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How to Install Plywood Over Windows for a Hurricane

Old Windows? Board Them Up

This hurricane season you'll want to make sure that your Fort Lauderdale area residence is fully prepared to handle the storm. One of your most critical responsibilities is making sure that your windows are fully protected from the wind, rain and debris. Unprotected windows are dangerous because they can break during the storm, turning shards of glass into dangerous weapons. If you don't have impact windows or hurricane shutters, you'll most likely be left to install plywood. USA Home Improvement works with homeowners to help them ensure that they have the best protection and that their homes are safe for hurricane season.

One of the most common ways that people protect their homes in the face of an impending hurricane is to cover their windows with plywood. This is an excellent option for people who, for whatever reason, have waited until the last minute to gear up for a storm. It's also a great option for people who are looking for a low-cost hurricane-protection option. If you need to protect your windows with plywood coverings, the following information can help.

Supplies You'll Need

  • Large washers
  • Measuring tape
  • Circular saw
  • Plywood (⅝" thick)
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Corrosion-resistant screws
  • Barrel bolts
  • Window clips
  • No. 8 or No. 10 Phillips head wooden screws

Plywood Boarding for Stucco or Brick Houses

First, place your plywood piece inside of your window frame. Using 4-inch barrel bolts, secure your panels to the frame. Make sure the panels are roughly 15 inches apart from each other. Make sure the boards overlap the windows by about 4 inches on all sides. You can either cut the board yourself or bring your measurements to a home improvement center where the associates can cut them for you.

Plywood Boarding for Houses Made of Vinyl Siding

Measure the space that you need to cover. Once you have that measurement, increase it by a few inches on each side. You want to make sure the plywood panels that you're using overlap the window by 4 inches. This will help ensure that the windows don't get blown out during the strongest winds. When securing the plywood to your house, make sure that you are drilling into the studs of your house and not the trim. The trim will not be strong enough to hold the plywood down during a storm. Make sure that the drill holes are between 12 and 16 inches apart.

Plywood Boarding for Frame-Built Homes

If you're going to be installing your plywood boarding on frame-built homes, the first thing you need to do is locate and measure the framing studs. Once you find the studs, take No. 8 or No. 10 Phillips head wood screws, and drill them into the plywood and into the center of the studs. Make sure that you're drilling at the top, bottom, and sides of your windows. Ensure that the screws hit the studs, so your plywood is securely anchored.

Boarding Windows Without Plywood

If you've truly left everything until the last minute, or if there's an unexpected storm on the horizon, there's a big possibility that you might not be able to find plywood. There are other materials that you can use instead, including polycarbonate panels, insulation board, or oriented strand board. Polycarbonate panels are light enough to allow natural light to filter through, making them a great option in situations where you need to be able to see outside even when the panels are up.

Boarding up Windows From the Inside

Some homeowners board up their houses from the inside by using security window film over the glass. The film helps the glass remain in one spot if it shatters during the storm. Using glass window clips to keep the windows shut tight can add an extra measure of security.

Contact the team at USA Home Improvement at 844-468-7244 for detailed advice about installing accordion shutters or impact windows before the next hurricane strikes.