Hurricanes are powerfully destructive. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas with wind speeds as high as 130 mph. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 had estimated wind speeds as high as 167 mph. And, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana with 120 mph winds. Hurricane shutters can protect one of the most vulnerable areas of your home during a storm: your windows. This is your guide on how to find and buy the best hurricane shutters.
What are the features of the best hurricane shutters?
If you're not sure where to start, you can narrow your search for the best hurricane shutters by considering these important features:
Let's look at each of these in more detail.
The best hurricane shutters uphold rigorous standards for safety and reliability. Their purpose is to protect your home during a storm—regulated standards ensure that they're up to the job.
Projectiles are always a concern during a hurricane, but the effects could be even more serious. If flying debris breaks a window, it can create a significant pressure difference in your home that could actually blow the roof itself off.
Make sure your home is protected by looking for hurricane shutters that comply with the highest standards. For the Gulf South, these include the:
- Florida Building Code Impact and Wind Ratings
- Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) standards
- American Society for Testing and Materials (or ASTM) specifications
First and foremost, check that any hurricane shutters you're considering comply with (or exceed) these standards.
Hurricane shutters come in a variety of styles, each with their own benefits. In general, these include:
- RollGard, also known as rolling shutters
- Board and batten
- Storm panels
- Plywood (only recommended for emergency, last-minute situations)
We discuss more about these different type of hurricane shutters in an earlier post, and we encourage you to review that thoroughly. In general, though, rolling shutters are typically the best hurricane shutters for most homes. Good Housekeeping agrees. These types of shutters are easy to use, provide great protection, and roll up seamlessly when not in use.
If you live in the hurricane-prone Gulf South, you'll need to carefully consider the material your shutters are made from.
While many think first of traditional wooden shutters, these can be a bad idea for our hot and humid climate. Wood can rot, warp, or crack easily in the humid air. They also require more constant maintenance and upkeep.
Instead, for those living in the Gulf South, the material of choice is high-quality aluminum. These are generally the best hurricane shutters because they:
- Provide unrivaled protection against storms, with hurricane-rated options
- Require little on-going maintenance or upkeep, lasting up to 20 or 30 years
- Are often more affordable than wooden shutters
- Don't rot, crack, or warp in our hot and humid climate
You can learn more about the different materials for exterior shutters in our earlier post.
Finally, you'll want the best hurricane shutters for your home and needs. After you've found options that provide the safety and reliability you need, what other factors are important to you? It's time to consider:
- Price: How much can you reasonably afford to pay for your shutters? Are there certain types of high-quality hurricane shutters that are more in line with your budget?
- Style: Especially if you live in a historic or unique neighborhood, ensure your shutters are in line with the style of your community.
- Functionality: Some types of shutters come with motors so they're easy to open and close with the push of a button. Others come with locking mechanisms for safety. Determine what best fits your lifestyle and needs.
What questions should I ask?
Once you have a few options in mind, ask the manufacturer these questions:
- What are the wind and impact ratings for this shutter? This should be one of your first questions. Ask what building standards the shutters comply with and get exact wind and impact ratings for the style and size you're looking at.
- Where is the designer and manufacturer located? Local teams can create shutters that are better suited to meet your region's climate and needs.
- What is the shutter material made of? As noted, for most homes in the Gulf South, a high-quality aluminum shutter is best.
- What type of finish do you use? For aluminum shutters, look for powder-coated varieties that provide gorgeous color while also protecting your shutters from damage.
- Who installs the shutters and provides servicing? A shutter is only as strong as the installation. Ensure a professional, highly trained, and local team is in charge of installing your shutters and responding to any service requests.
Find the best hurricane shutters in the Gulf South
At LAS Shutters + Windows, we've designed, manufactured, and installed hurricane shutters for our Gulf South customers for over 60 years. Simply put, we know shutters.
Our team is always here if you have any questions about hurricane shutters and how they can protect your home. We can also measure your windows, give advice on the best types and materials for you shutters, and provide a free estimate for your project.
Call LAS today to find the best hurricane shutters for your home. We're ready to help!