Exploring different hurricane protection options for your South Florida home? If so you will definitely want to at least consider hurricane screens vs hurricane shutters. This article is perfect for you if you wan t to determine which option is better for you. And don’t worry. This is an unbiased comparison of these two hurricane protection options. Eurex Shutters installs, repairs and maintains both of these storm solutions throughout Southwest Florida.
Our goal for this comparison article is to provide you with the information you need to make a decision. We want you to be able to select the optimal style of storm protection for you and your family. That might mean you end up picking one of these. Or maybe you determine they aren’t right for you after all.
These are two popular options here in South Florida. So you have most likely seen one or both of them. We hope this provides information on both options so that you can make a better buying decision.
Here’s what is in this guide:
Note on Hurricane Shutters
This article shows a comparison of hurricane screens vs hurricane shutters. For simplicity sake we try our best to group “hurricane shutters” together as a whole. But please do know that there are several types of hurricane shutters. And these vary greatly from one shutter type to another. If you want to learn more about the specific types of shutters you can visit our Hurricane Shutters page for more information.
How do we do it? We will compare these two types of storm protection in each of the following areas:
- Aesthetics (attractiveness)
- Convenience (ease of use)
- Features & functionality
- Storage requirements
- Initial cost
- Cost of ownership
Before we dive into the comparison we first provide a quick overview of each storm protection option so you know what they are.
You may also be interested in: Impact Resistant Windows vs. Hurricane Shutters?
Hurricane screens, also known as kevlar screens, are a popular choice for South Florida homeowners. They are a flexible but extremely tough screen that is permanently installed on the exterior of your home. Hurricane screens can be used for wide openings (ie ours can be as wide as 30 feet).
They look similar to high-end, outdoor sun shade screens. And like sun screens they are great at providing shade from the Florida sun and a water barrier from the frequent, heavy rains. But, unlike sun screens they are able to withstand up to a category 5 hurricane. This is because they are made from some seriously strong materials (kevlar and aluminum).
Storm screens are best suited to protect wider, outdoor areas, such as patios, lanais, porches, etc. Although you can technically use them on windows and doors there are other, better options for those, such as shutters and impact glass.
Retractable storm screens open and close by rolling up and down, similar to roll down shutters. But their housings are thinner so they are less noticeable. And depending on your needs you can choose manual or automatic ones that open and close via electric motors.
If you want to learn more detail about them, you can read our in-depth guide: Pros & Cons of Hurricane Screens in Florida: 2022 Guide.
If you live in the area you have probably noticed that a lot of homes in the Fort Myers/Cape Coral FL and Southwest Florida area have hurricane shutters. They are a popular style of storm protection throughout South Florida.
As we mentioned above there are many types of Hurricane shutters.
Some storm shutters are permanently attached to your home, and others have to be installed and uninstalled for each storm.
Some of the many types of storm shutter types include the following:
- Types of permanent hurricane shutters include:
- Roll down
- Clamshell (non-hurricane rated)
- Temporary shutter styles include:
- Storm panels
- Hurricane fabric panels
All hurricane shutter styles can also be used to protect your windows. Not all are suitable to protect your doors, lanais and outdoor spaces.
How you operate them and how easy they are to use will vary from one shutter type to the other. On one end of the spectrum, roll down hurricane shutters are extremely easy to operate. This is especially true if they are automatic and operated by electric motors. On the other end of the spectrum storm panels are quite involved and take a good amount of time and heavy lifting to install.
Comparison: Hurricane Screens vs Hurricane Shutters
Below we compare hurricane screens vs hurricane shutters in each area. It is a little tough to group so many types of hurricane shutters into one bucket, but we try to simplify it as best as we can.
The table below provides a quick, visual overview. And we discuss each area in detail below. We also provide a conclusion for each area so you can see the key take-away.
So let’s get started.
Eurex Shutters‘ kevlar hurricane screens are rated to withstand up to a category 5 hurricane. In turn, they are excellent for storm protection. Hurricane screens are limited to their use for wider, outdoor spaces, such as lanais, patios, porches, etc. This means they are not truly suited for windows or doors. They also do not offer much in terms of security protection (at least not in the way that some shutters do). So while hurricane screens do offer great protection for the areas they are designed for, they are not able to protect your entire home. And they offer little if anything in terms of security protection.
All of our storm shutters are tested and rated to withstand up to a category 5 hurricane. In turn, they are great for storm protection. Unlike hurricane screens most shutter types can be used to protect your home’s windows and doors. Some types are suitable for wide (but not too wide openings). Also, at least one hurricane shutter option, roll down hurricane shutters, are great for security protection.
Both of these shutter options provide a high level of storm protection for their designed use. But hurricane shutters get the nod for two reasons. First, they can be used for more areas of your home. Second, some shutters, especially roll downs can be used for security protection as well.
Hurricane screens resemble high-end sun shades. In other words they look great. In addition you can get them in a variety of colors. Lastly, the housing boxes are very thin so their appearance is limited. Overall, hurricane screens look exceptionally clean and attractive in your backyard and outdoor applications.
One thing to note is that you will need some other form of storm protection to protect your windows and doors. But this will not take away from storm screens good looks.
The attractiveness of hurricane shutters varies widely from one type to another. For example, Bahama and Colonial hurricane shutters are made to boost style and curb appeal. On the other hand, storm panels are very utilitarian in their appearance. Whether shutters will look good on your home is dependent on which type you choose.
Some people like the way storm shutters look. Others do not.
But you certainly have plenty of options, both in style and colors to help them match your style and the style of your home.
