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Hurricane Shutters on our Coastal Home

We used solid hurricane shutters designed to stop hurricane driven debris on all our windows. These hurricane shutters are "Dade County Approved"  exterior shutters meaning they are tops in protection but have the traditional wood look we wanted.. You can see our window hurricane shutters in action here.

Hurricane Ivan Photos
See how well we survived.

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Folding Bi-fold Hurricane Shutters on our South facing tall Windows

This photo of the hurricane shutters on the south side was taken right after a tropical storm and was taken before the French door shutters were installed. Fortunately, that storm hit us primarily from the south/east (east is back of the house, on the right of photo). The shutters look like traditional wood shutters but are especially designed with an interior sheet of Lexan and an embedded  aluminum frame to protect us for hurricane strength blown debris. The casement windows open outward, so the hurricane winds will blow them more tightly closed, rather than tending to blow them open. The hurricane shutters are intended to stop flying debris not stop all water. With a concrete floor and no sheetrock inside, the water that might blow in around the windows is no big deal. We will just use the shop vac to get it up. All the furniture is on wheels and no fabric touches the floor, so no water will 'wick' up into upholstery. We considered roll-up hurricane shutters but the cost was going to be really high. The estimate the local roll-up hurricane shutter company gave us was $12,000 just for these 4 tall windows !! Had we used them, we'd have built with recessed areas above each window to allow the rolled up hurricane shutter to be flush with the exterior wall.

See the photos of our house in the three Tropical Storms we had in 2002 here.

Resources ---Hurricane Resistant & Quality Windows & Doors
Resources---Hurricane Shutter and Storm Shutter Suppliers

Custom Aluminum Hurricane Shutters on 10 Ft. French Doors

Because of the weight, on our wide, 10 ft tall French doors, we used a different hurricane shutter system.

hurricane-shutters-aluminum.jpg (17518 bytes) These folding aluminum shutters were made for us by Dennis Aluminum in Foley, Alabama. They did a great job on the fabrication and the shutters are permanently mounted now to the face of our house. They will be painted the same dark green as the traditional looking shutters on our windows,  the thicker  reinforced wood looking polywood shutters.

We used aluminum rather than the thick wood-look shutters for the French doors since the size of the opening would have meant a very thick and heavy six panels of folded shutters on our porch. These neat and tidy aluminum ones fold very flat to the wall. In the photo, they are temporarily tied back with black cord, but we will come up with a nice weather-proof solution. The aluminum hinges to hang the hurricane shutters to the face of the building were wielded on the shutters when they were made and we used weatherproof ship latches from Bluewater Ship's Store as closures in three places for each door.  The small black box you see at the top of the folded shutter is one of the two outdoor stereo speakers. They were purchased from Radio Shack  & they  too are suppose to be weather-proof and are encased in a heavy aluminum cases.
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The French door aluminum hurricane shutters fold out across the openings and close with latches that are permanently mounted on the house walls. The latches came from a ship's store, so they are chromed and corrosion resistant. I realized that the only parts of the shutters that needed to be totally painted nicely were the parts that showed when folded open. When the weather is so bad that the shutters need to be closed, then no one is around to see them !

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We figured out an easy and inexpensive  way to hold the aluminum shutters folded open and very flat against the wall. We drilled a hole in the concrete and tapped in a lead anchor into which we threaded a "eye" bolt. A painted wooden dowel slips thru the eye-bolt and the wooden bar will twist to vertically allow the shutters to release and unfold to close them in bad weather.

See the photos of our DAC-ART house during the 2002 Tropical Storms here.

Resources ---Hurricane Resistant & Quality Windows & Doors
Resources---Hurricane and Storm Shutters Resources

While we do not want to see our area hit by a hurricane, we actually are curious to see how we fare compared to our neighbors, and if it is a hurricane like Camille or Frederic then we might just end up being Gulf Front instead of on the lagoon. The barrier island type peninsula between us and the Gulf of Mexico is very narrow.
Gulf Shores area Hurricane Facts

In 2003 we had three tropical storms each one week apart. One had been classified a hurricane a day or two before but was downgraded to tropical storm status. All three storms had wind gusts in the 60 mile per hour range. I stayed here for all three and the sound was like a railroad train roaring past the house. We had a few people's docks blow loose and show up in front of our place. No one ever came to claim them, so we took them apart and had some nice lumber !!

We were spared from Hurricane Charley's fury but as I write this, Hurricane Ivan is headed into the Gulf of Mexico with more than 210 MPH winds (Sept 2004). In a coastal zone, it only makes sense to have impact glass, like  an automobile windshield, or hurricane shutter protection for your home.

Update: Hurricane Ivan hit shore directly over our DAC-ART home. DIRECT HIT !!  A flyover in a private plane (Fri--Sept 17) has confirmed that our house looks fine, the roof is still on ( we used hurricane straps on the trusses), the hurricane shutters are intact and the yard is full of debris. ---- At present only utility and emergency workers are being allowed onto Pleasure Island (Gulf Shores & Orange Beach). We were just told that our side of the road was still under water 24 hrs after hurricane landfall. (2004)

Hurricane Ivan Photos
See how well we survived.

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