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Installing the window insert. Once in place, it is se- cured to the window frame with long wood screws.


nature’s fury. More importantly, anyone with fi rsthand experience of this process knows the absolute worst time to start thinking about it is when everyone else is doing the same, and plywood is suddenly worth its weight in gold.


A If you don’t already have, or


can’t afford purpose-designed storm shutters, properly applied sheets of plywood are your next best option to protect your windows and your home’s interior from serious damage. In addition to covering your windows and protecting them from fl ying de- bris, they can also increase your home’s security should you be forced to evacuate and leave it uninhabited for a period of time. Like all things related to disaster


preparedness, the sooner you start to address the process of boarding up your home, the better prepared you’re going to be. In this case, how- ever, the advantages of early action are pretty compelling.


Haves And Have-Nots One obvious advantage of plan-


70


nyone who has ever lived in a hurricane-prone area is familiar with the process of boarding up your windows to protect against the effects of


can work ahead. One of the many effects of major storms (and other potential disasters) is their effect on electrical power. And since the oper- ative word in “power tool” is power, cutting plywood to fi t your windows properly is a task best done well in advance of a disaster.


Hurricane Shutters First of all, you should understand


ning now is simple availability of ma- terials. When a storm is already on its way and everyone is frantically trying to prepare, the normal supply system is quickly overloaded. You may not be quick enough to buy the materi- als you need, you may not get enough material to do the job properly and, quite possibly, you may end up pay- ing far more than the standard price. Taking the time to start buying


plywood now offers many advantag- es: you can spread your purchases out to make them more affordable and convenient, take advantage of any lumberyard sales, and ensure that, if you don’t already own a pickup truck or similar vehicle, you can borrow one to transport your materials. Ob- viously, it also ensures that you can actually get the materials you need. Buying ahead also means that you


that preparing for a hurricane is dif- ferent than keeping looters out of your house. The winds and fl ying debris as- sociated with hurricanes are tremen- dously powerful and destructive, so you need to prepare accordingly. The best solution is to install actual hurri- cane shutters that are approved by the building code in your area. Plywood shutters will always be second best to purpose-designed ones, but they are better than nothing. To make plywood hurricane shut-


ters, fi rst make sure that you buy ex- terior-grade plywood that is at least 5/8" thick. Then, take a close look at the windows of your home and deter- mine the best way to install the shut- ters. If you’re lucky, the windows will be set in from the surface of the exte- rior wall at least 2". If so, you can cut your shutters to fi t inside the window recess. This keeps the high winds


REALITY CHECK • 2012 SPECIAL EDITION


Mike Janich


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