Neither option is a bad one in terms of aesthetics. Hurricane screens look clean and high-end. And the appearance of shutters will vary greatly from one to the option. Some shutters look better than others. But as a whole we have to give the nod to the hurricane screens.
Convenience (ease of use)
You can choose between both manual and automatic (electric driven) storm screens. The automatic versions are easier to use, but as a whole hurricane screens are easy and quick to deploy.
The convenience (ease of use) of hurricane shutters also varies widely from one type of shutter to another. For example, automatic roll down shutters are extremely easy to use. And other permanent shutters, such as accordions, and Bahama shutters are also quick and straight-forward. But some other options like storm panels can be quite difficult and time-consuming.
Hurricane screens quick, easy and convenient to use. Hurricane shutters will vary in terms of convenience and ease of use. As a rule of thumb, permanent shutters are fairly easy to use. But as a whole, if you include storm panels and fabric storm panels the ease of use grade goes down a bit. So in terms of convenience we would give a slight nod to the screens. There is also the fact that screens are really only suitable for outdoor spaces. So you will need to deploy hurricane shutters as well if you have them. As a result, the two options are fairly similar, all things considered.
Features & functionality
Like with convenience roll down shutters offer a lot in terms of functionality. They function as shade screens as much as they do hurricane screens. When you are not protecting your home you can use them for shade, UV protection and privacy. At the same time they allow air flow and you can see through the screen. They also help block water intrusion, which is a recurring issue due to the frequency and severity of rain storms in our area. So they really do a lot to enhance the enjoyment of your outdoors spaces.
Most permanent hurricane shutters offer at least some functionality in addition to just storm protection. For example, roll down shutters can be used for security protection. In addition, they provide privacy and shade because you can adjust the slats and position. Accordion shutters are great for creating temporary additions to your home. Bahama shutters do an excellent job at providing shade and UV control. With all of that being said the level of functionality will vary from one shutter type to another. But overall, most shutters offer additional features and functions in addition to just protection.
Both screens and most permanent hurricane shutters provide functionality outside of just storm protection. But do note that for shutters the level of functionality will vary widely from one type to another. All in all, both options offer functionality above and beyond just protecting you from storms.
You may also like: What Are Functional Shutters: Buyer’s Guide
Hurricane screens are permanently attached on the exterior of your home. They are always installed so you don’t have to worry about storing them in your home, garage, etc.
Permanent shutters are also permanently attached to your home. So you don’t have to store them either. However, non-permanent types, such as storm panels and fabric hurricane panels are installed and uninstalled for each storm. This means you will have to store them when they are not in use.
Neither hurricane screens or permanently installed shutters requires storage. On the flip side non-permanent hurricane shutters, such as storm panels and fabric storm panels do require storage when not in use. So as a whole, hurricane screens get the edge in this area. But it is equal for hurricane screens vs permanent hurricane shutters.
If you compare screens to all the different shutters you will notice that hurricane screens are priced around the middle of the pack. Specifically they are similar in price to roll down shutters. So they cost more than some types of shutters. But they are also less expensive than others, such as Bahama Shutters.
But while they cost more than some shutters they offer a lot of value for that price tag. You will get great looking storm protection with added functionalities and high ease of use.
The cost of hurricane shutters varies widely from one type to another. This means there is most likely an option that fits into your budget. If you want to get a better sense of what hurricane shutters cost you can check out our guide on Hurricane Shutters Cost. We also include hurricane screens in that guide so you can compare the two.
Hurricane screens are comparable to middle to high range hurricane shutters. This means hurricane screens are more expensive than some shutters and less expensive than others. And vice versa. How screens stack up to shutters in your situation will depend on which shutter type you like. You can expect hurricane screens to be somewhere around the cost of roll down shutters, give or take.
Cost of ownership
You will want to ensure your storm screens operate correctly. This is especially true when you need them (when a storm is approaching). In turn, you will want to maintain them. Storm screens are similar to roll down hurricane screens or any other product that has moving parts, motors, electrical components, etc. These types of product do require maintenance from time to time, even if its just a “check-up”. If you know what you are doing you may be able to do this yourself. But if you hire a professional it does add a little bit to your expected cost of ownership. However, it will keep your screens operating correctly and reliably for years. In addition, it can be expected that parts will need to be replaced from time to time. Both increase your cost of ownership.
There are few kinds of hurricane shutters that require regular maintenance, such as roll down hurricane shutters and accordion shutters. Similar to hurricane screens they require some attention and maintenance over time to ensure they work correctly. Also, similar to screens you should expect to replace some parts from time to time. Both will increase your cost of ownership.
It is recommended that both hurricane screens and hurricane shutters with moving parts be maintained. It is also to be expected that your storm protection may require some parts or repairs over time. Hurricane screens will have a higher cost of ownership than some types of shutters and a similar cost of ownership to others, such as roll down hurricane shutters. So this really do depend on the type of shutter you are comparing the screens to.
Conclusion: Hurricane Screens vs Hurricane Shutters
Hurricane screens and hurricane shutters are two great options for storm protection in Florida. Both offer great storm protection. Screens and most types of shutters look great and also offer additional benefits and functionality above just protection. The price of hurricane screens vs hurricane shutters will vary greatly from one shutter type to another. But in the end, the best hurricane protection for you will depend on your needs, preferences and budget.
Still have questions or need help deciding? Talk to a Eurex Shutters expert about your options. This way you can find the product that’s best for you. Feel free to visit us at our showroom or contact us. A member of our team will reach out to you shortly after.