Shutter Deployment: All About Hurricane Shutters

Hurricane shutters are an essential protective measure for homes and buildings located in hurricane-prone areas. They are designed to prevent windows from breaking due to high winds and flying debris, which can cause significant damage and pose a safety risk. This glossary article provides an in-depth look at the different types of hurricane shutters, their installation process, maintenance, and more.

Understanding the various aspects of hurricane shutters is crucial for homeowners, contractors, and anyone involved in building or maintaining structures in areas susceptible to hurricanes. This knowledge can help in making informed decisions about the best type of hurricane shutters to install, how to properly maintain them, and what to do in the event of a hurricane warning.

Types of Hurricane Shutters

There are several types of hurricane shutters available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The most common types include accordion shutters, roll-down shutters, storm panels, Bahama shutters, and colonial shutters. The choice of shutter type depends on several factors, including the building’s architectural style, budget, and personal preference.

Accordion shutters are hinged panels that fold out from the sides of windows and doors. They are cost-effective and easy to deploy, but they may not be aesthetically pleasing to some. Roll-down shutters, on the other hand, are more expensive but offer superior protection and can be easily deployed with a push of a button. Storm panels are removable panels that are installed when a storm is imminent. They are the most affordable option but require storage space when not in use. Bahama and colonial shutters are permanently installed and can enhance the aesthetic appeal of a building, but they may not offer the same level of protection as other types.

Accordion Shutters

Accordion shutters are named for their folding design, similar to an accordion. They are typically made of aluminum or polycarbonate and are attached to a track that is installed around the window or door. When not in use, the shutters are folded to the side. In the event of a storm, they are pulled across the opening and locked into place. This design allows for quick and easy deployment, making it a popular choice for many homeowners.

One of the main advantages of accordion shutters is their cost-effectiveness. They are less expensive than some other types of shutters, yet they offer a high level of protection. However, some people may find the folded shutters to be unsightly when not in use. Additionally, they require regular maintenance to ensure the tracks are clean and the shutters are functioning properly.

Roll-Down Shutters

Roll-down shutters, also known as rolling shutters or roll-up shutters, are among the most robust and convenient types of hurricane shutters. They are made of high-quality aluminum or steel and are installed in a box above the window or door. When a storm is approaching, the shutters are lowered either manually or with a motorized system. Once fully lowered, they lock into place, providing a solid barrier against wind and debris.

Roll-down shutters offer several advantages. They provide excellent protection, can be deployed quickly and easily, and when not in use, they are stored out of sight in the box above the opening. However, they are also one of the most expensive types of hurricane shutters. Additionally, the motorized systems can fail in the event of a power outage, so it’s important to have a manual override option.

Installation of Hurricane Shutters

The installation process for hurricane shutters varies depending on the type of shutter and the specific requirements of the building. In general, the process involves measuring the windows and doors, preparing the openings, installing the shutter tracks or boxes, and attaching the shutters. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely to ensure the shutters are installed correctly and will provide the necessary protection.

While some types of shutters, such as storm panels, can be installed by a handy homeowner, others, like roll-down shutters, require professional installation. This is due to the complexity of the installation process and the need for specialized tools and equipment. Regardless of the type of shutter, it’s crucial to ensure they are installed properly. Improper installation can result in the shutters failing to provide the necessary protection during a storm.

Measuring and Preparing the Openings

The first step in installing hurricane shutters is to measure the windows and doors that will be protected. This involves measuring the height and width of each opening and noting any special features, such as arches or angles. These measurements will be used to order the shutters and to prepare the openings for installation.

Preparing the openings typically involves cleaning the area around the window or door and removing any obstacles that could interfere with the installation. This may include trimming vegetation, removing decorative features, or relocating outdoor furniture. In some cases, it may also involve making modifications to the building, such as installing additional framing to support the shutters.

Installing the Tracks or Boxes

The next step in the installation process is to install the tracks or boxes that will hold the shutters. For accordion shutters, this involves attaching the tracks to the sides of the window or door. For roll-down shutters, a box is installed above the opening. This box houses the rolled-up shutter when it’s not in use.

The tracks or boxes must be securely attached to the building to ensure they can withstand the force of a hurricane. This typically involves drilling holes into the building and using screws or bolts to attach the tracks or boxes. It’s important to seal any holes to prevent water intrusion. Once the tracks or boxes are installed, the shutters can be attached.

Maintenance of Hurricane Shutters

Maintaining hurricane shutters is crucial to ensure they function properly when needed. This involves regular cleaning, inspecting for damage, and lubricating moving parts. The frequency and type of maintenance required will depend on the type of shutters and the specific conditions in your area.

