Hurricane shutters are critical when it comes to protecting your home and loved ones. They can help reduce both damage and danger during a hurricane. The cost of hurricane shutters may leave you wondering if you should build diy hurricane shutters. But while diy shutters may cost less they may not be the best choice. They have their pros and cons. At the very lease, there are some important things to consider before making your own storm shutters. We discuss diy shutters, their pros and cons and more below.
You may also like: Are Hurricane Shutters Worth It in SW Florida? Find Out Here.
DIY Hurricane Shutters vs Professionally Installed Hurricane Shutters
DIY stands for do-it-yourself. So these are shutters that you make and/or install yourself.
Different “do-it-yourself’ers” use different materials to build the actual shutters. For instance, they may cover their windows with plywood, corrugated metal panels, metal plates, etc.
Similarly, different “do-it-yourself’ers” create different styles of shutters. There really is no limitation to this. It could be as simple as boarding up your windows with DIY plywood “shutters”. Or it could be as complex as DIY accordion hurricane shutters or DIY roll down hurricane shutters.
Professionally Installed Hurricane Shutters
On the other hand, you have the option to get your hurricane shutters professionally installed from a hurricane shutter company. These companies are experts in hurricane protection products. Specifically, they specialize in designing, building, and installing custom hurricane shutter systems on your home.
Reputable shutter companies typically have distinct characteristics. Specifically, they:
- Design custom hurricane shutter systems specifically for your home’s windows, doors, patios, etc.
- Manufacture or customize hurricane shutters that have been tested to meet FL Building Codes and the relevant requirements for your location
- Install hurricane shutters in a way that meets all relevant building codes, such as local and FL Building Codes
- Are fully licensed in the areas they operate
- Meet the necessary insurance requirements in the areas they operate
- Have years of experience installing, repairing, and maintaining their hurricane shutter systems
Below we get into the pros and cons of both DIY shutters and using a professional hurricane shutter company.
Pros & Cons of DIY Hurricane Shutters
There are a few benefits of making your own storm shutters. These include lower initial cost and protecting your home on short notice.
1. Lower Cost
You can expect to pay less in terms of material costs if you are making them yourself. Although the cost of plywood has increased significantly it is less expensive than paying for an engineered hurricane shutter system. However, it should be noted that homemade shutters made from things like plywood should not be expected to have the life expectancy of such an engineered system either. So the lifetime cost of the system should be considered if you need to replace the plywood many times over.
2. Good in a pinch
If a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching you have limited time to prepare your home. If installed properly then diy shutters, such as plywood may be the best solution if you are in a pinch. In other words, they may be your best option if they are your only option. However, your ability to board your house up when a storm is approaching will require you to have the plywood or be able to find it at a store in time. Also, you will need to have the right hardware to attach it correctly to your home. We talk about this a bit more below in the cons section.
There are also some things that should be considered when it comes to diy storm shutters. These include your time and effort, effectiveness, and discounts on your homeowner’s insurance.
1. Cost of your time and effort
It is fair to say that the cost of plywood and other diy window coverings is cheaper than paying for an engineered hurricane shutter system. However, you should also consider your time, effort and hassles of creating your own diy shutter system. It will require considerable time to research, measure, design, cut/build, and install the fastener systems for them.
As they say, time is money. And your time should be considered.
2. Only as good as the materials you use
The durability of plywood is questionable when it is exposed to the elements. Plywood that is rotted, weathered or low quality has the potential to create issues when a storm gets fierce. Weak spots in plywood can cause all kinds of issues. For instance, poor condition or low quality materials can reduce the coverings’ impact resistant if it’s struck. These factors can also cause failure at the attachment points. This may cause the wood to rip away from the fasteners. The result may be exposed windows and loose plywood going airborne.
3. Not effective unless properly installed & fastened
Similarly, plywood and other diy storm shutters need to be properly installed for them to work at all. This means you have to have adequate fasteners that can hold them on your home, especially in a severe storm. Just nailing wood or metal to your home won’t do much. It may result in the coverings being ripped off and going airborne. And if this happens your diy shutters will cause more harm then good.
4. Permits and codes
In most jurisdictions you need to be a licensed contractor to pull permits. Also, in most parts of Florida installing hurricane shutters requires permits to ensure the shutters are installed properly and up to code. After the work is completed it will then need to be inspected and approved by an official inspector.
5. Little to no savings on home insurance premiums
You shouldn’t expect to see credits on your homeowner’s insurance if you are using DIY hurricane shutters, such as plywood sheets. These discounts are available for opening protection meeting the Florida Building Code.
Professional Hurricane Shutter Systems in Southwest Florida
If you need hurricane protection for your home, including hurricane shutters in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Naples anywhere else in Southwest Florida then we would love to help. Our company has been installing high-value, high-quality hurricane shutter systems in SWFL for 35+ years.
Contact us by calling (239) 369-8600 or filling out the quick form below with any questions and to get a free estimate.