Living in a storm zone can be amazingly beautiful, as you’re likely to enjoy a warm climate and favorable weather most of the year. But what about the dreaded hurricane season? The name of the game: you’ve got to be prepared for the worst. Hurricane shutters protect your home from the destructive hurricane winds and can prevent dangerous (and nightmare-fueling) scenarios, like a tornado of broken glass flying around your home.

Think of hurricane shutters as temporarily turning your windows into walls for the duration of an intense storm. There are a variety of hurricane shutters to suit every budget. You can go high-tech with automated roll-down shutters—like your own personal James Bond hideaway—or simply store some storm panels to tack onto your windows. Either way, investing in some type of hurricane shutters is a smart choice if you’re in an area prone to hurricanes, high winds, or tropical storms.

In addition to preventing costly damage to your home or business, installing hurricane shutters can also actually increase your home’s value and improve your chances of selling your home. Another great bonus? They could lower your insurance premiums.

The 5 Types of Hurricane Shutters

1. Accordion shutters

Accordion shutters are a permanent home addition. They’re incredibly easy to use and quick to set up in the case of abrupt, damaging weather and severe storms. They’re bolted to the sides of your window and, as the name suggests, open like an accordion. They’re typically made from metal or strong polycarbonate material and can be custom-fit to the exact size, curve, and dimensions of your glass doors, windows, patios, and more.

2. Storm panel shutters

A great budget pick, panel shutters come in polycarbonate, steel, or aluminum. Since they’re only used for the duration of a storm, these take a little longer to install and set up but stack away neatly when not in use. Lightweight and economical, storm panels are great for protecting doors, windows, porches, and other vulnerable structures.

3. Colonial shutters

Colonial shutters provide hurricane protection with the great advantage of added curb appeal. With the classic shutter look, these will serve a function as both protection and decoration. Colonial shutters are a permanent home addition and will stay up and open when the storms are long gone. Customize the size, color, and level of protection for each of your windows and choose from aluminum, polycarbonate, or wood.

4. Bahama shutters

Bahama shutters are typically used in tropical, warm climates, like the Bahamas. Another great option for decorative and protective double duty, Bahama shutters, in both wood and aluminum, provide additional privacy and shade for your home. Adjust these shutters, similar to an awning, to your liking while not in hurricane mode. They provide excellent shade, too. You can also coordinate the color option with your home design. There’s much to love about Bahama shutters, but most specifically, they score big in our book for their fun island style.

5. Rolling shutters

Rolling shutters can be rolled up or down to protect your home or business. They can deploy, impressively, at the touch of a button. Or, you can manually roll them up or down depending on the style. Rolling shutters are typically made from high-quality aluminum or steel. These types of material help to create a strong curtain barrier for strong wind and debris.

Hurricane Shutters FAQ

How much do hurricane shutters cost?

The price of your hurricane shutters will largely depend on the type of shutter you want, the market and location you’re in, the installation process, and the square footage of the areas that need protection. Generally, you can expect to spend at least $10 per square foot for hurricane shutters. The one exception? You won’t pay that much for plywood shutters. Those type of shutters run between $1 and $5 per square foot.

Where can I buy hurricane shutters?

Hurricane shutters can be purchased online direct from manufacturers or through home improvement stores, like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Many hurricane shutters need to be customized to fit your specific door and window frames, so it’s best to order them before hurricane season to allow enough time for preparation and installation.

How do I install hurricane shutters?

Most hurricane shutters require professional installation, although some DIY options are available. Installation costs will typically be a separate line item on your invoice in addition to the cost of the materials.

Alternatives to Hurricane Shutters

Additional options are available if you’re considering adding hurricane protections to your home. Impact resistant windows are a great alternative to hurricane shutters. They’re always ready for severe weather and no action is needed when a hurricane strikes – something that can provide some serious peace of mind during a crisis. The only drawback about these windows? They’re costly—about three times the price of normal windows.

Another tried and true budget-conscious option for hurricane protection is plywood shutters. Plywood will need to be at least ½-inch thick and be fastened around the frame of your window or door with heavy-duty screws. So get ready for some heavy lifting when prepping for a storm—you will need plenty of setup time before severe weather hits.