For example, accordion shutters should be cleaned and lubricated regularly to ensure the tracks are free of debris and the shutters can move easily. Roll-down shutters should be tested regularly to ensure the motorized system is functioning properly. All types of shutters should be inspected for signs of damage, such as cracks, rust, or loose parts, and any damaged parts should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

Cleaning and Lubricating

Cleaning and lubricating hurricane shutters is a relatively simple process that can be done by most homeowners. It involves removing any dirt or debris from the shutters and tracks, and applying a lubricant to any moving parts. This helps to ensure the shutters can be deployed easily and quickly in the event of a storm.

When cleaning the shutters, it’s important to use a gentle cleaning solution and a soft cloth to avoid scratching or damaging the shutters. The tracks should be cleaned with a brush or vacuum to remove any debris. After cleaning, a silicone-based lubricant should be applied to the tracks and any other moving parts. This helps to reduce friction and ensure smooth operation.

Inspecting and Repairing

Regular inspection of hurricane shutters is crucial to identify any signs of damage or wear. This should include checking for cracks in the shutters, rust on the tracks or hardware, and loose or missing parts. Any issues should be addressed as soon as possible to ensure the shutters can provide the necessary protection during a storm.

If damage is found, it may be possible to repair the shutters rather than replacing them. For example, small cracks can often be repaired with a special adhesive, and rust can be removed and the area repainted. However, if the damage is extensive or the shutters are not functioning properly, it may be necessary to replace them.

Deploying Hurricane Shutters

Deploying hurricane shutters is a critical step in preparing for a storm. The timing and method of deployment will depend on the type of shutters and the specific circumstances. In general, shutters should be deployed as soon as a hurricane warning is issued. This allows enough time to ensure all shutters are properly secured and any issues can be addressed before the storm arrives.

For accordion and roll-down shutters, deployment involves simply pulling the shutters across the opening or lowering them with the motorized system. For storm panels, the panels must be installed in the tracks around the windows and doors. This can be a time-consuming process, especially for larger buildings, so it’s important to start as soon as possible.

Timing of Deployment

The timing of shutter deployment is crucial to ensure the building is protected before the storm arrives. As soon as a hurricane warning is issued, preparations should begin. This includes gathering any necessary tools, checking the condition of the shutters, and beginning the deployment process.

It’s important to allow enough time to complete the deployment process without rushing. Rushing can lead to mistakes, such as improperly secured shutters or missed openings. It’s also important to consider the physical effort required to deploy the shutters, especially for storm panels, and to take breaks as needed to avoid fatigue.

Securing the Shutters

Once the shutters are in place, they must be secured to ensure they stay in place during the storm. This typically involves locking the shutters or securing them with bolts or screws. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely to ensure the shutters are secured properly.

After the shutters are secured, they should be checked to ensure they are tight and there are no gaps. Any gaps could allow wind to get under the shutters, potentially causing them to fail. If any issues are found, they should be addressed immediately.

Post-Storm Procedures

After the storm has passed, there are several steps that should be taken to ensure the shutters are in good condition and ready for the next storm. This includes inspecting the shutters for damage, cleaning them, and storing them properly if they are removable. It’s also important to check the building for any damage that may have occurred during the storm.

While it’s natural to want to remove the shutters as soon as possible after the storm, it’s important to wait until it’s safe to do so. There may be lingering high winds or other hazards, such as downed power lines, that could pose a risk. Once it’s safe, the shutters can be removed or opened to allow light and fresh air into the building.

Inspecting and Cleaning

After the storm, the shutters should be inspected for any signs of damage. This includes checking for cracks, dents, or other signs of impact from debris. Any damage should be noted and repaired as soon as possible to ensure the shutters are ready for the next storm.

The shutters should also be cleaned after the storm to remove any dirt or debris. This is especially important for shutters that are stored when not in use, as dirt and debris can cause damage over time. The shutters should be cleaned with a gentle cleaning solution and a soft cloth, and then dried thoroughly before storage.

Storing Shutters

If the shutters are removable, such as storm panels, they should be stored properly to ensure they remain in good condition. This involves cleaning the shutters, drying them thoroughly, and storing them in a dry, protected location. The shutters should be stored flat to prevent warping, and they should not be stacked too high to avoid damage.

For shutters that remain in place, such as accordion or roll-down shutters, they should be opened to allow light and fresh air into the building. They should also be inspected and cleaned regularly to ensure they are ready for the next storm.


In conclusion, hurricane shutters play a vital role in protecting homes and buildings in hurricane-prone areas. They come in various types, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Proper installation, maintenance, and deployment of these shutters are crucial to ensure they provide the necessary protection during a storm.

While hurricane shutters can provide significant protection, it’s important to remember that they are just one part of a comprehensive hurricane preparedness plan. Other measures, such as having a disaster supply kit and an evacuation plan, are also essential. By being prepared and taking the necessary precautions, you can help to protect your home and family from the devastating effects of a hurricane.

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top