How to board up windows : Experts share how to properly board up windows before Irma hits

As a hurricane approaches, protecting your home becomes a priority. One of the most vulnerable areas for damage are the windows, so it is essential to consider installing boards. Often the task of boarding windows takes quite a bit of time. And when a hurricane is approaching, time is of the
essence. There are 2 options when boarding windows: attaching directly to the structure or attaching using clips.

Design Considerations

 Most building codes don’t include provisions for storm shutters. Those few that do have design requirements
only if shutters are provided. According to these codes, shutters should deflect less than the shutter span (in inches)
divided by 30 (for instance, a 40-inch span should not bend more than 40/30 = 1.33 inches when the wind blows).
They also should bend less than 2 inches maximum and should remain at least one inch away from the window when
under full wind force.
 The easiest designs are those that simply cover the opening with a structural panel. In wood-frame construction,
panels can be nailed over the openings when a hurricane approaches. Buildings made with concrete blocks require
advance preparation.
 In some cases, stiffeners may be necessary to limit deflection of the shutter against the glass. Stiffeners function
best if the 2 x 4s are on the outside of the shutter and oriented with the narrow edge against the shutter.
Note: The shutter design shown here will provide significant protection from hurricane-force winds. This serves
as a guide only. It does not include all possible shutter, anchor and fastening systems and the installer must adjust
all dimensions to compensate for particular installations and hardware used. These shutter designs by no means
represent all possible workable designs and can always be upgraded to provide even greater margins of safety and
protection. All shutter designs herein are intended to be temporary, and mounted and removed from outside the
building. All designs are based on wind pressure capacities only.
 This APA hurricane shutter design is based on pressures associated with a design wind speed of 120 mph.
Building codes are currently being reviewed for possible changes. Before constructing shutters, therefore, it is
important to check with your local building department for an update on current code requirements.
Using Window Clips
 To help ease the process and to cut time, there is a product available that can make boarding easier and more
effective: PLYLOX™ window clips.
Some facts about window clips:
 • Available in a variety of economical package sizes and quantities.
 • Clips securely attach to 1/2" plywood which the fits into exterior window casings. No special tools, caulking,
adhesives or glue required. Install and remove with one person.
 • Clips create rigid, safe, temporary attachment of plywood to brick, wood, or stucco window casings. No nails,
screws, bolts or brackets will permanently damage your property.
 • Clips require no drilling into your home or window casings
 • Clips hold plywood sheets in window casings as well or better than any hardware available today.
 • Clips are rugged and will last year after year. If you move, take them with you.
Measuring Plywood for Clips
 Work left-to-right, floor-by-floor. Measure each window casing and record each measurement. When using clips,
EXACT measurements are essential to the plywood and the clips fitting firmly into the spaces. Small errors can lead
to recutting the plywood.
 When using clips, the true height should be the measured height from top to bottom of the casing minus one
quarter inch. The true width should be the measured width from side to side of the casing minus one quarter inch.
This will give the needed eighth inch clearance all the way around the entire window for a snug fit.
HURRICANE
ESSENTIALS: How-To Board Windows 3
Installing the Clips
 • Place the clips on each plywood cover (if the window is 24”x24” or smaller, only two clips are needed).
 - Each clip should be placed on the edge of the plywood cover no more than 24 inches apart.
 - Make sure the tension legs are facing towards you.
 • Push the plywood covers with the clip tension legs to the outside firmly into the casing.
 • Clips work as well in round windows as they do in rectangular windows. You can adjust the number of clips used to
account for different shapes and sizes of windows.
Removal of Boards with Clips
 • Press in on the plywood.
 • Put you finger behind the tension leg and pull the tension leg towards you. Work with the clips on one side of the plywood
sheet. (A screwdriver can help)
 • As the tension legs are pulled away from the brick the plywood sheet comes right out. Carefully remove the plywood
sheet from the window. For large sheets of plywood you may need a helper.
 • Remove clips from plywood and store in a dry place.
 • Store the plywood for re-use.
Anchoring the boards to Tapcons
 • Work left-to-right, floor-by-floor. Measure each window casing and record each measurement.
 • When attaching with Tapcons, 5 inches needs to be added to BOTH the height and width so there is sufficient coverage
around the window frame.
 • Now that your plywood is measured and cut, you’ll need screws, masonry anchors and large washers.
 • Drill holes 2 1 /2 inches from the outside edge of the plywood at each corner and at 12-inch intervals.
 • Place the plywood over the opening and mark each hole position on the outside wall.
 • Drill holes with the appropriate size and type of bit for the anchors. Install the anchors, the plywood, and the bolts to
make sure they fit properly.
 • On wood-frame houses, make sure that the anchors are secured into the solid wood that frames the door or window
and not into the siding or trim.
 • Mark each board so you will know where it is to be installed and store them and the bolts in an accessible place.
Installing Polycarbonate Panels
 Now, there is an alternative to plywood that is not only 60% lighter but also provides natural light into your home
when power is out and indoor lighting is unavailable.
 You’ll need to first make sure your window coverings are strong enough to keep your windows intact. Because
most home building codes don’t cover this issue, the proper standards of covering strength are not common
knowledge.
 Polycarbonate panels are 200 times stronger than glass and they have been approved by the Florida Building
Code and the Texas Department of Insurance. They also come with a 10 year limited warranty. These panels are
significantly stronger than plywood and they are less likely to allow projectiles to break through your windows and into
your home.
HURRICANE
ESSENTIALS: How-To Board Windows 4
Installing Polycarbonate Panels
 • To help ease the process and to cut time, there is an installation kit containing all of the parts you need to install
a panel. Also, each polycarbonate sheet has large scale instructions attached to the board.
 • Work left-to-right, floor-by-floor. Measure each window casing and record each measurement.
 • When attaching panels, 8 inches needs to be added to BOTH the height and width so there is sufficient coverage
around the window frame.
 • Using your measurements, mark off the panel and cut using a circular saw. Since the edges may be rough,
sand them using 100 or 120 grit sandpaper.
 • Mark holes 6 inches from the end of the panel for each corner. Equally space the remaining holes from the center
of each side with a maximum of 14 inches between each hole.
 • Drill holes at each of those marks.
 • Place the board over the opening and mark each hole position on the outside wall.
 • Using a hammer drill, drill holes in the structure using a masonry drill bit.
 • Insert the tapcons into the holes and place a washer over each Tapcon.
 • Place the polycarbonate over the washers. Secure the polycarbonate using washered wingnuts.
 Don’t forget to mark each piece of polycarbonate that you have cut so you will know where it is to be installed and
so you can use it again.
 Your windows are now protected against the damaging winds of hurricanes. Remember to save and store all
materials you have used in case you would like to use them again in a future storm.
Materials/Products:
 Recommended Items Item Number
 1⁄2 inch plywood 12192
 2 x 4 inch wood strips
 Bertha Polycarbonate Storm Panel 62215, 64135
 Bertha/EMS Clear Wall Panel 81 Piece Hardware Kit 64024
 Plylox Clips 136077
 Circular Saw 136556
 Large Washers 68882
 Black & Decker 24 V Hammer Drill 136533
 5/32 Tapcon Drill Bit or 3/16 Tapcon Drill Bit
 2 inch Coarse Thread Drywall Screws 60038
 3/16 or 1⁄4 Inch Width by 2 1⁄4 or 2 3⁄4 Length Tapcons 74247, 79367, 55086
 Tape Measure
 Screwdriver/Nutdriver
 Permanent Marker and Paper