Monday 21 April 2014

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Plywood Hurricane Protection

Hurrican Plywood Window Protection

Although putting plywood over windows and doors in expectation of a hurricane does not meet hurricane codes in most areas, we all see it done again and again every hurricane season. If you have not installed shutters of some type and plywood is your last resort, you need to make sure it is installed correctly.

Barrel-bolt Style Plywood

The barrel-bolt style is to be used on concrete, stucco structures that have at least a 2-inch inset on the windows.

Supplies needed:

  • Enough plywood to cover all your windows and doors. The sheets should be at least 5/8 inches thick.
  • Enough barrel bolts for one bolt every 6-12 inches.
  • Masonry or carbide-tipped bit if you have stucco or concrete walls.

Prepare the Plywood and House:

  • Cut the plywood into pieces that fit as perfectly as possible into the window frame.
  • If your window is bigger than your pieces, put two pieces together by nailing 2x4s as the connector piece.
  • Attach the barrel bolts to the pieces.
  • Mark the frame of your house where you will drill the holes for the bolts to fit into.
  • Drill the holes.

Attach the Plywood:

  • Fit the plywood into your window frames or doors as snugly as possible. If the winds get under the wood, you could see all your work literally blow away.

Overlapping Plywood Shutters

If you do not have a 2-inch inset on your windows, you can overlap the plywood instead.

Supplies Needed:

  • Enough plywood to cover all your windows and doors. The sheets should be at least 5/8 inches thick.
  • 1/4-inch lead sleeve anchors (lead, not plastic) at least 2-3 inches long.
  • Tapping screws – at least 2-3 inches long.
  • Masonry or carbide-tipped bit if you have stucco or concrete walls.

Prepare the Plywood and House:

  • Cut the plywood into pieces large enough that will give you at least a 4-6 inch overlap from piece to piece.
  • Drill holes into both the plywood and the spots on your house where you plan to secure the sheets.
  • Hammer the lead sleeve anchors into the wall.

Attach the Plywood:

  • Secure the plywood into place with the tapping screws.

As happens every year, there is a run on plywood when a hurricane approaches, so make sure you get your supplies early. Also make sure you give yourself plenty of time for installation. Things often don’t go as well as planned, especially if you are not used to doing this type of work. This plywood solution should run you generally $1 – $5 per square foot.

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