You can protect your family and home from hurricanes with hurricane rated shutters. Hurricane shutters are a popular choice for hurricane protection in areas affected by hurricanes, such as Southwest Florida (Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples). But not all shutters are created equal when it comes to hurricane protection. So if you want shutters to protect your home from hurricanes they need to be hurricane rated. The difference between decorative and hurricane rated shutters is significant. Keep reading as this is what we will cover in this comprehensive article.
Here is what we talk about in this article:
- What are Category 5 hurricane shutters?
- How you can tell if shutters are hurricane rated or not?
- Types of Hurricane Rated Shutters (and Screens)
What are Category 5 hurricane shutters?
Hurricane rated shutters, also called category 5 shutters or hurricane safe shutters are a specific class of shutters. If you are unfamiliar with hurricane shutters you can read our introductory guide What Are Hurricane Shutters to learn all about them.
shutters can be either temporary or permanent hurricane shutters.
This class of shutters must meet specific tests (such as large and small missile tests) and specifications to be considered hurricane-rated in Florida. They are capable of withstanding up to a category 5 hurricane (one with wind speeds of 157+ mph).
What does that mean? It means they provide hurricane protection. In other words, they can withstand the hurricane force winds and flying debris during such an intense storm.
Hurricane ratings vary by location
It is important to note that certain shutters may be hurricane rated in one location but may not be approved for use in other locations.
One example of this is HVHZ approval. If you live in a High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ), such as Miami-Dade, Broward Counties, Monroe County or Coastal Palm Beach County, the building code requires HVHZ (high velocity) approved shutters. These may also be referred to as Category 5 hurricane shutters, high velocity hurricane shutters, or category 5 hurricane shutters. They will be marked with “Meet Florida Building Code for HVHZ” or “Approved for use within HVHZ”, or similar.
Side note: This is also true if you chose to install impact windows instead. If you live in a HVHZ (or an area that requires HVHZ approval) you will need HVHZ impact windows.
You can visit their site to learn more about the Miami-Dade County Product Approval requirements and process.
You may also need shutters that meet your local city or county requirements. For example you may live in an area that requires shutters that are Miami-Dade County Product Approved even if you don’t live in a designated HVHZ like Miami-Dade. Your municipality may determine that HVHZ shutters are required. If so, you will need to meet these requirements.
In turn, it is important to understand what the requirements are for where you live. And then you will need to confirm that the shutters you are buying meet those requirements. If you are unsure it is recommended to work with a professional hurricane shutter company.
Requirements change over time
You should also note that requirements for hurricane shutters do change from time to time. For example, the effects of Hurricane Ian may very well change the requirements in certain areas, such as Southwest Florida. It may also cause revisions to the Florida Building Code. These changes are intended to better help protect homes against the damage caused by recent storms.
It is important to be aware of these changes as you are shopping. At the very least you should be aware that building requirements do change. So be sure to ask your hurricane shutter company to confirm the shutters meet your area’s current requirements.
How you can tell if shutters are hurricane rated or not?
This is an important question to ensure you have shutters that will protect your family and home. It is also important to ensure they meet the requirements of where you live, such as HVHZ, Miami-Dade Product Approved, etc.
Below are some recommendations. These can help you confirm that the shutters you are buying are in fact hurricane rated.
Supplier provided documentation
Your hurricane shutter company or contractor should be able to help you with this. They should also be able to provide you with the documentation you need to confirm they are hurricane rated.
You can start by first asking them if their shutters are hurricane rated and approved for your property’s location.
It is also not a bad idea to ask them for documentation confirming the shutters are in fact approved for your property’s location.
This may include documentation confirming the shutters:
- Have an appropriate Florida Product Approval Number (FL #) or Miami-Dade NOA number
- Are approved for use in HVHZ areas (will be designated as HVHZ approved) IF your home requires this
- Have passed the appropriate tests, such as the large missile impact test, etc.
See our product’s Product Approvals.
Search For Florida Product Approval Number
If you live in Florida, all hurricane rated shutters should have a Florida Product Approval Number (FL #). If you have this number you can search for the shutters’ documentation yourself.
You can search for products (shutters included) that have Florida Product Approval. This is a public search accessible on the Florida dbpr Product Approval search site.
Important note when searching for approval documentation:
Generally it is the shutter manufacturer that applies for and gets any product approval. Most hurricane shutter installers and companies source shutters from the large manufacturers. The shutter companies then customize them and install them on your home. So you will need to know which manufacturer your installation company sources their shutters from in order to verify they are approved.
Within the FL Product Approval details for each product it will state whether the product is approved for use within a HVHZ, and or approved for use outside of HVHZ. This is of course helpful if you need to know this information. For instance, it is important if you live in a HVHZ zone.
Search For Miami-Dade Approval NOA Number
You can also search for products that are Miami Dade approved as well.
Products that have a Miami-Dade NOA Number will come up on the Product Control Search.
As we stated above, the shutter manufacturer is most likely the one who will apply for and get the product approval. So you will need to search for the manufacturer of the shutters. You can ask the shutter company for this information.
Types of Hurricane Rated Shutters (and Screens)
You will be happy to know that there are a wide variety of hurricane rated shutters. They vary in terms of installation, aesthetics, ease of use, and functionality. Some are permanently affixed to the exterior of your home. Others are temporary and need to be installed and uninstalled for each storm.
There really is a hurricane shutter for everyone, regardless of your budget, preferences, and needs.
Some of the most popular hurricane shutters include:
- Roll down hurricane shutters – available in both HVHZ and non-HVHZ
- Accordion shutters
- Hurricane rated Bahama shutters – available in both HVHZ and non-HVHZ
- Colonial hurricane shutters –
- Hurricane screens
- Storm Panels (aluminum, and polycarbonate) – available in both HVHZ and non-HVHZ
- Fabric storm panels
Hurricane rated shutters can protect your family and home from even the worst hurricanes. But not all shutters are hurricane rated. And not all shutters are approved for use in all areas. So before you purchase hurricane shutters you need to ensure that they are in deed rated for hurricanes and approved for use in your property’s location.
WHO WE ARE
We have been installing hurricane and security protection products in SWFL since 1986. In fact, our company is SWFL’s oldest hurricane shutter company. f you need hurricane shutters for your home, including hurricane shutters in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples or anywhere in Southwest Florida then we would love to help.
Contact us with any questions and to get a free estimate.
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