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How to Hurricane-Proof Windows

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Well, as the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of …

    TOM: Cure.

    LESLIE: … cure. Here we have Linda in Florida who is thinking, ahead of the hurricane season, how to put that plywood up on her windows; so good thinking.

    Linda, what’s going on?

    LINDA: Thank you for taking my call. I just purchased my home and I’ve only been in Florida for two years and I went through the last hurricane season.

    TOM: You had a rough first year, didn’t you, Linda? (chuckles)

    LINDA: Oh, yes. It was very rough. And then I purchased my home after that season and now I’m concerned because the predictions are the hurricanes are going to be even – just as bad. So I want to know what’s the best way to put plywood on my windows. I know that hurricane shutters are good but I can’t afford that right now.

    TOM: Right.

    LINDA: So I just – I’m not sure how to go about it; if you put it inside the window recess or over top. And it’s a block building, so I don’t know if you have to drill holes in. I’m not sure.

    TOM: OK. Well, with the block building, your windows are somewhat recessed, including the trim. This is easy to do and you’re smart to do it now.

    LESLIE: Yeah, especially get that plywood now. Because if you wait until the last second, you saw what happened last year: lines and lines and you couldn’t get as much as you needed, so get it now.

    TOM: That’s right. So what you want to do is go ahead and pick up the plywood and what you want is probably 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch plywood would work well. You don’t need good-quality plywood. You can use the rough plywood with a CDX grade; it means C on one side, D on the other, and X stands for exterior. So you use that kind of plywood.

    Then what you do is you cut it – with a block wall house, you cut it to fit in that recess to cover the entire window. So leave yourself – make it maybe 1/2-inch less in width and height so that the wood is easy to install. And basically it fits over the whole window and the best way to attach it is simply to attach it with some screws from the outside that you drill through the small holes in the plywood and drill through that and screw it into the window trim. Probably one screw every 12 inches or so will do a really good job of holding that on there.

    Now once you do that and you take it apart …

    LESLIE: Label them.

    TOM: Right, label each one so that you know where to find it when the hurricane comes. And you can even paint them if you want and then store them immediately out of the way. If you do that, all you’re going to need to do is grab those shutters, grab your power drill and some screws, and you can have that whole house hurricane-shuttered in an hour.

    LINDA: Alright, that helps a lot. Alright. And when I – the one question I do have is when you put them back up for the next hurricane …

    TOM: Right.

    LINDA: … put them in the same hole? I mean you can put it right in the same holes? You have to put …

    TOM: (clears throat) Yeah, same exact holes. That’s why we want you to label them; because everything will line up.

    LINDA: OK.

    TOM: Alright, Linda?

    LINDA: Alright, thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome and good luck with that hurricane-prevention step.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Hey, if you want some more great tips on how to avoid storm damage at your house, go to our website at MoneyPit.com and search on storm damage. You’ll find lots and lots of columns with tips on how to do the same kind of home improvements that we just talked to Linda about.

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