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How to Choose Hurricane Shutters for Windows

Storm Preppers - How to Choose Hurricane Shutters for Windows

Choosing the right hurricane shutters for windows is a process that should not be taken for granted. People who live in the Atlantic hurricane belt, have to move quickly to ensure that their windows are ready for the hurricane season.

If you are having issues with selecting shutters, there are a few things that you will need to know. You have to decide which type of hurricane shutter you are interested in, assess the alternatives on the market, and calculate what your budget is able to purchase. Keep reading for a full buying guide dedicated to hurricane shutters.

Types of Hurricane Shutters for Windows

In the weeks and months leading up to the hurricane season, homeowners usually get busy with reinforcing their  doors and windows to maximize the safety of their home.

Doors and windows are vulnerable to high precipitation, flying debris, and adverse wind speeds. One of the most effective ways to protect your doors and windows is by reinforcing them with hurricane shutters. There are many different types of hurricane shutters that you can use. Examples include:

  • Roll Down Shutters (Automatic & Manual)
  • Bahama Shutters
  • Storm Panel Hurricane Shutters
  • Colonial Shutters

Roll Down Shutters (Automatic & Manual)

Roll down shutters are a useful option for protecting windows during storms. These types of window shutters are fabricated with polycarbonate or metals and cover the entire window when extended. The best roll down hurricane shutters provide strength and insulation against rain, sun, storms and extreme weather. Roll down shutters can either be automatic with an electric motor, or manual with a crank arm. Before you purchase a roll down shutter, check to see if the product meets wind codes and building codes in your area.

Cost Factor: The price of automatic roll down shutters ranges from $20 – $30 per square foot.

Bahama Shutters

Bahama shutters are one-piece louvered shutters that are installed over windows. The shutter functions like an awning for windows and is attached to the top of the window frame with a hinge. The shutter has horizontal slats that help keep the rain out, but will still let sunlight and wind into the home. Bahama shutters are made of wood, aluminum, vinyl or plastic and can be opened or closed as needed. Other bonuses of the Bahama shutter are that it can help to keep homeowners secure during a tropical storm and provide privacy.

Cost Factor: The price of Bahama shutters ranges from $15 – $24 per square foot.

Storm Panel Hurricane Shutters

The storm panel hurricane shutter is another option that homeowners should consider when assessing window protection shutters. These are mainly made of aluminum and pure steel and are installed with bolts and tracks. Some of the reasons why hurricane shutters are poplar are their price, durability, and the ability to remove and store them until needed. There are three types of storm panel hurricane shutters – bolts and tracks, permanent bolts and C-tracks.

Cost Factor: Roughly costs around $7 to $15 a panel.

Colonial Shutters

Another type of shutter that can be used to protect windows is the colonial shutter. Colonial shutters are popular because they also double as decorate features that add to the curb appeal of a home. They are two-piece louvered shutters that you need to attach to the wall, on either side of your window. When a tropical storm is approaching, you can close the shutters and they will act as a shield against the elements. Colonial shutters are similar to Bahama shutters and can be crafted of wood, metals, and fiberglass.

Cost Factor: Colonial shutters are pricier than other window shutters. The price of colonial shutters ranges from $200 – $500 for each window.

Hurricane Shutter Alternatives

In addition to the four types of hurricane window shutters above, there are some alternatives that can also be used to safeguard the home during a hurricane. They are impact windows and plywood shutters.

Impact Windows

Impact windows are very effective against extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes and tropical storms. The main benefit of reinforcing your windows with impact windows is that they do not shatter when they receive damage. Impact windows are made of laminated glass which is designed to withstand high velocity impacts. When impact windows are hit by projectiles and other forms of flying debris, the glass shatters, but it does not break up into dangerous shards. These are an excellent alternative to hurricane shutters because they also act as a sound barrier, and can efficiently withstand winds from a Category 5 hurricane.

