Windborne Debris: Hurricane Screens Explained

Hurricane screens, also known as storm screens, are an essential part of hurricane preparedness in regions prone to such natural disasters. These screens are specifically designed to protect windows and doors from windborne debris, which can cause significant damage during a hurricane. This article provides a comprehensive glossary on the topic, explaining the various aspects of hurricane screens and windborne debris in detail.

Understanding the function, installation, and maintenance of hurricane screens is crucial for homeowners in hurricane-prone areas. This glossary aims to provide a thorough understanding of these aspects, along with the types of windborne debris and the impact they can have on a property. The information provided here is based on extensive research and expert opinions in the field.

Definition of Hurricane Screens

Hurricane screens are protective barriers installed over windows and doors to shield them from the destructive force of windborne debris during a hurricane. They are typically made from highly durable materials, such as metal or high-strength fabric, and are designed to withstand the high wind speeds and flying debris common in hurricanes.

The primary purpose of hurricane screens is to prevent windborne debris from breaking windows and doors, which can lead to internal pressurization of a building and potentially catastrophic structural damage. By providing a protective barrier, hurricane screens can significantly reduce the risk of damage and injury during a hurricane.

Types of Hurricane Screens

There are several types of hurricane screens available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common types include metal screens, fabric screens, and roll-down screens. Metal screens are typically the most durable and effective, but they can also be the most expensive. Fabric screens are often more affordable and easier to install, but they may not provide the same level of protection as metal screens. Roll-down screens offer a convenient, retractable option that can be easily deployed when needed.

Choosing the right type of hurricane screen depends on a variety of factors, including the specific needs of the property, the local climate, and the homeowner’s budget. It’s important to consult with a professional to determine the best option for your home.

Windborne Debris and Its Impact

Windborne debris refers to any objects or materials that are picked up and carried by the wind during a hurricane. This can include a wide range of items, from small particles of sand and gravel to larger objects like branches, roofing materials, and even outdoor furniture. The speed and force of the wind can turn these items into dangerous projectiles, capable of causing significant damage to buildings and potentially injuring people.

The impact of windborne debris can be severe, particularly during a hurricane. When windows or doors are broken by flying debris, it allows the wind to enter the building, which can lead to internal pressurization and potentially catastrophic structural damage. Additionally, broken windows and doors can allow rain and floodwater to enter the building, leading to water damage and potential health hazards.

Types of Windborne Debris

The types of windborne debris that can be encountered during a hurricane are incredibly varied. They can be broadly categorized into small, medium, and large debris. Small debris includes items like sand, gravel, and small branches, which can scratch and damage surfaces but are unlikely to cause significant structural damage. Medium debris includes larger branches, roofing materials, and other similar-sized objects, which can break windows and cause more substantial damage. Large debris includes items like outdoor furniture, large tree limbs, and other heavy objects, which can cause serious structural damage and pose a significant safety risk.

Understanding the types of windborne debris and their potential impact can help homeowners better prepare for a hurricane. By securing potential sources of debris and installing protective measures like hurricane screens, the risk of damage and injury can be significantly reduced.

Installation of Hurricane Screens

The installation of hurricane screens is a critical step in hurricane preparedness. Proper installation is essential to ensure the screens provide the maximum level of protection. The process typically involves measuring the windows and doors to be protected, choosing the appropriate type of screen, and securely attaching the screens to the building.

While it’s possible for homeowners to install hurricane screens themselves, it’s often recommended to hire a professional. Professionals have the necessary experience and tools to ensure the screens are installed correctly and securely. Additionally, professional installation often comes with a warranty, providing additional peace of mind.

Screen Maintenance

Maintaining hurricane screens is just as important as installing them. Regular maintenance can extend the life of the screens and ensure they continue to provide effective protection. This typically involves cleaning the screens regularly to remove dirt and debris, checking for any signs of damage or wear, and repairing or replacing the screens as needed.

While maintenance tasks can often be performed by the homeowner, some tasks may require professional assistance. For example, if a screen is damaged or worn, it may need to be replaced by a professional. Regular maintenance can help ensure your hurricane screens are always ready to protect your home when a hurricane strikes.

Regulations and Standards

In many hurricane-prone areas, there are regulations and standards in place regarding the use of hurricane screens. These regulations are designed to ensure that screens provide a sufficient level of protection and are installed correctly. Homeowners should be aware of these regulations and ensure their screens comply with them.

Standards for hurricane screens typically include requirements for the materials used, the installation process, and the performance of the screens. For example, screens may be required to withstand a certain wind speed or impact force. Compliance with these standards can be verified through testing and certification by recognized bodies.

Importance of Compliance

Compliance with regulations and standards is not just a legal requirement, it’s also a matter of safety. Screens that meet the required standards have been tested and proven to provide effective protection against windborne debris. By ensuring your screens comply with these standards, you can have confidence in their ability to protect your home during a hurricane.

Non-compliance can have serious consequences, including fines, legal action, and potentially voiding your home insurance. Additionally, non-compliant screens may not provide the level of protection you need, putting your home and your safety at risk.


Hurricane screens are an essential part of hurricane preparedness, providing a protective barrier against windborne debris. By understanding the different types of screens, the impact of windborne debris, and the importance of proper installation and maintenance, homeowners can make informed decisions to protect their homes and their families.

Compliance with regulations and standards is crucial to ensure the effectiveness of the screens and to avoid potential legal and financial consequences. With the right knowledge and preparation, homeowners in hurricane-prone areas can significantly reduce the risk of damage and injury during a hurricane.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top