Alternatives to Boarding up Windows for Hurricane Protection

By November 7, 2022 September 21st, 2023 Blog

One of the most common and traditional methods of preventing hurricane damage is by using plywood sheets to board up windows and doors. There are good reasons behind this: For starters, plywood sheets are incredibly cheap, but they also offer pretty good protection during high-speed winds.

On the other hand, there are certain disadvantages to boarding up windows with plywood sheets which cause people to search for alternative protection methods.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the disadvantages of using plywood sheets for covering windows and doors, and we’ll also discuss some effective and popular alternative solutions.

Why Would you Choose an Alternative Method to Boarding Up Windows?

Firstly, it must be said that plywood sheets are completely viable and effective methods of hurricane protection. Certain alternative methods may not have the same strength as a solid plywood barrier, but there are other areas where these methods might be a better choice.

Primary Disadvantages of Plywood Sheets

  1. Boarding up windows and doors is not a one-person job
  2. Requires plenty of measuring and cutting
  3. Boards need to be nailed or screwed into place
  4. Completely blocks visibility and natural light
  5. Boards require storage space when not in use
  6. Not a permanent solution
  7. Aesthetically unappealing

boarding up windows

First, it must be said that boarding up windows with plywood sheets is not a job for just one person. Even two people can struggle and the entire process requires a lot of time.

Then there’s the need to measure the boards and cut them properly so they fit over the doors and windows. Even a small measuring mistake can make the board useless as it wouldn’t cover the window/door completely.

After cutting the boards, you’d have to nail or screw them into place, which means drilling holes is a necessity. Some homeowners might not want to do this, seeing how when you take the boards off, the holes will still be there.

On top of that, boarded-up windows don’t let any natural light through and impact overall visibility since you can’t see through them. You’ll also need a storage area where you’ll put the boards once you take them off.

While plywood sheets are a good choice in many scenarios, they are not a permanent solution. After plenty of battering (especially if you live in hurricane-prone areas), they’ll need to be replaced so you’ll have to start the entire process over again. Homes or buildings with boarded-up windows are also visually unattractive and can lower the curb value of your property.

How Can you Protect Windows Without Using Plywood Sheets

5 Alternative Methods for Storm and Hurricane Damage Mitigation

  1. Hurricane Fabric
  2. Safety and Security Window Film
  3. Storm Panels
  4. Hurricane Shutters
  5. Laminated Security Glass

Hurricane Fabric – An Efficient, Easy-to-Use Option

In simple terms, hurricane fabric is similar to bouncy fabric (that you’d see on trampolines) that you stretch and place over your windows to prevent flying debris from damaging them.

Hurricane fabric is very easy to install and use which makes it a popular alternative to plywood sheets. The entire process is simple – just clip the fabric into place, wait for the storm to pass, and unclip it. It also doesn’t take up almost any storage space.

Safety and Security Window Film – A Great Method of Strengthening Existing Glass

First thing’s first – safety and security window film isn’t as strong as plywood sheets and some other alternatives, meaning it probably won’t prevent flying storm debris from damaging or shattering your windows. However, it does provide a higher degree of safety and security.

It’s also great at keeping wind, water, and storm debris out of your home, preventing further damage to the property.

This form of window film is a pliable Mylar coating that you place right on top of the existing glass which will hold it in place in case it shatters. This can greatly reduce the likelihood of injury.

Storm Panels – A Commercial Alternative

Storm panels usually come in the form of plastic or corrugated metal sheets that you attach to the siding or framing around windows and doors to protect the glass during a hurricane or storm.

In essence, it’s the same method as boarding up your windows but you don’t have to do any measuring or cutting. Instead, you order the sheets in custom-made sizes and attach them to your home.

You can also use a combination of plastic and metal panels; plastic panels are see-through so you can place them in front of your doors and windows, while placing the metal panels on your siding. Storm panels also look better than plywood sheets.

Hurricane Shutters – An Aesthetically Pleasing Permanent Solution

Hurricane shutters are somewhat costly but are very convenient and visually appealing. Some can also be used as window blinds. There are a couple of hurricane shutter styles that you can choose, including:

  • Roll-down hurricane shutters
  • Accordion shutters
  • Bermuda/Bahama shutters
  • Colonial-style louvered shutters

Whichever style you pick, it will require the same installation method – mounting them beside or above your doors and windows. If a storm is about to hit, you’ll just have to lower them by clicking a button or by using a hand crank (depending on the style). For retail security, roll-down shutters serve as a robust barrier for retail stores, safeguarding them from the destructive forces of hurricanes and potential looting.


Laminated Security Glass – An Inconspicuous, Invisible, and Impact-Resistant Barrier

And finally, we have laminated security glass. This is a special form of glass that features an impact-resistant thermoplastic interlayer that’s sandwiched between the two layers of glass.

Laminated security glass is becoming increasingly popular in Florida and other coastal areas because they look and feel like ordinary windows, except that they provide high levels of hurricane and storm damage protection.

anti-glare window film change

This security glass is capable of withstanding and mitigating all damage from some storms, especially weaker ones. And, in the case of flying storm debris cracking the glass, it will retain its shape and strength, continuing to provide protection to residents within and prevent further property damage.


Now that we’ve covered all the alternatives to boarding up windows with plywood sheets, we hope that you’ll be able to make the best choice for your storm protection needs.

Remember – not all storm damage mitigation methods have the same strength. However, you’ll always be able to find a solution that minimizes damage caused by the storm.

We are authorized dealers of Riot Glass® Laminated Security Glass. Contact us today to learn more about our products or have your local glass contractor call us to discuss which products would be the best for applying to your property.