New home or business owners across Florida often want to know if they can save money by self-installing hurricane shutters. Handymen and women wonder, “How hard can it really be?” and call around trying to get quotes for the raw materials without the added installation costs.
Of course, as professional storm solutions installers, we have plenty of motivation to tell you installing hurricane shutters is not a DIY-project… but we’re not here to pad our wallets by convincing you to pay us for the job. We’re here to discuss a few reasons why— objectively— it’s not the best option for many home and business owners alike.
Here are six reasons why it’s wiser to hire a professional, certified, insured storm shutter installer instead of doing it yourself:
1. Professional installation can save you costly installation mistakes.
You know how DIY projects tend to go. Despite your best intentions and following the instructions tothe T, things go wrong. Incorrectly installing your storm windows can lead to instant damage to the shutter itself or to your windows, frame or home/business. The cost of this damage falls in your laps when you don’t hire a certified, insured installer. At a couple hundred dollars a shutter, this isn’t a mistake you want to make. Plus, it’s important to account for the cost of damage to your interior belongings and home/business should a storm surge enter the building.
When you use a professional hurricane shutter installation company like Storm Solutions, you'll get the benefit of years of experience. Look for a contractor that's licensed and uses products that meet or exceed local and state building codes to help ensure that you're purchasing a quality product and installation job.
2. Depending on where you live in Florida, you might need special permissions, permits and clearances to install certain types of storm shutters.
If you don't use a licensed contractor, you can't guarantee that the necessary permissions, permits and clearances have been filed. This is especially true if you are installing shutters on a business, though, homeowners aren’t all exempt. Learn more about Miami-Dade permitting here.
Before purchasing any storm solutions, here are 5 Things You Need to Know About Hurricane Shutters.
3. Improperly installed hurricane shutters could void your warranty.
Let’s say your DIY installation seems like a success. You get the shutters on and a few weeks go by with nice weather, where you didn’t need to use them. When the next storm is about to roll through, however, you try engaging your shutters only to find the motorization isn’t working. Or post-storm, you find there was water intrusion due to a warped problem with the shutters.
Professionally installed hurricane shutters usually come with a manufacturer's warranty that protects against defects, and sometimes even an installation warranty. But manufacturers want to know the damage wasn’t caused by you and might fight your request for replacement without proof of a professional shutter installation.
4. A professional can consult on what type of hurricane shutters are best for your home or business.
A professional company will know exactly which types of hurricane shutters are best for your home or business. You'll be able to choose from a number of different styles of hurricane shutters, including accordion shutters, roll down shutters, and Bahama shutters.
A company that sells and installs hurricane shutters will be able to explain the differences of each type, give you quotes for different styles, and even show you how to equip the shutters and get ready for a storm. Some hurricane shutters, such as roll down and Bahama, will become permanent fixtures to your home or business's exterior, while others, like storm panels and storm screens, will require a bit of preparation. This is why it's important that you understand the difference between the styles and select the best to fit your lifestyle.
Compare costs for the various types of hurricane shutters by exploring our Storm Shutter Pricing Guide.
5. Professional hurricane solution installers can help you get important discounts.
Unlike DIY shutter solutions that don’t meet building code, professionally installed hurricane shutters can even provide you with a discount on your homeowner's insurance. While benefits can vary according to your policy and your insurance company, you should ask your insurance agent what types of hurricane shutters qualify you for the greatest insurance discount.
6. If you opt for plywood shutters, they come with their own set of woes.
First of all, we by no means recommend installing plywood over your windows for hurricane protection. Not only are they not compliant with Miami-Dade code, they are much like a Band-Aid. Plywood window protection can serve the needs of your home for only one storm. Since it is wood, the rain will cause damage after the first storm. It cannot be stored as it will begin to rot by the next storm.
For business owners, it can look unprofessional to use plywood, which is well-known to not be the most reliable or durable form of storm protection.
If you insist on the budget-friendly 'do it yourself' plywood method before you can afford professional storm protection, there are a few tips that you should absolutely follow:
- For the best fit and most protection, plywood should be used on window frames that are at least two inches deep.
- After measuring your window, cut the plywood 7" wider and 7" taller than the window you want to cover.
- For concrete construction homes/businesses, use a masonry bit to drill holes into the concrete sill and install heavy-duty barrel bolts to keep the plywood in place.
Is Impact Glass the Better Choice?
While hurricane shutters offer excellent storm protection, there’s no way of hiding that they’re installed over your windows. Impact-safe glass, however, offers unobstructed views.
Before choosing storm shutters, download our 12 Things You Need to Know About Impact Windows guide to see if storm-safe glass might be the smarter upgrade for your needs and budget.