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Outside Doors Can be Protected From a Hurricane

Outside Doors Can be Protected From a Hurricane

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A thorough review of the extensive damage in south Florida from Hurricane Andrew in 1992 – one of only three Category 5 storms ever to hit the U.S. mainland – concluded that homes have four weak points when it comes to the low air pressure and high winds from a hurricane. One of those weak points is any outside door to a home. The wind will seek out any weak spots in a home and attack that compromised area. Once inside a home, the wind can create significant damage and allow more rain and wind inside. Here are some ways to protect outside doors in a home from a hurricane.

Secure door locks. A contractor or other expert should inspect all of the exterior doors in your home. They will first look for obvious problems such as hinge screws that are missing or loose. Beyond that, how secure are the doors in their frames? Longer screws can be used that actually go through the door jambs and secure the hinges to the house framing. If you don’t have a strong deadbolt on exterior doors, one can be easily added, and decorative French doors can have the bolts into the flooring extended for a more secure connection.

Change out glass in doors. If you have sliding glass doors, French doors or other types of doors with windows you have a weak point in your home for the low pressure and high winds that can come with a hurricane. One option is to replace the doors with high-impact glass that is rated to withstand hurricane-force winds. These windows have two panes of glass with a rugged plastic film between those panes. Another option is to change out the doors with glass to impact rated doors. These come in a variety of styles and are designed with a steel plate inside the door.  

Get plywood shutters. Another option is to have half-inch to three-quarter-inch plywood covers precisely measured and cut from plywood to cover your exterior doors as a strong storm approaches. You can have an expert prepare these covers in advance – when it is much easier and cheaper to buy plywood from local hardware stores. That will not only save a lot of time but if a hurricane is heading toward your city, plywood and other hurricane preparation supplies will sell out quickly. With anchors already installed, the plywood can be securely and quickly fastened over doors – and windows as well. These plywood shutters offer protection from flying debris as well as the winds and low pressure of a hurricane.

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