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Seeking lesson-learned from seasoned hurricane survivors: I would like to install hurricane protection for windows / sliding glass doors for multiple properties. The primary consideration is the ease (minimal manpower and effort) to deploy and remove protection. There are 8+ homes, so if it took 1 hour to deploy it would cost 8 hours. Ideally it would take less than 10 minutes to deploy / remove one unit.

Half of the windows and a sliding glass door or on the second floor and another sliding glass door on the ground floor.

What are the best candidates for hurricane protection, given the emphasis on speed? If you have experience and any specific recommendations lessons learned, this would be highly appreciated. Thank you

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Speed of deployment in the event of a storm - permanently installed sliding/folding metal hurricane shutters, hands down. Always ready, 30 seconds or less per opening to pull them and lock them in place. Not too much of an eyesore if in an area where they are ever needed. They also don't need to be stored, found, and installed when needed, as they are there, always.

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I gather you're thinking of pre-fitted plywood or OSB panels, with latching or boltdown hardware already installed, pre-stenciled with diagrams of exactly on the house where they go, which quickly peg to tiedown points which have been pre-fitted on each window. And there's a shed or corner in the garage where these will be stored.

I could see that. That is viable. You will need to keep tenants from stuffing a bunch of their junk in front of them so you don't have to spend 20 minutes digging out. Even assuming quick access, I would figure a bit more than 10 minutes per house.

Now... ever see the pretty decorative shutters on certain styles of house? They're not real, they don't do anything.

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However, they are a stylistic mimicry of real shutters, whose purpose is what you want.

Although, looking closer at my chosen photo, I see a pocket in the windowframe and obvious linkage equipment on the shutter proper -- this may indeed be a functioning shutter. These can close in seconds, and the tenant can do it, assuming they can access whatever mechanism holds them open.

While we're on the subject, I noticed an astonishing number of Houston 2-story apartments in TV footage that still had power despite the first floor being 3' underwater. It is obvious their power service came into the 2nd floor, the trunks ran along the 2nd floor, and only certain branches dipped to the 1st floor and they had GFCI protection, so when they got wet, those individual branches just tripped. Those owners were ready for it!

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Getting along in years means not as much flexibility or strength when it comes to installing hurricane protection. Sheets of plywood screwed or bolted in place doesn't work any more. Storage is a pain too.

Hurricane fabric is a development that we've embraced and recently installed. The preparation involves drilling and mounting studs around the area to be protected, and those remain as minor eyesores. The fabric is cut to match the opening and gussets are bolted to the fabric.

The stuff appears to be a heavy duty fiberglass type cloth, much more durable than, but resembling trampoline fabric in a yellowish color. It's heavy duty and not too heavy to handle easily. It folds away in seconds and mounts in a matter of minutes per opening.

If one does not spring for the permanent stuff, this seems to be a good option.

hurricanefabric.com

An upside to this stuff is that it passes some light, allowing the panels to remain in place without the interior feeling like a tomb.

Florida hurricane regulations are somewhat severe, not that other locations are lax and these panels pass those guidelines.

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I live about 20 miles inland between Galveston Island and Houston. We get our share of storms.

The older and historic homes (like the ones that survived the Great Storm of 1900) on the island are all fitted with hurricane shutters. Most of the smaller homes are also fitted. Some are wooden, but the newer ones are either like a rolling garage door or slatted shutters. And you can get the ones that are motorized to close or open or hand cranked.

Of course, your property value is increased by investing in this kind of protection.

There is hurricane fabric, too, that you might consider.

If you Google "Hurricane shutters" you'll see everything from sheet metal to plywood to functional shutters to rolling and stationary shutters. And I think 3M has a window treatment that helps mitigate the damage. I know there are new windows available that are supposed to be up to hurricane codes.

If you go with the plywood, I suggest Hurricane Clips. They fit in the space surrounding the window outside and hold plywood in place. No scarring the facade.t Just slide on, push in place, and that is hdone.

We cannot use them because of he way the previous owner "fixed" the windows by installing exterior storm windows that stick out past the brick facade.

A good place to start looking would be a storm shutter distributor or a home improvement trade show along the coast. You'll find out more than you can imagine is available.

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