If you live in hurricane country, finding effective storm protection for your windows is crucial for minimizing damage to your home. There are many types of storm shutters on the market, from high-end motorized options to sturdy steel accordion panels. But if you’re looking for an inexpensive or DIY option, simple plywood shutters are just as effective for much less money.
While you’ll have to do a little heavy lifting, this is an easy project you can accomplish within a single day. Just follow these instructions.
Measure Your Windows
According to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, storm shutters should overlap the window frame by 4 inches on all sides. Make sure to measure and add carefully!
Gather Your Supplies
Round up these supplies to build your hurricane shutters:
- A sheet of CDX plywood per window, at least 5/8 of an inch thick, cut to size.
- Most hardware stores will cut your plywood for you.
- 2 ½-inch Phillips wood screws.
- Tape measure.
- Drill and Phillips driver bit.
- 5/16 drill bit.
If your house is made of concrete block instead of wood, replace the wood screws and drill bit with the following supplies:
- Phillips concrete screws.
- 5/16 x 3-inch hanger bolts (10 per window).
- 5/16-inch wing nuts (10 per window).
- Washers (10 per window).
- Concrete drill bit.
Install Your Hurricane Shutters
The process of installing storm shutters differs depending on whether your house is frame-built or concrete block. Luckily, both processes are pretty simple for anyone with a little DIY experience. If all goes right, you should have all of your shutters installed within a few hours using one of the following methods.
Installing Hurricane Shutters on a Frame-Built House
- Locate the framing studs above, below and on either side of the window using these steps:
- From the inside of your home, use a stud finder or the tap method to find the studs around the window.
- Measure from the edge of the window glass (NOT the frame) to the stud.
- Transfer those measurements to the exterior of the house.
- While helpers hold the shutter in place, drive plenty of Phillips wood screws through the plywood and into the studs on all sides. Make sure the screws sink solidly into the stud.
Installing Hurricane Shutters on a Concrete Block House
- Using a concrete bit, drill 10 holes around your window, each 3 inches from the window’s edge.
- Insert hanger bolts into each hole.
- Carefully transfer these measurements to the plywood and drill a 5/16-inch diameter hole for each of the hanger bolts.
- Slip the plywood over the window. The hanger bolts should protrude through the holes.
- Slide a washer onto each bolt, then tighten each with a wing nut.
Your work is done! With these DIY hurricane shutters, your windows will be as protected as possible from whatever the storm throws at them. For more storm preparation tips, check out our guide to Home Maintenance for Hurricane Safety.