Storm panel shutters are the most common type of hurricane shutters. Storm panel shutters are detachable sheets that adhere flat against the outside of a window. Storm panel shutters are often installed during the off season and removed for easy reinstallation before an approaching hurricane or tropical storm. Because storm panel shutters completely remove, they do not distract from the appearance of the building when not in use. Storm panel shutters are flat, so they stack along a wall in a garage or other storage facility. Exterior storm shutters are the most affordable of widely approved durable hurricane shutters.
Technically, plywood hurricane shutters, can be categorized as storm panel shutters. However, plywood shutters are not approved or recommended for adequate protection from fierce tropical storms or hurricanes. The best storm panel shutters are constructed from aluminum, galvanized steel, or clear polycarbonite. Steel panel shutters can be very heavy, while aluminum and synthetics are relatively light. Steel and aluminum storm panels will block light into the building, but polycarbonite panels are clear.
The first step to installing any type of storm panel shutters is to consult local building codes. Each state, county, and district has a different set of requirements. Building codes regulate materials, thickness, and types of hurricane shutters are permitted.
As with most hurricane shutters, it is imperative storm panel shutters can be installed quickly. Each panel needs to fit it's corresponding window. Label each storm panel identifying the location and position of the hurricane exterior shutter.
Three methods are common for storm panel shutter installation. The first method uses a track above the window and bolts below. The second uses tracks above and below the window which allow for the storm panels to slide into place. The third uses permanently anchored bolt surrounding the window. Holes in the storm panel shutters slide over the bolt and are secured with a nut.
To determine how a house or building will hold up well in a hurricane an inspector or engineer can be hired to assess the premises and pinpoint any potentially unsafe or weak areas. This inspection can also determine the strength of the storm panel shutters.
It is possible for a homeowner to build outdoor hurricane storm panels. Some exterior storm panel shutter material is sold in sheets which allows the homeowner to cut them to size to fit each window. For the greatest insurance, allow a professional prepare storm panel shutters for the building. Most important, install storm panel shutters before hurricane season.