Step 1

measure windows and cut plywood

Measure the Windows and Cut the Plywood

When it comes to fighting a hurricane or violent wind storm your best bet is to be prepared.

The amount of material you'll need to build and install each plywood hurricane shutter will vary according to the size of the window you want to protect. The instructions and materials listed are based on construction of a hurricane shutter to cover a typical residential window.

After measuring your window, cut the sheet of 5/8" CDX grade exterior plywood 7" wider and 7" taller than the window you want to cover, thus providing 3" or 4" of protective overhang on all sides of your window. Some home centers will cut to your size specifications for free or for a fee.

Step 2

install shutters on frame around windows

Install the Shutters on a Frame-Built Home

To install your plywood hurricane shutter on a home built with "frame" construction, measure and locate the framing studs.

After locating the framing studs and measuring carefully, drive the #8 or #10 Phillips-head wood screws (2" to 2-1/2" long) through the plywood and into the center of the studs above, below and at the sides of each window (approximately 7/8" outside the window frame). The screws must hit the studs solidly to provide an adequate anchor for your plywood shutter.

For an alternate method, after locating the framing studs and making careful measurements, nail the plywood hurricane shutter over the window you wish to protect. Once more, make sure to drive each nail into the center of the studs above, below and to the sides of the window (approximately 7/8" outside the window frame). Nails are not as secure as screws and might be harder to remove without damaging your plywood, but if you do not own an electric screwdriver, this option might be easier.

Step 3

Secure the Shutters on a Concrete Block Structure

To install a hurricane shutter on a home built with concrete blocks -- or stucco over concrete blocks -- you once more begin with the same 5/8" CDX plywood shutter cut 7" wider and 7" longer than the window you want to cover. Concrete block construction, however, requires different fastening hardware and a different technique than does a frame home.

With the concrete bit, drill 10 holes into the concrete wall all around your window. Each hole should be 2" to 3" from the edge of the window to keep the concrete from chipping or breaking. Insert the 5/16" x 3" hanger bolts in these 10 holes.

After careful measurement, drill ten 5/16"-diameter holes into the plywood shutter to correspond precisely to each of the 10 hanger bolts you just installed. Slide the plywood over the protruding ends of the hanger bolts, place a washer on each bolt and then fasten tightly with the ten 5/16" wing nuts.
For an alternate method of fastening a plywood shutter to a concrete structure, drive the 1/4" concrete screws through the plywood shutter and into the concrete block wall of the house, again making sure the screws are 2" to 3" from the edge of the window to prevent the concrete from chipping.

Note: A handy kit (KwikTap) includes everything you'll need in a single box -- a concrete bit, concrete screws and Phillips-head driver bit.