Cost Factor: Impact windows are very costly with an average cost of $300 to $400 for a single window.

Plywood Shutters

When looking for an easy DIY fix, plywood shutters are another alternative that homeowners and business owners can consider. Plywood is an excellent reinforcement which will safeguard doors and windows from severe damage. Plywood shutters are very cheap and are especially useful for businesses with large show windows. To install, the plywood is cut to the exact shape and size of the windows and doors, and are attached to the outside. If there is enough time, plywood shutters can be made with hinges and locks.

Cost Factor: Although costs are based on location and supply, plywood costs an average of $2 to $6 per square foot.

How to Choose the Right Window Shutters

When you are looking around for window shutters, you will find many styles. However, there are certain factors to consider before a final purchase is made. When selecting the right shutters, shoppers should consider styles, sizes, designs, ease of installation, ease of dismantling and of course the budget and cost. Although there are many options on the market, some shutters will be more effective than others.


Shutters come in various styles, so you have to be sure about which style you are interested in and if it fits the style and curb appeal of your home. Be mindful that some shutters, especially permanent ones, may alter the home’s architectural style. Some styles that can be considered are board and batten, louvered, solid or raised panels and Bahama.


Size is another important criterion that must be considered when shopping for hurricane shutters. The shutters should fit the window perfectly and thus must be the exact size of the window. A shutter that is the right fit will keep out rain and will not be torn off during a storm. Remember that shutters should not block the image of the window and rails should be lined up properly.


Deciding on the material of window shutters is also important. Hurricane shutters for windows are made of steel, polycarbonates, and wood. Some prefer wood over many of the other materials, because it is more aesthetically pleasing and can be painted or stained for an authentic touch. If you would like to install wooden hurricane shutters, further thought can be given to the types of wood. Wooden shutters are made of African mahogany, cypress, and cedar.

Remember, if you are into preserving curb appeal, choose a window shutter that will not only protect your windows but also complement your home’s architectural design.

How Much Do Hurricane Shutters Cost

The price of the different types of hurricane shutters on the market depends on the type of material, ease of installation and sometimes branding. The prices of the shutters above varies significantly. Before you purchase, thoroughly research the types of shutters, bearing in mind how many you will need to fully secure your home’s windows.

How Do Storm Shutters Work

The underlying principle behind the design of a functional window shutter is to protect your doors and windows from high-speed winds, rain, flying debris, and other projectiles that can potentially wreck your doors and windows. These shutters act as protective barriers that take on the forces of nature by keeping your windows and doors safe and preventing damage.

How to Install Hurricane Shutters on Windows

Installation of hurricane shutters depends on the type of shutter you are using. Some hurricane window shutters are pretty easy to install, whilst others may require the services of a professional. There are do-it-yourself (DIY) shutters that you can install all by yourself, while some demand two pairs of hands and power tools to install. For example, track shutters can be installed pretty easily, while the shutters with bolts would need additional pairs of hands. This is because shutters that require bolts are usually direct-mount systems.

The best piece of advice when installing shutters is to follow the instructions in the installation manual. Well-written instructions will outline how to install the shutter, the tools that should be used and the fasteners that are required. Always remember to note the dimensions of each window, and size the shutters accordingly. Then fix the tracks, apply the shutter, and secure them using fasteners. If you are not experienced, the recommendation is to call in a professional.

Where to Buy Hurricane Shutters for Windows

A variety of hurricane shutters for windows are available at the following retailers:

Further Reading

For more information about hurricane shutters for windows, please see the following links:

Shutterland: Tropical Exterior Bahama Shutters
Hurricane Shutters Florida: Roll-Down Hurricane Shutters
Talius Caribbean: Bahama and Colonial Shutters
White Aluminum and Windows: Types of Hurricane Shutters to Protect Your Home
Home Depot: Types of Hurricane Shutters

Image: Nick Fewings via Unsplash

Storm Preppers - Pinterest - How to Choose Hurricane Shutters for Windows

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