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No hurricane protection? Big problem.

Add another layer of safety to your home or business before the next big storm rolls in.

Story by Dana Briggs

The tremendous power of a hurricane can turn a home inside out and leave it in ruins. With storm protection, you can minimize the potential for damage and save on home repairs later. After all, you can never be too prepared when it comes to a hurricane.

Weather the Storm • Installing storm panels is an effective ways to cover your windows to help protect against damage from high wind speeds, heavy rain and flying debris.

The devastating damage to your home by a hurricane is caused by the vast amount of wind and flying debris. Objects may hit your windows or doors, causing openings for gusts to enter creating negative and positive pressure. Once inside, the wind looks for any area to escape. Since the entry point will continue to have wind coming in, the roof is often the area that gives first, and can actually be blown off of your home. By covering the windows and doors, these openings are blocked from the wind entering your home.

There are several types of storm protection solutions, and choosing the right product for your home or business can be overwhelming. The team at Armor Building Solutions offers these options to help keep your home or business safe.


Plywood

Covering your windows and doors with plywood should only be a last resort alternative to actual storm shutters. They are heavy and difficult to deploy. They can also cause damage to your home as you have to screw or nail them directly into the structure.

Pros: Protects from flying debris and easy for DIYers. You can find the materials at any home improvement store.

Cons: Extremely time-consuming to install, heavy, and require a helping hand. Installation creates weak-point damaging holes in siding and bricks, and plywood is not storm-rated.


LOCAL EXPERT

Tech support

• Time is money: For businesses, uncertainty after a storm is amplified by the fact that every minute spent in down time is money lost. Secure your business’s critical infrastructure in the cloud, so that you can carry on with business as usual from anywhere in the world. With your data secured and IT needs in the hands of experienced professionals, you’ll be back in business in no time.

• Keep a close eye: The days following the storm can be among the worst. After the power is restored, you may not be able to return home and assess the damage with your own eyes. With smart home technology, you can keep tabs on your property from wherever you are. Devices like a smart flood sensor are a godsend to those who’ve evacuated for a storm. It won’t help with saltwater intrusion, but it will help if damage to the home leads to burst pipes or broken spigots. With just one device easily installed around a pipe in your home, you can remotely turn off the water and protect your home.

• Take back control: But water isn’t the only damage – compromised electrical circuits following a storm can easily lead to a fire, and that’s where a smart fire alert is crucial. Most fire alarms only sound throughout the house and can easily go unnoticed by neighbors. No matter where you are, a smart alarm will alert you to any fire and be able to alert the authorities, saving precious time in a situation where seconds count. Smart generators and security cameras also can help give you some peace of mind and control over your home while you are away.

— Hargray Communications


Storm panels

Storm panels are made of corrugated steel or aluminum. They are stored away until needed and are attached to window exteriors with a system of tracks and bolts.

Pros: One of the more economical shutter systems, storm panels are strong and protect from most flying debris.

Cons: Panels require a larger space for storage. They can be bulky to handle, depending on the size of windows and number of stories on your home.


Fabric panels

These innovative lightweight fabric panels add trampoline-like cushion to windows and doors to repel flying debris. Panels are anchored to the edges of windows and doorways to a pre-installed fastening system, making them easy to deploy.

Pros: Lightweight fabric panels are easy to be installed and removed, then rolled up and stored in a compact space.

Cons: They will need to be attached to anchors manually.


LOCAL EXPERT

Rock and roll

Invest in a system easy to deploy. We recommend motorized rolling shutters to protect your windows. Get a motorized system complete with a manual override to be able to operate in the case of a power outage. Permanent protection options are great for storm protection and act as security for your home post-storm. If you’re looking for storm protection that will help with the heat, choose screen systems that can be permanent or deployed easily for a storm.

— Savannah Blinds Shutters and Shades


Roll-down shutters

With the push of a button or the crank of a handle, these louvered panels roll up or down. They are permanently housed above nearly any span and can be deployed in mere moments.

Pros: Roll-down shutters are extremely easy to raise and lower. They also can be used to secure a home when away.

Cons: Automatic rolling shutters are more convenient to operate but can be more expensive.


LOCAL EXPERT

Cook up a plan

When LOCAL Life asked that I write this article, I began to think of the single most important thing homeowners who live in the Lowcountry should do in the event of a hurricane. It became obvious: plan! There is no substitute for being prepared. Here are a few tips to get you started:

• Prepare your home: Make sure you have secured valuables in a safe or safety deposit box, open all flood vents and remove any obstructions, lock all doors and windows. Consider boarding windows, but you must plan early. Have wood cut to fit and have someone who can install.

• When will you evacuate? Some feel that unless the storm is a category 2 or above, they will not leave. I would suggest putting the safety of you and your family above everything. If there is an evacuation order given, you should leave. To avoid traffic, I always leave around 2 a.m. — little or no traffic at that time.

• Where will you go? You should always have two locations chosen, a northern location and a southern location, depending on which direction the storm is coming. If you are going to travel to a friend or relative that is 100 miles or more inland, you should be fine. If you are going to use a hotel, then you must book early as they will fill fast. I usually hold two reservations that can be canceled when the storm is five days away.

• You concentrate on taking care of you and your family, let us take care of the insurance issues. We will be open before, during and following any storm. Our website will publish every piece of information you could possibly need. In addition, since we have 25 locations, many of which are inland, our staff will be here for you! Call anytime!

— Terry Tadlock, Correll Insurance Group


Accordion shutters

Housed on the sides of doors or windows when not in use, these retractable shutters unfold like an accordion to protect your home’s openings during a storm.

Pros: Accordion shutters are quickly and easily deployed in the event of a storm. They are permanently fixed to the house and do not require storage.

Cons: On the downside, they add some bulk to your window or door jam.


Storm-rated colonial shutters

This style of storm protection beautifies as well as protects your home. Colonial shutters attach to the window’s side walls and can quickly and easily be closed and secured.

Pros: Colonial shutters are an attractive solution that add to the aesthetic of your home. They are offered in a wide array of custom colors and designs. Lastly, they can be easily closed in just a few seconds by just one person.

Cons: They do not allow light to come into your home when in use and can be a more expensive option.


LOCAL EXPERT

The big pictures

As with any event, hurricane preparedness is a matter of planning. Of course, a hurricane is not something you think about the day of evacuation; it is something you consider in advance. First, be sure your insurance is up to date before hurricane season. Please keep in mind: insurance usually cannot be bound or altered when there is a named storm nearby. One helpful asset is to take photos of your belongings in advance, before the hurricane season comes. Of course you will carry valuables and irreplaceables (such as family photos and documents), but making a claim for something you left behind will be greatly aided with a photo record.

— Kinghorn Insurance


Final thoughts

When it comes to choosing storm protection, it’s important that you do your research. Choose an option that you feel confident in, one that will keep you and your family safe should a hurricane head your way. Storms are unpredictable, so it’s imperative that you are prepared at any given moment. Armor Building Solutions is a full-service company that designs, manufactures and installs exterior building solutions to protect and enhance Lowcountry homes. They offer quality products at lower costs because they manufacture and offer products directly to the public. Visit armorbuildingsolutions.com to learn more about how you can protect your home or business.