Depending on your location, you should not install accordion shutters unless you are a licensed contractor, or the shutters may not pass inspection. You may also not be able to get a homeowner’s insurance discount if you install them yourself.
People living in hurricane-prone areas and coastal counties should certainly make an investment in getting hurricane shutters. Hurricane shutters or impact windows provide excellent protection against hurricane force winds and more importantly, flying debris. One of the most devastating hurricanes that reached the US was hurricane Andrew in 1992. Much of the damage that occurred from hurricane Andrew in Miami, Fla; resulted from failure of windows and doors. These failures frequently lead to interior wall failure and sometimes roof failures. Much of the damage from hurricane Andrew would have been prevented by hurricane shutters or other well installed covers for the windows and doors.
The best storm protection is the one that offers effective protection against hurricane forces and meets your budget. Hurricane panels offer effective protection at the expense of convenience. This type of shutters needs to be installed when a storm approaches. They require more time and effort to install and take storage space. Hurricane panels are also the least expensive code approved protection available.
Accordions shutters, the most popular type of protection, offer effective protection and convenience. They are however more expensive than hurricane panels. Typically about 30% more expensive than hurricane panels.
High impact windows offer the greatest convenience on storm protection. This is the most expensive option on storm protection. Impact windows also offer other added values such as noise reduction and savings on air conditioning. Do keep in mind that impact windows, contrary to shutters, can crack when hit with hurricane debris in which case the impact glass would need to be replaced.
The shutters offer constant protection from wind damage. It will safeguard your home from airborne damages whether you are there or not.
The answer is “NO”. No film on windows will provide adequate protection from force windows or flying debris. Do not spend your money and efforts on a false sense of protection.
Any window or door that is not hurricane rated should be protected. Your storm protection is only as good as the weakest opening in your house. Covering your house with the proper hurricane shutters and leaving a door exposed can actually de detrimental to your hurricane protection strategy. All openings in the house, including doors and garage doors, need to be protected to ensure you have a sound storm protection plan in place. Most of the property damage caused in Miami by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was due to failure of front and garage doors that gave way to hurricane force winds and debris.
There are numerous companies out there each claiming to be the best.How can I select a reliable company?
The answer is simple, follow the principle that you will apply when selecting a company for any other service. Check the license of the company, ask and check references, how long has the company been in business, as it pertains to hurricane shutters, do they manufacture their own products, are they authorized distributors of the impact windows and doors they are proposing, what are they payment terms. Any reputable company should not need to ask for any money upfront to take on a job. This gives you, the customer, and leverage and takes away the risk of unethical contractors stealing your money. The most reliable and objective place to check on complaints on a company or contractor is the Florida Department of Business and professional Regulation at https://www.myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp?mode=0&SID=
Typically, hurricane shutter and impact window prices are lower during the months of December to March, the off season. Sometimes, however, because of variations on the price of aluminum, which is the prime material to build the shutters and window frames, prices could actually be higher than during the season months.
Pricing during the off season months also varies depending on how much hurricane activity or demand there was the immediately previous season.
The more activity there was during the season, the higher the chances that the prices will remain unchanged during the off season and might even go up.
The answer is “NO”. According to the Florida Statutes of the Condominium Act, (Year 1991) Chapter 718, it authorizes Board of Associations to adopt specifications regarding color, style as per applicable building code. It further states that the board shouldn’t refuse approval for replacement or installation of shutters or impact windows that are as per the specifications adopted by the board.
Evaluating hurricane shutters will ensure that you get the most secure accordion shutters and the best quality installation. Accordion shutters are permanently installed over a window or door opening, and you can slide them to close. The evaluation methods can vary by local building departments as they have different requirements for the shutters that are sold and installed in their jurisdiction.
- Look for the product approval label on the shutters. The product approval label is usually a silver-colored sticker that has a product approval number. If there is no product approval label, then the product has not been tested by the county and will not be legal to install. Also, make sure the product approval label bears the same name of the company that is installing your shutters.
- Test the shutter with a level. Put the level on top of the shutter and see if it’s straight.
- Close the shutter and evaluate if it closes correctly. Do you need to use too much force to close it? This could be a sign that the shutters were not installed correctly.
- Test the lock on the shutters. Use the key to close the shutters. Try to open the shutters,and see if the lock holds the shutters closed. If the shutter opens, it’s most likely improperly installed.
- Call the local building department and ask them how many screws are required per square feet of shutter. Count the screws and see if the installers missed any. Some companies purposely miss screws to save on labor and materials.