We have covered our windows with plywood using tapcon screws and it's a
long,time consuming process.
A man in our neighborhood has used a different method of putting up plywood
that looks a lot faster. My husband says it's not safe because it puts the
plywood up next to the glass. (I need to throw in here that we are fairly
recent residents of FL and have not really had an experience with this until
now). The man told me he read about this method on the national oceanagraphic
web site. Anyway, what he did was put bolts on the plywood and then drill
holes in the concrete surrounding the window to slide the bolt in . When he
wants to take them off he just unbolts them and takes them down. The plywood
has been cut to fit just the glass part. The bolts have four screws holding
them and he has one on each corner.
The only directions I've seen have been on a newspaper web site and says use
plywood four inches larger than the window .
It sounds as though the plywood will be contacting the
window frame, not the glass itself. Given that, and given
that one purpose of the ply is to protect the glass from
flying debris, his method should be fine.
A second purpose of the ply is to prevent wind-driven rain
from getting thru the cracks of the window. Therefor, if
the windows being covered are of a type that can be opened,
this method would not be advisable. If the windows cannot
be opened, and therefor should not have any cracks/seams
that the rain can get thru, it would be fine.
You are right, the wind will bow the plywood and there is a very good chance
that it willl break the window.
It might also be noted that the "concrete" around the window is really just
stucco unless he went deep enough to get into the block. It really depends on
the mason about how far that is. Sometimes the window "bucks" are 2x4s and they
"mud in" almost 2".
Follow the recomendations in the paper.
If you want this to be easier next time label all of your installed plywood as
to orientation and which window it fits. Then install masonry anchors using
your tap con holes as a guide. Next time everything should line up. You usually
get 2 or 3 install/remove cycles in a tap con hole before there is nothing left
We have had the plywood up and down three times already - and the tapcon holes
are already getting a little stretched.
Guess we'll stick to them though. Just drill new holes when we have to.
The houses are concrete block covered in stucco. The windows have aluminum
frames and the glass is almost flush with the aluminum, maybe 1/8 in.
difference. They are the kind that have the stationary top and the bottom panel
I don't know how much you would mind looking at them year round,
but if not, think about mounting some permanent wood, like a
2 x 4 on each side, that you could just screw into every time you
need the stuff in place. Or consider hammering oversized pieces
of dowel rod into the tapcon holes. Pound them in so they expand
and grab the hole, then trim them level with the surface and use
good sized wood screws driven into the wood plugs. If -they-
wear out, just pound in a new piece of dowel.
The real Tom Pendergast [ So if you meet me, have some courtesy,
aka I-zheet M'drurz [ have some sympathy, and some taste.
The purpose of the plywood is many-fold. Its most obvious purpose is to
prevent "things" (lawn chairs, trash cans, the cat) from breaking the glass
when hurled against the window at 150mph.
The window, by itself, will withstand a 200mph wind just fine; the window,
again by itself, will NOT withstand a pencil flying at 200mph.
Your estimate, then, comes down to how much the plywood would flex when hit
by a limb, hubcap, whatever, with the various mounting techniques.
But here's the shocker: The windows and doors MUST remain intact/closed
during a hurricane. A 200 mph wind coming through a broken window (or open
door) can easily remove the roof.
If you see much over 150 for any length of time you can kiss your roof goodbye
anyway. Not much lives through an eye wall crossing without significant
We are really trying to come out of the near miss intact. I came away from the
east side of Charley in pretty good shape but my house was hiding on the lee
side of a solid garage wall, no windows. I could have had the windows open on
the other end of the house and we wouldn't have had a drop come in. If I didn't
have 2 trees land on my stuff I would have come away clean. ;-(
Don't ignore the other things that can get you.
I'm in the same boat. i'm likely going to install shutters. if i went
the plywood route, i would sink lead anchors in the block and just use
bolts. tapcons are meant to be a one shot deal.
i just don't want to have to store 40 pieces of plywood,
especially when it gets wet and starts to delaminate.
Same reason that houses in hurricane zones:
Are built on a slab
Are built of wood with "stucco" veneer
Have asphalt shingles on the roof
Have tin roofs
etc., etc., etc.
If you look closely, those are the ones that get torn up (or flooded) during a
The reason they build them that way is that you can build them cheep, and the
people who buy them are ignorant of the storms and don't do their homework.
A decently built house built to modern Dade County (Fla) hurricane standards
will weather a catagory 5 storm easily.
There is no "Dade county" standard. Florida has one building code with
different wind code stndards based on where you build. The old Dade code is not
the strictest code here. Try building in the Keys.
The most popular home construction is Concrete Block and Stucco, not stick
Wood is more expensive than concrete here.
When you pour a bell footer, tie the block walls to the footer steel with solid
poured cells every 6 feet and at every corner and opening with a #5 in it. Tie
that to the 16" solid concrete tie beam on top with 4 #5s in that and strap
that over the trusses you have a pretty solid structure
Stick built houses have every stud strapped to the foundation and the roof,
similar to a block house.
Stucco is tougher than siding
Tin roof is a very strong roof in a storm. Look at the pictures of the ones
that held up in Captiva and the other types that failed.
The reality is that most of the devastation is in trailer parks and if these
are modern trailers most of that damage is in the cabanas, car ports and other
unregulated structures. A current HUD compliant trailer, properly tied down is
pretty solid. The problem is in a loophole that allows a trailer to be sold as
a "park model RV" and they have very little regulation. The biggest "wind speed
test" they have is the tow to the homesite.
My house was built in 1983 to code. It has a concrete tile roof and is a
concrete block, covered with stucco. There are many houses just like mine.
They are not cheap by a long shot. The codes got more strict after Andrew but
then again, it's a crap shoot. Do I want to install expensive hurricane
shutters on a house that might lose it's roof or have the garage door cave in?
I am in an area that hasn't been hit directly since 1920s - but we did get a
taste of Frances and Charley. The plywood did just fine.
There was an article in the paper after Frances and Charley and the writer was
discussing how different roofs held up. The expensive baked tile did badly,
shingles were torn off, concrete tile did pretty well and metal roofs did the
worst. The writer did not say what kind of metal roofs - was it the new strong
kind or the old tin ones.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.