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Emergency Board-Up


Count Your Windows
Count and measure the openings to be covered on your house. Plan on making storm shutters for every opening in your home. All windows, doors, gable end vent, sky light, roof vent, or any other opening that if damaged would allow wind to enter your home.

Measure Each Opening
Measure each opening, horizontally from inside to inside of the exterior trim and vertically from the sill to the bottom of the top trim. Add 8 inches to the width and 8 inches to the height measurements so that the panel will overlap the wall framing around the opening.

Cut to Fit
You will need a hand or circular saw, drill and drill bits, hammer and wrench. Don’t forget to wear protective eye covering and gloves on this project. Be sure to purchase 5/8″ or greater exterior grade (CDX) plywood. Plywood sheets are generally 4’x8′, so your local building supply retailer can help you determine how many sheets to buy using the information about the number of openings you need to cover. More than one sheet may be necessary if you have any single opening larger than one 4’x8′ sheet of plywood.

Fastening to House
For hardware, you’ll need double-headed nails, wood screws, bolts, wood or masonry anchors, nuts and large washers. A range of types of fasteners can be used to attach a plywood shutter. The type of fastener will depend on the type of construction (wood, masonry, or concrete) and the type of exterior veneer (siding, brick or stucco.)

If the shortest dimension of the window or door is 4 feet or less, space fasteners at 6 inches on center. If the shortest dimension exceeds 4 feet, space fasteners at 3 inches on center. Mount plywood and fasten into place. Mount the plywood with 2 fasteners first (one on each corner) then install the remainder of the fasteners — this will reduce the strain on your helper and facilitate set-up.

Remember, even the best designed shutter will fail in strong winds if not installed properly. So, try to get as tight a fit as possible on the plywood. You don’t want to allow wind to get under the shutter.

Saving Shutters For the Next Storm
Finally, mark and store the shutters so they can be easily installed during a hurricane watch. Keep them out of the weather and other harmful elements.

Important to Remember
FLASH recommends that you install tested and certified impact resistant devices to provide the highest level of protection from wind-borne debris. However, in an extreme emergency where a temporary measure is the only option, FLASH recommends use of the following emergency board-up procedure:

Measure and cut 5/8 inch, exterior grade plywood that will overlap the wall framing and cover windows and doors.

Attach the plywood to cover the opening with 10d common nails, 12d box nails, wood screws or lag bolts. (If installed over masonry or stucco, vibration resistant anchors should be used.)

If the shortest dimension of the window or door is 4 feet or less, space fasteners at 6 inches on center. If the shortest dimension of the window or door is more than 4 feet and less than or equal to 6 feet, space fasteners at 4 inches on center.

Plywood shutters should be used where the shortest dimension of the window or door exceeds 8 feet.

Remember, even the best designed shutter will fail in strong winds if not installed properly. So, try to get as tight a fit as possible on the plywood. You don’t want to allow wind to get under the shutter.

Credit: Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc.