Hurricanes are no joke. And if you live in an area prone to severe weather then protecting your home and family from high winds, flying debris and damage is a must. Living in Southwest Florida means dealing with hurricanes, tropical storms and other severe weather regularly. And this reality means you need some form of hurricane protection for your home. Hurricane shutters are a proven way to protect your home and family, but they do cost money. So its fair to ask “are hurricane shutters worth it?” That’s for you to decide, but the high frequency of storms in Florida and the potential of severe damage alone probably make hurricane shutters worth the cost.
Read on to learn more about what hurricane shutters are and if they are worth it in Florida.
What are hurricane shutters?
Hurricane shutters, also known as storm shutters, window shutters, etc. are impact resistant coverings that create a barrier on the outside of your home, condo or mobile home. They are a functional form of exterior shutters. They protect the weak and vulnerable parts of your Florida home against the potential dangers of hurricanes, tropical storms and other severe weather. These vulnerable areas include your windows, glass and sliding patio doors, patios, lanai, etc.
They are made from tough materials. So you have an option between metal, plastic and aluminum storm shutters.
Because they are impact resistant they can protect your windows, doors and screens from high wind gusts and flying debris that would otherwise cause damage.
There are many shutter types. These include:
- accordion hurricane shutters
- hurricane fabric panels
- roll down hurricane shutters
- hurricane panels
- colonial hurricane shutters
To learn more about them make sure to read our article on An Intro to Hurricane Shutters.
Do you need hurricane shutters?
If you live in an area, such as Southwest Florida that are prone to severe weather and damage then you should have some form of hurricane protection to protect your home and family.
This is due to the high probability of facing a storm. The reason homes need storm protection is to reduce the risk of high winds and flying debris. Any glass opening, such as windows and doors, on your home has the potential to break during a severe storm. When this happens it allows wind and rain to enter your home. Protection, such as hurricane shutters also can be used to enclose Lanais, so that these areas are also protected from wind and flying objects.
And it is critical that they are installed correctly. As a result you need a permit to install hurricane shutters in most counties in Florida.
You may also like our article on how to hurricane proof your home.
Are hurricane shutters worth it?
It is a solid question. Are hurricane shutters worth it? Protecting your home and family is a no-brainer. Storm shutter cost can range from $12 – $50 /SQFT. There are affordable shutters and premium options. So while they are critically important hurricane shutters are also an investment that must be considered. As with any investment you need to decide whether it’s worth it.
There are many reasons why hurricane shutters are worth the cost.
First, the frequency and severity of hurricanes and other storms in Southwest Florida alone make hurricane shutters worth the cost. Storm shutters will protect your home and family against the toughest storms. If the shutters you buy meet FL building codes then they can withstand up to category 5 winds. This fact means that they provide safety and peace of mind, even during the toughest of storms. This protection and peace of mind add to the value that hurricane shutters provide.
Second, many insurance companies require storm shutters here in the state of Florida. Some carriers even provide discounts if you have shutters installed, but this depends on your insurance carrier.
Third, hurricane protection, such as storm shutters can also increase the value of your home. They are something that most Southwest Florida homebuyers look for. To find out more about how hurricane shutters can increase your home’s value read our article on How Hurricane Shutters Increase Home Value in Florida.
Fourth, decorative hurricane shutters can actually enhance the look and appeal of your home. They add style and aesthetics to your home with certain styles, such as Bermuda (Bahama) shutters.
What are alternatives to storm shutters?
While there are alternatives to hurricane shutters these alternatives are not ideal. Plywood is one option that is mentioned a lot. But plywood is not easy to install on the exterior of your home, especially if its stucco. Plywood also may have inherent flaws that can ruin its integrity. Such flaws can lead to a failure during a storm. This is especially true with subpar quality plywood and wood that has been left in the elements to weather and degrade over time.
Also fastening the plywood t your home properly becomes a major issue. Using plywood is not like using engineered shutter systems that have proper hurricane shutter hardware. High winds can separate the plywood from the fasteners (or rip the fasteners out completely), leaving your windows and other glass exposed.
In turn, while plywood may be a good solution if you are left in an emergency with no other options, but it is not a good, long-term solution.
Another solid option is impact glass. But while it has its benefits its cost can be higher than many types of hurricane shutters. Check out our article that compares impact windows vs. hurricane shutters.
It is a reality that living in Southwest Florida means putting up with hurricanes, tropical storms and other severe weather on a regular basis. In order to protect your home and your family it is recommended that you have some form of hurricane protection on your home. It is true that hurricane shutters are an investment. But storm shutters offer many benefits, including strong, dependable storm protection and peace of mind. Plywood may be an option if in an emergency, but it is not a reliable long-term solution. In turn, it is safe to say that hurricane shutters are worth the cost.
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