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How to Board Up your Home From Storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes

Boarded windows are often a sign of abandonment. But they serve a greater purpose than you might realize: protection. Boarding up your windows can save you from expensive and dangerous damage caused by storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. It might be a good idea to learn how to do it yourself.

Glass is fragile. This is a commonly known fact. Dangerous winds from severe storms often find themselves capable of throwing debris at glass breaking speed. Replacing your windows can be costly. Broken glass in your home can be dangerous, and an exposed opening for rain to fall through can lead to severe water damage.

A common way to protect against this is to cover the windows of your home with plywood. The temporary fix will keep your home safe from some of the hardest winds. You may have seen abandoned homes do this, This is done intentionally to protect the home while it remains vacant and untended.

How to Prepare Plywood for Your Home
  1. Get Enough Plywood. How many boards you need will depend on the size of your windows and the size of the boards offered at your local home improvement store. Make sure that each board is bigger than your windows.
  2. Cut the Plywood. You want each board to cover the window completely, with enough overlap to nail the boards to the studs outside the window frame. If there are no studs and it’s a stone/brick wall, cut to fit inside the frame.
  3. Coat Boards in Primer. This will keep the boards safe from moisture damage. If it’s a colored primer, you can even have it match the outside of your house to keep things looking nice.
  4. Label your Boards. Each board is intended for a specific window, right? Make sure you mark down which goes where on the board itself. You won’t want to waste time when it’s about to storm to figure it out again.
How To Board Up Your Windows For a Storm

Assuming you’ve done everything listed above, you’re now ready to board your windows up at a moment’s notice. Here’s how.

  1. Set the Plywood Boards. If you have wooden studs and frames, use galvanized pan head screws. For brick, use barrel bolts, set about a foot and a half apart.
  2. Wait until the storm has passed.
  3. Remove Boards, Store Away. Keep them somewhere dry and ideally with minimal temperature changes.
Try External Shutters

Still concerned that the plywood will make your home look bad? Frankly, you shouldn’t. A broken home looks worse than a boarded up one. But there still might be an alternate option. Many houses will use external shutters for the aesthetics or to shade from sun and vision. They can serve a protective purpose as well, though. Invest in a strong, durable external shutter set with hinges that allow them to close overtop of your windows. While not as effective, this will work as a form of protection similar to plywood boards without looking bad.

Whatever it takes to stay safe, right?

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1 Comment

  1. Charlotte Fleet March 27, 2023

    I liked learning that boarded windows are a temporary solution to protect your home from the strongest winds. My area is expecting a large storm with extremely strong winds in a few days. My husband and I want to make sure our windows and interiors are protected from any damage the winds could cause, so I think we should hire professionals to board up our windows tomorrow.

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