracks, and securing them with screws or bolts.

The mounting process should start with the installation of the shutter tracks. The tracks should be aligned with the drilled holes and attached to the wall using the provided hardware. It is important to ensure that the tracks are straight and level, as this affects the operation of the shutters.

Hanging the Shutters

Once the tracks are installed, the next step is to hang the shutters. The shutters should be lifted onto the tracks and slid into position. The shutters should fit snugly within the tracks and should move smoothly when opened and closed.

The shutters should be secured to the tracks using the provided screws or bolts. The screws or bolts should be tightened until they are snug, but not overly tight, as this could damage the shutters or the tracks. The shutters should be tested for operation after they are installed to ensure they open and close properly.

Installing the Locking Mechanism

The final step in the mounting process is to install the locking mechanism. The locking mechanism is crucial for the security and performance of the shutters, as it keeps the shutters closed during a hurricane and prevents them from being forced open by the wind.

The locking mechanism should be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and should be tested for operation after installation. The lock should engage and disengage smoothly, and should hold the shutters securely when locked.

Testing the Commercial Hurricane Shutters

After the commercial hurricane shutters have been installed, it is important to test their operation and performance. This involves opening and closing the shutters, checking the fit and alignment, and inspecting the installation for any potential issues.

The shutters should open and close smoothly, without any binding or sticking. The shutters should fit snugly within the tracks, and there should be no gaps or spaces that could allow wind or debris to enter. The shutters should also be checked for any signs of damage or wear, and any issues should be addressed immediately.

Performance Testing

Performance testing of the shutters involves checking their ability to withstand high winds and flying debris. This can be done by conducting a wind load test, which simulates the conditions of a hurricane.

The wind load test should be conducted according to the local building codes and the manufacturer’s instructions. The shutters should be able to withstand the specified wind load without any deformation or failure. If the shutters pass the wind load test, they can be considered ready for use.

Maintenance and Inspection

Regular maintenance and inspection of the shutters are essential for their long-term performance and durability. This includes cleaning the shutters, lubricating the tracks and locking mechanism, and inspecting the installation for any signs of damage or wear.

The maintenance and inspection should be conducted at least once a year, or more frequently in areas with frequent hurricanes. Any issues found during the inspection should be addressed immediately to prevent further damage and ensure the shutters are ready for the next hurricane season.


Commercial hurricane shutters are a vital protective measure for businesses in hurricane-prone areas. Their installation is a complex process that requires careful planning, accurate measurements, and meticulous workmanship. By following the steps outlined in this guide, businesses can ensure their shutters are installed correctly and are ready to provide the necessary protection when a hurricane strikes.

While the installation of commercial hurricane shutters can be a significant investment, it is a cost-effective solution in the long run. These shutters not only protect the building and its contents from hurricane damage, but also enhance the building’s security, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal. Therefore, the installation of commercial hurricane shutters is a wise decision for any business located in a hurricane-prone area.

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