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Best Do It Yourself Plywood Hurricane Shutters
Home Made Hurricane Shutters

Plywood hurricane shutters are strong, affordable, easy to make and install if you are a do-it-yourselfer who can saw wood. Included are simple instructions for making and installing the shutters for your home.

 

Do It Yourself Plywood Hurricane Shutters
Home Made Plywood Hurricane Shutters
 

 

Plywood Hurricane Shutters

These are pictures of the home made plywood hurricane shutters that protect my Florida house from hurricane winds. The shutters were made from 3/4 inch marine grade plywood and were held in place by metal straps but they were not "Hurricane wind approved" by the State of Florida and therefore did not entitle me to a discount for my homeowners insurance.

 

Do-It-Yourself Hurricane Shutters for Florida House
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What Makes These The Best Home Made Plywood Hurricane Shutters?

  1. Surface Preparation and Thickness of the Wood - These shutters are made from 3/4" marine plywood that is extremely strong and durable, especially when sanded, primed and painted with 2-3 coats of marine grade paint. They will last for many years.

  2. The Inset Method of Installation - Installing the shutters inside the frame of the window does not permit the wind to get beneath the plywood to rip it off in high winds. Blowing wind forces the plywood tighter against the house, not away from it.

  3. The Built-In View Port - Small Plexiglas viewports built into the shutters allow light to enter the house (helps in preventing depression during the hurricane) and allows you to see outside during the storm.

  

Plywood Hurricane Shutters Advantages

  1. They are strong.

  2. They are cheap.

  3. Plywood is commonly available.

  

Plywood Hurricane Shutters Disadvantages

  1. They are heavy.

  2. They are not as strong as steel or aluminum panels.

  3. Large plywood shutters are difficult to install alone.

  4. They may warp with time.

  

Plywood Hurricane Shutter Types

  1. Shutters that are anchored outside of the window opening - These are simply panels of plywood that are screwed/bolted into exterior wall of the house and cover the entire window opening. They lay flat against the walls surface. One drawback on using these is that the wind may find it's way beneath one of the edges of the plywood and apply forces that may dislodge it and send it flying.

  2. Shutters that are set inside the window frame - Plywood is cut to fit inside the window frame (on the outside of the house) and held in place with screws and metal straps. These are the plywood shutters shown in the above pictures. Wind cannot dislodge these shutters from the house because there is no edge for the wind to "grab". The wind merely pushes the plywood against the house making a tighter seal.

  

How To Make Plywood Hurricane Shutters

Materials;3/4" marine grade exterior plywood, white primer, white exterior paint, metal pipe strap (galvanized), stainless steel or galvanized screws, appropriate wall anchors for your house.

  1. Measure the inside of the window frame and cut the plywood to fit. You may want to cut an additional 1/2 inch off each edge of the plywood to make installation easier and to compensate for warping of the plywood as each with age.

  2. Cut metal pipe strap into 6 inch lengths and attach to the edge of the plywood as shown with stainless steel or galvanized screws. Use a minimum of two straps per edge. More for larger windows.

  3. Place plywood into window frame and push the pipe strap against the adjacent wall to determine where to drill the holes for the wall anchors.

  4. Remove the plywood, drill holes and insert wall anchors.

  5. Perform a fit check with the plywood shutter and install in the window opening. Screw in securely. Cut excess pipe strap off if required.

  6. Remove plywood hurricane shutters and store. Note: to ensure that my home made plywood hurricane shutters lasted many years I painted them with a coating of white primer, followed with two coats of white exterior paint. I chose white because if would be more reflective and not be as dark inside the house.

Plywood Hurricane/Storm Shutter Pictures
Front View of House showing how the home made wood shutters cover two front windows. Front View of House showing home made plywood panels for the front windows. Front View of House showing the home made shutters are installed. Front View of House showing how the home made shutters are installed for a large window. Front View of House showing how the home made shutters are installed for a large window.
Front View of House showing how the shutters are installed for a large window. Front View of House showing the metal straps securing the panel to the window frame. View of some of the home made Storm panels in storage. View of some of the Storm panels in storage. Front View of House showing how the home made shutters cover one small window.
Back View of House showing shutters with a view port installed to protect window. Side View of House showing shutter with view port installed to protect window.

 

Plywood Hurricane Shutters View Port

As shown in the photos I added a Plexiglas viewport on some of the windows. This is one of the best features of the shutter as it lets light inside of the house as well as allowing you to look outside and see what is happening during the hurricane. The viewport is small and does not weaken the shutter very much at all. I highly recommend adding a viewport. The light and the ability to look outside help to alleviate depression or bad moods during a hurricane.

 

Plywood Hurricane Shutters Don't Provide Insurance Discounts

Making you own hurricane shutters from plywood may provide protection the protection you need for your house during a storm or hurricane, however they are not constructed per state code and will not enable you to apply for a homeowners insurance discount (at least in the State of Florida).

  

How to Protect Your Home with Plywood Homemade Hurricane Shutters

Protecting your home with homemade plywood shutters is fairly easy if you are somewhat handy with a saw and a drill. They do take a little time and effort to fabricate but are well worth the effort. You will greatly appreciate them when your sitting in your house and the hurricane winds are blowing outside. No more shaking and rattling windows.

  

Plywood Hurricane Shutters For Your Home

If you choose to make your own homemade hurricane shutters that will protect your house and windows through the storm:

  1. When buying your plywood for your hurricane shutters, get at least ¾ inch exterior plywood that is strong and has no cracks, cuts or imperfections in it.

  2. For the installation hardware, make sure that you purchase 3 inch, or larger, heavy duty bolts to secure the plywood to the outside of the windows.

  3. Cut the plywood to the correct size to fit the window. Make sure the wood fits snuggly in the window frame. Mark each storm panel with the window me (example "bedroom"), which side faces out and which side is goes up.

  4. When drilling the anchor holes into the house hold the completed panel into the window and mark the drill locations.

  5. Finish each hurricane panel with a coating or two of primer and exterior grade paint. That will prevent them from cracking and warping during storage so that they may be used year after year.

  6. 5/8 inch exterior grade plywood is the minimum thickness of plywood that should be used.

  

Hurricane Emergency Preparations

  1. Installing hurricane shutters on all of the openings of your home (doors, windows, vents, sky lights, etc.) by taking precautionary measures before the storm you help protect yourself and your belongings. Many hurricane window shutters and hurricane contractors are available that provide this service. Homemade shutters can help protect you during a storm. Install your homemade shutters whenever a hurricane or storm warning goes up. Give yourself plenty of time before the storm.

  2. Hurricane Preparations

  3. Prepare Your Car

  4. Get A Backpack Ready In Case You Have To Leave

  5. Stock Your First Aid Kits

  6. Prepare A Survival Kit

  7. Prepare To Evacuate

 

Authored By Mike Coviello (Tanner)

 

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