What are storm panels?
Storm panels or sometimes they are referred to as storm shutters are protective barriers you can install on your windows in the event of a storm to minimize structural damage to your family, home, and its contents. It seems to be true that images of protecting their loved-ones and home during a severe storm are the first thing someone conjures up when people hear the phrase “storm panels” and rightfully so. Recent weather fluctuations and deadly, catastrophic storms seem to be the new “norm” each and every season. So many people have witnessed first-hand the costly destruction and devastation caused by mother nature. In 2017 alone with hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma there was an estimated cost of $268 billion. That’s not even considering the sobering fact that families were destroyed and lives were lost. Thankfully, because of this type of awareness, most people understand the importance of storm panels. The bigger problem doesn’t seem to be informing people of the dangers of not having prepared storm panels on their home. People just don’t seem to be informed on what’s actually needed for their unique situation or how to go about getting storm panels installed or installing storm panels themselves.
Who needs storm panels?
If you live in an area that is prone to receiving hurricane or tropical storm force winds, the answer is YOU! If you live in an area like this, you need storm panels installed on your home! Unless you happen to live an area that never gets any storms, which is very rare in most cases, you need storm panels installed and ready for use on your home in a time of crisis. If you’re living in an area that gets high wind speeds or an area that has tornados or hurricanes, it’s not even an option for someone that wants to have a properly prepared home in the event of one of these frequent natural disasters.
What’s the best type of Storm Panels?
There are several types of storm panels available on the market. They each have their own pros and cons. Determining which type of storm panel is right for you will depend on your unique situation. The three types we will be focusing on is metal, wood, and polycarbonate storm panels. There are several things each type of storm panel has in common with each other. They are all affixed to the outside of windows using a metal fastener that has been attached to the home. They all should completely cover the window opening for total protection. They are all removable as well.
Metal storm panels have pretty much become the old standard when purchasing a manufactured storm panel product. They generally meet code enforcement specifications and they do a decent job when “put to the test”. The biggest drawback they have is they block light from entering your home through the windows. As anyone who has ever been through a strong tropical storm or hurricane can tell you, the first utility that you lose is electricity. If you do lose electricity it is usually out for quite a while from days to even weeks in some more severe cases. This leaves you in a dark cave essentially because of the blocked light. Another drawback to metal storm panels is the cost. Metal storm panels can be quite expensive and they are usually ordered to fit.
Plywood is by far the cheapest type of storm panel you can put up but also the most dangerous. Plywood storm panels can be dangerous because they are not usually up to code and simply are not rated to withstand the foreign object impacts that can be generated by highly sustained winds that are common during medium to large size storms. Plywood storm panels also share one of the same drawbacks as metal storm panel sibling, the lack of light when power is lost during a storm.
Polycarbonate storm panels are one of the newest products on the market. Polycarbonate storm panels share most of the positives of plywood and metal storm panels but they eliminate the negatives. Polycarbonate storm panels are up-to-code and cost effective. They are easy to install and have the biggest benefit of all types of removable storm panels, they let light in. Polycarbonate storm panels are see-through, though not crystal clear. They offer benefit of privacy because the storm panels are not clear like glass but they let large amounts of light through so even if you have lost power you still have light to see. They are the best of both worlds when it comes to removable storm panels.