How to Secure Gable Vents Before a Hurricane

What You'll Need
Panels, screens or plywood
Anchors (masonry or wood)
Large washers
Tape measure

Gable vents are needed whenever you have a gable roof and a chance of hurricane winds. Gable vents allow for proper air flow in the gable roof section of the home. Without gable vents you will trap moisture and heat inside the gable roof which can cause mold to occur. Gable vents also serve to stabilize the gable roof. Gable vents can cause damage in the event of hurricane winds. The force of the wind can enter the vent and cause a vortex of air within the gable roof which can result in gable roof damage or it being removed. To give the gable roof a chance is by properly covering the gable vents prior to a hurricane hitting. This is done in the same manner as covering windows and doors. The following article will show you how to cover your gable vents.

Step 1 - Check the Requirements

It is important to know exactly what building codes you need to comply with to properly secure gable vents. Visit or call the local civil planning department of your town and inquire what the rules are for securing gable vents. You may find that you need a permit or that special materials are required for installation. They can also tell you the wind ratings of certain products as well as what kind of bolt you need.

Step 2 - Choose a Cover Material

There are several options when it comes to choosing a material to cover gable vents. Plywood is the cheapest and possibly best cover for gable vents. If you want to cover the gable vents permanently, then a hurricane screen is a good choice. You can also find hurricane panels, which are made specifically to survive hurricane winds. They are all used in a similar fashion.

Step 3 - Measuring and Cutting

Hurricane screens and hurricane panels come in standard sizes which makes them easier to install over gable vents. If you go the plywood route, measure the perimeter of the gable vent. Expand the perimeter by about 8 inches. This extra space will give you ample overlap of plywood to the surrounding structure of the gable roof. Once you have the perimeter measurements you can transfer them to a piece of plywood and then cut out the cover.

Step 4 - Installing the Gable Vent Covers

Hurricane screens and panels have hardware included. Measure 4 inches from the outside of the plywood and draw a new perimeter. Make a mark every 12 inches along this new line and drill small pilot holes. Place the vent covers over the gable vents and drill pilot holes into the gable roof using the cover as a template. Attach the gable vent cover with wood or masonry screws or use nuts, bolts and washers.