Shutter Maintenance: Commercial Hurricane Shutters Explained

Commercial hurricane shutters are an essential protective measure for businesses located in hurricane-prone areas. These robust devices are designed to shield windows and doors from the damaging effects of high winds, flying debris, and torrential rain. This article delves into the intricate details of commercial hurricane shutters, their maintenance, and the various factors that contribute to their effectiveness.

Understanding the importance of commercial hurricane shutters and their maintenance is crucial for any business owner looking to safeguard their property and operations. In this comprehensive glossary, we will explore the different types of shutters, their construction, installation, and maintenance procedures, as well as the common issues that may arise and how to address them.

Types of Commercial Hurricane Shutters

Commercial hurricane shutters come in various types, each with its unique features, advantages, and disadvantages. The choice of shutter type depends on several factors, including the nature of the business, the building’s architecture, and the local weather conditions.

Some of the most common types of commercial hurricane shutters include roll-down shutters, accordion shutters, Bahama shutters, and colonial shutters. Each of these types offers different levels of protection, ease of use, and aesthetic appeal, making them suitable for different applications.

Roll-Down Shutters

Roll-down shutters, also known as rolling shutters, are among the most popular types of commercial hurricane shutters. They are typically made of high-quality aluminum and are designed to roll down from a box installed above the window or door. These shutters offer excellent protection against hurricanes and can also provide insulation, noise reduction, and increased privacy.

One of the main advantages of roll-down shutters is their ease of operation. They can be manually operated using a crank or automated with a motor, allowing for quick and easy deployment when a storm is approaching. However, they are also among the most expensive types of hurricane shutters, which may be a consideration for some businesses.

Accordion Shutters

Accordion shutters are another common type of commercial hurricane shutter. As their name suggests, these shutters are designed to fold like an accordion, making them easy to deploy and store. They are typically made of aluminum or steel and are installed on a track that runs along the top and bottom of the window or door.

Accordion shutters offer a good balance between cost and performance. They are less expensive than roll-down shutters but still provide a high level of protection against hurricanes. However, they may not be as aesthetically pleasing as other types of shutters, which may be a consideration for businesses that place a high value on their building’s appearance.

Construction and Installation of Commercial Hurricane Shutters

The construction and installation of commercial hurricane shutters are critical factors that determine their effectiveness. High-quality materials and proper installation techniques are essential to ensure that the shutters can withstand the powerful forces of a hurricane.

Most commercial hurricane shutters are made of durable materials such as aluminum or steel, which offer excellent resistance to wind and impact. The shutters are typically installed on a track system, which allows them to slide into place quickly and securely. The installation process requires precise measurements and skilled workmanship to ensure a tight fit and smooth operation.

Materials Used in Shutter Construction

The materials used in the construction of commercial hurricane shutters play a crucial role in their performance. Aluminum and steel are the most common materials due to their strength and durability. Aluminum shutters are lightweight and resistant to corrosion, making them suitable for coastal areas. Steel shutters, on the other hand, are heavier and stronger, offering superior protection against impact.

Some commercial hurricane shutters also incorporate polycarbonate or other types of plastic. These materials are less durable than metal but offer the advantage of being transparent, allowing natural light to enter the building even when the shutters are closed. However, they are more susceptible to damage from UV radiation and may require more frequent replacement.

Installation Techniques

The installation of commercial hurricane shutters is a complex process that requires precision and expertise. The shutters must be securely attached to the building to withstand the high winds and flying debris of a hurricane. This typically involves drilling holes in the building’s exterior and using heavy-duty fasteners to secure the shutters in place.

Proper installation also requires careful measurement to ensure that the shutters fit the windows or doors perfectly. Any gaps or misalignments can compromise the shutters’ effectiveness and may allow wind or water to penetrate the building. Therefore, it is often advisable to hire a professional installer who has the necessary skills and experience to ensure a successful installation.

Maintenance of Commercial Hurricane Shutters

Maintenance is a key aspect of ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of commercial hurricane shutters. Regular cleaning, inspection, and repair can help to prevent problems and ensure that the shutters are ready to provide protection when needed.

