The Essential Guide to Plywood Hurricane Shutters in Jacksonville

For residents of Jacksonville, the hurricane season is a period marked by vigilance and preparation. The Atlantic storms, with their fierce winds and relentless rain, pose a significant threat to homes and properties. In this context, plywood hurricane shutters emerge as a practical and cost-effective solution for safeguarding your home. However, not all plywood shutters are created equal, and understanding the nuances of their design and installation is crucial for maximum protection.

Understanding Plywood Hurricane Shutters

Plywood hurricane shutters are a popular choice among homeowners in Jacksonville due to their affordability and effectiveness. These shutters are designed to cover windows and doors, shielding them from the destructive forces of hurricane winds and flying debris. But, the effectiveness of plywood shutters hinges on several factors, including the quality of the material and the precision of the installation.

Benefits of Plywood Shutters

Plywood shutters offer a range of benefits, making them a go-to option for hurricane protection. Firstly, they are significantly more affordable than their metal or polycarbonate counterparts. Additionally, for those who are handy, plywood shutters can be a DIY project, further reducing costs. Moreover, when installed correctly, they provide a formidable barrier against the elements.

Another advantage of plywood shutters is their simplicity. In an emergency, time is of the essence, and plywood shutters can be quickly deployed, offering immediate protection. This ease of use, combined with their cost-effectiveness, makes plywood shutters an attractive option for many homeowners.

Choosing the Right Plywood

Not all plywood is suitable for hurricane shutters. The type of plywood, its thickness, and its overall quality play pivotal roles in its effectiveness as a hurricane shutter. For instance, marine-grade plywood, known for its durability and resistance to moisture, is often recommended for hurricane shutters. Additionally, the plywood should be at least 5/8 inch thick to ensure it can withstand the impact of flying debris and high winds.

It’s also important to consider the source of the plywood. Plywood that has been treated to resist water and rot offers an added layer of protection, ensuring that your shutters remain effective throughout the storm and beyond.

Installation Matters

The best plywood in the world won’t protect your home if it’s not installed correctly. The method of installation can significantly impact the effectiveness of plywood hurricane shutters.

Securing Plywood Shutters

Properly securing plywood shutters to your home is crucial. This involves more than just nailing the plywood over windows and doors. Homeowners should use sturdy bolts and anchors to attach the shutters, ensuring they stay in place even under the most severe conditions. The use of washers can also help distribute the pressure evenly, reducing the risk of the plywood cracking or breaking.

Another consideration is the fit of the shutters. There should be a snug fit around the window or door frame to prevent wind from getting behind the plywood, which could lead to pressure buildup and potential damage.

Professional Installation vs. DIY

While many homeowners opt for DIY installation of plywood shutters, there are benefits to professional installation. Professionals can ensure that the shutters are installed securely and correctly, providing maximum protection. They can also advise on the best type of plywood and fasteners for your specific needs.

However, for those who are experienced with tools and home improvement projects, DIY installation can be a cost-effective and rewarding option. It’s essential, though, to thoroughly research and follow best practices for installation to ensure the shutters are as effective as possible.

Regulations and Building Codes

In Jacksonville, as in many areas prone to hurricanes, there are specific regulations and building codes related to hurricane protection. Understanding these regulations is crucial for homeowners considering plywood hurricane shutters.

Local Building Codes

Local building codes often dictate the specifications for hurricane shutters, including the materials, thickness, and installation methods. These codes are designed to ensure that all hurricane protection measures meet a minimum standard of effectiveness. Homeowners should consult with local authorities or a professional installer to ensure their plywood shutters comply with these regulations.

Failure to adhere to local building codes can not only reduce the effectiveness of your hurricane shutters but can also result in fines or other penalties. It’s therefore essential to be informed and compliant.

Insurance Implications

The installation of hurricane shutters, including those made from plywood, can have implications for your home insurance. Many insurance companies offer discounts for homes with approved hurricane protection measures in place. However, to qualify for these discounts, the shutters often need to meet specific standards and be installed correctly.

Before installing plywood hurricane shutters, homeowners should consult with their insurance provider to understand the requirements and potential benefits. This can ensure that you not only protect your home but also take advantage of any available insurance discounts.

Enhancing Plywood Shutter Durability

While plywood shutters are a cost-effective option for hurricane protection, there are ways to enhance their durability further. One method is to apply a weather-resistant sealant to the plywood. This sealant can help prevent moisture infiltration, which can weaken the plywood over time.

Additionally, reinforcing the edges of the plywood with metal framing can increase its resistance to impact and structural integrity. This added reinforcement can be particularly beneficial in areas prone to high winds and flying debris.

Maintaining Plywood Shutters

Regular maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of plywood hurricane shutters. Inspect the shutters before each hurricane season, checking for any signs of damage or deterioration. Replace any damaged plywood and ensure that the fasteners are secure.

It’s also advisable to store plywood shutters in a dry, well-ventilated area when not in use. Proper storage can prevent warping or mold growth, preserving the integrity of the shutters for future use.

Alternative Hurricane Shutter Options

While plywood shutters are a popular choice, there are alternative options available for homeowners seeking additional protection. Metal storm panels, for example, offer increased durability and impact resistance compared to plywood. These panels are typically corrugated and can be installed over windows and doors when a storm approaches.

Another alternative is fabric hurricane screens, which are lightweight and easy to deploy. These screens are made from a durable fabric that can withstand high winds and flying debris. Fabric screens offer the added benefit of allowing light into the home while providing protection.

Impact-Resistant Windows

For a more permanent solution to hurricane protection, impact-resistant windows are an excellent choice. These windows are constructed with laminated glass that is designed to withstand high-velocity impacts without shattering. Impact-resistant windows not only provide protection during hurricanes but also offer benefits such as noise reduction and improved energy efficiency.

While impact-resistant windows may require a higher initial investment than plywood shutters, they can add value to your home and provide year-round protection against various threats.


Plywood hurricane shutters offer a cost-effective and efficient way to protect your home in Jacksonville from the ravages of hurricane season. However, the effectiveness of these shutters depends on choosing the right plywood, ensuring proper installation, and complying with local regulations and building codes. By understanding these factors and taking the necessary steps, homeowners can provide their homes with robust protection against hurricanes, giving them peace of mind during the storm season.

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top