Hurricane shutters are shutters which are designed to protect windows and doors during a hurricane. The design includes strong fixtures which will prevent the wind from ripping the shutter off, along with a sturdy construction which will resist flying debris and prevent crushing or breaching of the shutter. In areas where hurricanes are common, public safety agencies and local governments usually strongly recommend that homeowners install hurricane shutters to safety, and to minimize costly damages caused by hurricanes and strong storms.
There are a number of different styles of hurricane shutters on the market, including roll down, accordion, colonial, and Bahama shutters, along with storm panels. Many hardware and home supply stores carry these shutters and the installation equipment, and it is also possible to order them directly from manufacturers and suppliers.
Roll down hurricane shutters are housed in the upper part of a window or door, with a tab which can be used to pull down the shutter in a storm. The base of the shutter locks to the base of the window, securing it in place, and the shutter rolls along a track inside the window frame, with the track holding the shutter in place during the heavy weather. Accordion hurricane shutters are made from folding panels which secure into the sides of windows and doors when they are not in use, with similar fixtures to secure the shutter in place when it is in use.
Colonial hurricane shutters look like traditional fold back shutters, designed in the form of two hinged panels which fold back against the exterior wall when not in use, and clip together when it is necessary to protect a door or window. This hurricane shutter design is popular in some areas because it does not clash with the architecture of a structure. Bahama shutters are made with a single hinged panel which pivots above doors and windows, providing shade when extended or being fully closed to provide hurricane security.
Storm panels are the most inexpensive option, although they are not terribly attractive to look at. These panels made from wood or metal are designed to clip in place over windows, and to be removed when no protection from storms is necessary. It can be difficult to fit storm panels, and they can be cumbersome to move into place, but they provide excellent protection. They also tend to deter looting as they are difficult to remove without the proper tools.