Beef up your home to better withstand hurricane winds with these modifications.
Notes on bolts and anchors: Wood-frame houses: For 3 x 4-foot or smaller windows, use 1/4-inch lag bolts and plastic-coated permanent anchors. The lag bolts should penetrate the wall and frame surrounding the window at least 1-3/4 inches. For larger windows and doors, use 3/8-inch lag bolts that penetrate the wall and window frame at least 2-1/2 inches.
Masonry houses: For 3 x 4-foot or smaller windows, use 1/4-inch expansion bolts and galvanized permanent expansion anchors. The expansion bolts should penetrate the wall at least 1-1/2 inches. For larger windows and doors, use 3/8-inch expansion bolts.
1. Take measurements and cut plywood to size. Measure each window and each door that contains glass. Add 8 inches to both the height and width to provide a 4-inch overlap on each side of the opening. Cut a piece of plywood to the measurements for each opening. 2. Drill holes in plywood. Drill holes 2-1/2 inches from the outside edge of the plywood at each corner and at 12-inch intervals along each side. Drill four holes in the center area of the plywood to relieve pressure during a hurricane. 3. Install anchors in home exterior. Place the plywood over the opening, and mark each hole position on the outside wall. Drill holes and install the anchors (for bolt and anchor details, see Notes above). On wood-frame houses, make sure the anchors are secured in the solid wood that frames the door or window, and not in the siding or trim. 4. Check for fit. Install plywood and bolts to make sure they fit properly. 5. Remove and label shutters. Mark each shutter so you will know where it is to be installed (for good measure, you may want to mark the top side as well). 6. Store the shutters and bolts in an accessible place. A sturdy plastic container with a tight-fitting lid can help keep bolts from becoming lost.