Vol 5 No. 26- March 16, 2005
Before hurricane season, think shutters
By Louise Bolger
SUN STAFF WRITER
Sticker shock if you havent experienced
it recently, my recommendation is to call your friendly local storm
shutter salesperson. I guarantee you this will provide a faster
case of sticker shock than driving down to the local BMW dealer.
The understatement of the year would be to call last years
hurricane season active. Many of the millions of Floridians affected
have been making inquiries and placing orders for storm shutters
to protect their property. In fact, if you havent already
signed a contract for shutters, you may not have them in place for
the impending hurricane season (we signed a contract in December
with an installation date of April or May).
One of the most confusing questions for most homeowners is what
type of shutters to install. There are four basic types: rolling
shutters, accordion shutters, colonial shutters and Bahama shutters.
Rolling shutters are the Mercedes Benz of window protection per
the sales people. They come in first, not necessarily because of
the protection they afford, but because of the ease of operation.
The shutters literally roll up into a housing mounted above the
window or door. Most people have a motorized system to raise and
lower the shutters, but if your window or door opening is not too
wide, a hand crank may be sufficient. The ones we ordered have a
155 mile an hour wind load rating.
Accordion shutters are very economical and also very strong, perfect
for patio openings and sliding glass doors. They do, however, need
to be stored when not in use, either on the patio or lanai itself
or in a garage or storage shed, and, if stored, will need some installation
prior to a storm.
Colonial shutters look like traditional wood shutters. They are
hinged at the sides and when closed are secured using horizontal
bars for the utmost protection.
Bahama shutters, like colonial shutters, come in a variety of colors
but add a distinct tropical look. They are hinged at the top and
supported by adjustable arms when open.
All shutter designs can accommodate a single family home; rolling
shutters and accordion can also be used for condominiums. Be sure
to ask for your condominiums shutter guidelines before placing
an order. Most associations have restrictions on style, color and
Extruded aluminum is the recommended product construction for all
shutters, and, of course, they should all meet Florida Building
Code and Miami Dade County Code. Wind ratings for the different
shutter designs should be questioned as well as the shutters
ability to resist flying debris.
In addition to wind and rain protection, shutters can provide addition
security and privacy for your home. But the thing that helped me
to justify the cost was the environmental protection benefit. Shutters
can block out the heat and glare of the sun, protect carpeting and
furniture, and save you money on heating and air conditioning costs.
So, if you feel youre ready for the newest version of sticker
shock, you know what to do. Since it seems that every other homeowner
in Florida is investing in storm shutters, were practically
guaranteed an uneventful season please.
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