Since building codes in hurricane prone areas require outdoor window shutters, it is important to explore what is available. There are several types of shutters that will withstand any type of weather, from traditional wood to roll down steel ones. Choosing shutters that are best for you will depend on your personal needs.
Each type of outdoor window shutters has its own advantages. The most important consideration is that the shutter you choose must meet local hurricane and wind building codes. In reality, should you not have the budget to make a permanent installation, you can create shutters with plywood. One thing to not do, however, is tape your glass openings. Tape will accomplish nothing but minimize the mess if your windows break.
Removable Panel Shutters
Removable storm panel shutters are the least expensive option at about $7.00 to $14.00 per square foot of glass, but they are also strictly utilitarian. The removable panel is taken down and stored when not in use. Although the panels slide over the window on pre-installed tracks, the fact that they are so labor intensive is a definite drawback. Every time a hurricane warning is called, the homeowner must put the panels in place. Once the storm has passed, the panels must be removed. Spending a little more for something that you can keep in place could be a wise investment.
Awning outdoor window shutters, at $15.00 - $20.00 per square foot, will provide a level of protection that meets current hurricane codes. There are less expensive models, but they likely will not provide enough protection. The awning shutter is a permanent installation, providing shade in the upright position, and when necessary, the awning is dropped over the window and attached to the wall. The downside of this time of shutters may be that the presence of a permanent awning may not suit the architecture of the home.
At $15.00 - $20.00 per square foot, the traditional Bahamas shutter can provide a perfect architectural look on a variety of structures. The Bahamas shutter is permanently installed over and provides shades for windows. During a violent storm, the outdoor window shutters are closed and locked to the wall to provide protection from debris and water. The shutter, when not in storm position, is propped open about 20° from the building, which may be considered a hindrance when not needed for storm protection. Closing the Bahamas shutter requires removal of the supports, which may be too labor intensive for an elderly homeowner.
Providing a more open feeling when not in use, the accordion shutter averages about $15.00 - $25.00. Accordion shutters are permanently installed in a box frame. Properly installed, the frame allows the shutter to completely clear the opening. The shutter is pulled across the window and locked down. The lock can be installed either in the center or to the other side of the shutter.
The easiest shutters to operate are automatic roll-down shutters. This type of shutters is stored in a pre-installed box above the window or door opening. The shutter rolls down a track alongside the window and locks at the bottom. Averaging about $20.00 - $35.00 per square foot, roll-down shutters with motorized operator are the easiest to use. For this reason, the motorized roll-down is the best option for outdoor window shutters for the elderly or disabled.