Common maintenance tasks include cleaning the shutters and tracks, lubricating moving parts, checking for signs of damage or wear, and replacing any worn or damaged components. It is also important to test the shutters regularly to ensure that they can be deployed quickly and easily in the event of a storm.

Cleaning and Lubrication

Cleaning and lubrication are essential maintenance tasks for commercial hurricane shutters. Dirt and debris can accumulate in the tracks and moving parts of the shutters, causing them to stick or jam. Regular cleaning can prevent this problem and ensure smooth operation. Lubrication is also important to reduce friction and prevent wear and tear on moving parts.

When cleaning commercial hurricane shutters, it is important to use a mild detergent and a soft brush to avoid scratching or damaging the surface. After cleaning, the shutters should be rinsed thoroughly and allowed to dry before applying lubricant. The lubricant should be applied sparingly and evenly to all moving parts, including the tracks, rollers, and hinges.

Inspection and Repair

Regular inspection is another important aspect of shutter maintenance. This involves checking the shutters for signs of damage or wear, such as cracks, dents, rust, or loose fasteners. Any damaged or worn parts should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible to prevent further damage and ensure the shutters’ effectiveness.

Repairing commercial hurricane shutters often requires specialized tools and skills. Therefore, it is usually best to hire a professional to perform any necessary repairs. However, minor repairs, such as tightening loose fasteners or replacing worn rollers, can often be performed by the business owner or maintenance staff with the right tools and instructions.

Common Issues with Commercial Hurricane Shutters

Despite their robust construction and high-quality materials, commercial hurricane shutters can still encounter issues. These issues can range from minor inconveniences to major problems that can compromise the shutters’ effectiveness. Understanding these common issues can help business owners identify and address them promptly.

Some of the most common issues with commercial hurricane shutters include jamming, difficulty in operation, damage from impact or corrosion, and problems with the motor or control system for automated shutters. Each of these issues requires a different approach to diagnosis and repair, which we will explore in the following sections.

Jamming and Difficulty in Operation

Jamming is a common issue with commercial hurricane shutters, especially those with complex mechanisms like roll-down or accordion shutters. This issue can be caused by a variety of factors, including dirt or debris in the tracks, misalignment, or wear and tear on the rollers or other moving parts.

Difficulty in operation can also be a sign of a problem with the shutters. This can include difficulty in deploying or retracting the shutters, excessive noise during operation, or the need for excessive force to operate the shutters. These issues can often be resolved by cleaning and lubricating the shutters, adjusting the alignment, or replacing worn parts.

Damage from Impact or Corrosion

Commercial hurricane shutters are designed to withstand the impact of flying debris, but they can still be damaged by severe impacts or by prolonged exposure to harsh weather conditions. Signs of impact damage include dents, cracks, or punctures in the shutters. Corrosion can also be a problem, especially for shutters made of steel or other metals that are susceptible to rust.

Damage from impact or corrosion can compromise the shutters’ effectiveness and should be addressed promptly. This may involve repairing or replacing the damaged parts, applying a protective coating to prevent further corrosion, or in severe cases, replacing the entire shutter.

Problems with Motor or Control System

For automated commercial hurricane shutters, problems with the motor or control system can prevent the shutters from operating properly. These problems can include a motor that does not run, a control system that does not respond, or a shutter that does not move even when the motor is running.

Diagnosing and repairing these problems often requires specialized knowledge and tools. Therefore, it is usually best to consult a professional if you encounter problems with the motor or control system of your commercial hurricane shutters.


Commercial hurricane shutters are a vital protective measure for businesses in hurricane-prone areas. Understanding the different types of shutters, their construction and installation, maintenance procedures, and common issues can help business owners make informed decisions and ensure the longevity and effectiveness of their shutters.

While this glossary provides a comprehensive overview of commercial hurricane shutters, it is always advisable to consult with a professional for specific advice tailored to your business and local conditions. With proper selection, installation, and maintenance, commercial hurricane shutters can provide reliable protection for your business for many years to come.

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