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I have an oceanfront cottage and have "boarded up" the ocean-facing windows each winter before closing up for the season.

In the past I just used wood big enough to totally cover the window and frame, and would just use wood screws to fasten it directly to the cedar shingle siding.

This obviously leaves holes from the screws. This summer we just re-did the cedar shakes and window trim, and put new paint on the whole thing. It looks great now.

My question is - what is the best way to board up my windows so as to inflict the least damage to the trim/shngles/paint? Open to any suggestions that won't break the bank.

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How about permanently mounting lift-off hinges or something similar to the window frames, and using the mating part on the plywood to secure the boards to the windows?

lift-off hinges

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Going to the hardware store now to look into this one... I don't think it will look too bad, and it should perform well in high winds. Also I like the ease of installing and removing the plywood covers with these... No messing around with tools. Quick and easy. – robarwebservices Oct 10 '13 at 14:10
You can get these from marine supply stores as well--they're common boat hardware, and the marine grade stuff may hold up better to the elements than what you might find at the hardware store. – mac Oct 10 '13 at 14:35

Why not use latching hook and eyes


The eye can be permanently mounted to the wall or trim and painted to match its surroundings. The hook section can be put on the plywood.

I would probably add a reinforcing wood strip along the edge of the outer face of the plywood and insert the hook portion into the side of the reinforcement strip.


If using the hook and eye approach, I would have removed the flimsy looking eyes and substituted beefier ones.

An alternate approach would be to drill a hole through the siding or trim and into the framing. Then drive in threaded inserts into the framing.

threaded insert

Then drill a hole through the plywood lining up with the insert and fasten with a bolt and washer. (In practice, I would drill all the holes through the plywood and siding at the same time for better alignment, then enlarge the siding hole to accommodate the insert.)

When taken down, you could put a small plug (wood or plastic) over the hole in the siding or trim, painted to match.

If you were doing this before installing trim, I would have recommended T-nuts inserted from the back of the trim, which has the same effect, but adds a washer-like reinforcement on the back side.


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Good suggestion but we get HIGH winds off the water here in the winter and these would be easily ripped off or apart. Otherwise would be a potential solution – robarwebservices Oct 10 '13 at 14:09

I grew up in New England and many of the older homes had removable storm windows. The hardware (the hook) was attached to the house and the (hanger) window and the windows hung by the hooks and latched on the trim and it could be done from the inside which might make the second floor easier. http://www.houseofantiquehardware.com/screen-hangers. I know in the house I grew up in the spacing on the hooks wasn't consistent so each window was marked to a specific window. So keep this in mind if you have different sized windows.

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