The old adage in hurricane preparation is “Hide from wind, run from water”. The folks around New Orleans can probably attest to that thinking. You can certainly protect your home from hurricane-force winds, but there’s nothing to do about rising water except LEAVE! One of the resources you should be familiar with is your local Emergency Management Office and the information they have gathered for your understanding and use. Here in Southwest Florida, one key number to know is the elevation of your home. That number will help you know whether you should be hiding from the wind or running from the water. If your home elevation is at ten feet and the weather forecasters are calling for a fifteen foot storm surge, you could easily have five feet of water headed your direction!
In Lee County, visit www.leeeoc.com and click “Know Your Zone” to find the details of your neighborhood. This website will give you information about evacuation routes, elevation charts and the likely risks for your zone, based on hurricane category and storm surge. Remember, Hide from Wind & Run from Water! If you need help blocking the wind, give us a call.
Over the past number of years, a variety of “Wind Abatement Screen” products have surfaced, offering homeowners various options, colors and attachment methods. While there is Florida Building Code approval for most of these products, the two concerns for most homeowners is in the areas of deflection and disintegration. As it applies to building codes, deflection is a products ability to repel a projectile without compromising the surface it is protecting. For example, a code-approved metal shutter has a higher ‘deflection value’ than a wind abatement screen, simply because the glass window behind it is less likely to be broken when a projectile hits the metal shutter.
The ‘wind abatement screens’ will withstand high winds, but offer little protection from projectiles, which will either tear the fabric of the screen, or will hit it with such force as to compromise the glass opening the screen was intended to protect. Popular on large-span openings, such as lanais, the screen product also suffers from ultraviolet damage when exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. Once sold under the premise of daily usage for sun blockage and for closing up a home during off-season, many homeowners have seen their screens literally deteriorate to the point of disintegration. Obviously, such damage would render that product totally useless at the time of a storm or hurricane.
If you have further questions or concerns about any ‘wind abatement screen’ product, please contact us.
In a short answer, NO. While plywood has been used in the past to ‘shutter’ houses, there are very real and specific issues with using plywood to protect your home, your family and your possessions.
Plywood CAN be considered a “Code-Approved” hurricane protection product, but only when installed with very specific hardware pieces and using very detailed installation methods. It’s safe to say that 99% of homeowners using plywood are not following the “Code-Approved” methods of installation.
In cases where there are no other options, plywood is regarded as a “better than nothing” solution for temporary hurricane protection, but chances are pretty good that the plywood sheets will get wet, will warp and won’t be adequate for usage a second time. Replacing your plywood with standard metal storm panels can be an affordable and much more reliable method for securing your home during a storm.