How to Choose the Best Hurricane Shutters for Your Home

And what you need to know before installing them.

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Summer is the “carefree” season. It’s a time period of encouraged relaxation, when trips are booked and barbecues are planned and afternoons are long. But if you live in a place where summer is also a season of hurricanes, then the coming months can put a damper on that carefree spirit—especially if you don’t have hurricane shutters for your home.

Hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and ends November 30, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expecting about four to eight hurricanes in that time. And of those hurricanes, two to four are anticipated to reach Category 3 levels with at least 110 MPH winds—which are strong enough to pull a roof off a house. Therefore, it’s vital that a home have the proper protection in the form of hurricane shutters.

While it’s best to get hurricane shutters installed during the off-season, it’s not too late, if you have yet to prepare. We spoke to Lowe’s to find out what you need to know in order to select and install shutters, either on your own or with help from a professional, so that summer can still come with some peace of mind.

Types of Shutters

All shutters must pass rigorous lab tests before entering the market to ensure high levels of protection, according to Lowe’s. So focusing your entire shopping experience on “protection” isn’t necessary. Instead, Lowe’s experts say that you should also consider cost, installation, and overall appearance, too.

Panels: Aluminum or steel panels are the most economical, but they’re more labor intensive to install and remove. Panels and their fasteners must be stored in the off-season, and in the case of mounting panels directly to a home, their lead or brass anchors must be lubricated.

Fabric: This option is around the same price range as panels, and comes with the same amount of work—you have to put them up and take them down for the season, and they can be difficult to store properly. But, they can be ideal for garage doors and patios, if needed.

Accordions: These are often two to three times the cost of panels, but that cost offers convenience—you can close openings in seconds. Accordion hurricane shutters are permanently installed, so there are no storage issues, and they’re secured from the inside as well as the outside, too.

Bahama or Colonial Shutters: These shutters extend out from the top of a window, giving off an island or colonial look. They can be operated manually, by remote, or by solar panel, which is why they’re often four-to-six times the cost of basic panels. They’re often used on patio doors or storefronts for added security.



What to Know About Installation

Cost: Panels and fabric shutters are the most budget-friendly choices, followed by Bahama or colonial shutters. Rollup shutters are the most expensive, since they require an experienced professional to install them.

Measuring: Be sure to accurately measure window and door openings, and pay attention to anything that might block a seamless installation. Take note of your home’s building material too—whether it’s cement, plywood, or brick, for instance—so that you can determine the right fasteners for your shutters. Lastly, most municipalities require permits for installation, so remember to submit this information, too.

Installation: It’s possible for handy homeowners to install panels and fabric shutters, but it’s recommended that accordion shutters and Bahama or Colonial shutters are handled by professionals. And since rollup shutters are the most labor intensive of all, be sure to get an experienced installer for the job.

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