By Henry Hay for The Island Eye News
With recent hurricanes Matthew and Irma and another busy season predicted, more people are interested in protecting their homes and businesses.
After Katrina in 2005, there was a huge increase in demand for home hurricane protection and inquires into hurricane protection have continued over the last two years, as there is a higher awareness of the potential threat and damage to property.
The most important thing is to protect your home but not violate the integrity of your moisture barrier or flashing when installing the protection.
Damage done after several hurricanes, by fasteners that were improperly installed and caused water infiltration and rot, led to a change in the code requiring specifically rated fasteners be permanently installed on homes to accept hurricane panels when deployed.
The key to protecting your home is to get the best protection available that fits within your budget. Starting at the least expensive, 7/16” oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood with proper fasteners that have been installed correctly will meet the new code. OSB does not meet the impact codes but is allowed because it gives people a low cost solution offering a level of common sense protection. Moving up from OSB, steel or aluminum corrugated panels meet the impact code and are reasonably priced.
There is a concern about handling metal panels that have sharp edges especially when climbing a ladder and metal can become a danger especially as the wind picks up as you are installing. A more manageable option is a fabric panel. Fabric is safer to deploy and can be rolled up and stored more easily than metal panels.
Additionally fabric usually allows some light to enter the home. Accordion shutters and roll downs are the higher cost option, but are more easily deployed. They are always in place and just need to be closed. Disadvantages are usually the appearance of the box on the outside of the home that houses the shutter.
However, the boxes can sometimes be hidden in the soffit or some other manner to conceal them.
The last option and one that is a passive solution, (meaning that the protection is always there and you do not have to deploy it) is hurricane rated windows and doors. Your protection is always in place, additionally the laminated glass in the doors and windows offers a high level of security against break in and work well for noise reduction. A variation of the glass used to achieve impact ratings is often specified in apartments or commercial buildings that front highways or are close to airports.
We often find that customers looking to invest in protecting their home find the best solution is to replace their older inefficient windows and doors with new, energy efficient impact rated product. Again, impact rated products are always in place and ready to protect your home.
In the past several years we have developed and patented several common sense products that help solve the challenges of protecting your home on a budget and without causing moisture or water intrusion.