Choosing the right type of shutter

05/20/2010 3:55 PM

06/03/2010 12:39 PM

A combination of shutter types can be used to protect a home against hurricane winds.

Questions to ask when shopping for shutters: What is your price range? Will you be installing the shutters yourself? How easy are they to use? Where and how will you store them?

Consider, too, the window's height and location. Second-story windows need shutters that can be closed from inside.

Be sure that shutters carry the Miami-Dade County hurricane product approval seal.

For a comprehensive list of licensed contractors and shutters approved for high velocity hurricane zones by the Miami-Dade County Building Code Compliance Office, go to miamidade.gov/buildingcode or dial 311 to have a county representative help you. Broward County abides by Miami-Dade's standards.

Prices include installation.

Impact-resistant glass Colonial shutters Bahama shutters Hurricane screens Lexan clear plastic panels

TYPE OF SHUTTER Impact-resistant glass Colonial shutters Bahama shutters Hurricane screens

Lexan clear plastic panels PRICE $30-150 per square ft. $22-28 per square ft. $22-28 per square ft.

$10-20 per square ft. $12-16 per square ft. PROS Attractive, permanent; adds security Side-hinged and easy to use; attractive

Easy to use; provides shade, security Some are permanently installed; adds security Lighter, transparent CONS Expensive; can dent

Must close, open from outside Obscures view permanently Impractical for small windows. Some must be put up for each storm. May not work with all systems; must be put up and taken down.

Roll-up shutters Accordion shutters Steel panels Aluminum panels Plywood

TYPE OF SHUTTER Roll-up shutters Accordion shutters Steel panels Aluminum panels

Plywood PRICE $32-36 per square ft. (+ $300-500 if motorized) $12-17 per square ft. $4-8 per square ft. (direct mount or tracks)

$5-9 per square foot About $14 for 4- x 8-foot sheet of plywood only PROS Ideal for hard-to-reach areas. Easy to use Can be shut, opened quickly from inside house; can be locked for security

Sturdy, inexpensive Lighter, but an 84-inch door panel still weighs 13.3 pounds Inexpensive CONS Expensive; box can be unsightly if not built-in

Needs yearly cleaning, lubrication Heavy. An 84-inch door panel weighs 17.3 pounds Must be put up, taken down every storm; sharp edges Time and labor intensive; risk of flying off if not installed correctly

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