Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should I tape my windows when a hurricane threatens?

Answer: Absolutely not, it is a waste of effort, time, tape and it makes the glass on your windows very dangerous. Your windows' glass is designed to "crumble" upon impact. By placing tape over glass, you're making a deadly "Flying Guillotine" of a bigger piece of glass. It offers little strength to the glass and NO protection against flying debris. After the storm passes you will spend many a hot summer afternoon trying to scrape the old, baked-on tape off your windows (assuming they weren't shattered). Once a Hurricane Warning has been issued you would be better off spending your time putting up shutter over doors and windows.
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2. Should I put shutter over my doors?

Answer: Obviously sliding glass doors, French doors or any door with considerable glass in it should be protected. Garage doors (the biggest and most vulnerable opening in your home) should be replaced with impact rated doors, shuttered or professionally reinforced with storm bars such as the ones offered by Gulf Coast Shutter. During many hurricanes these type doors gave way because of a simple oversight.
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3. How do hurricane shutters actually protect my home?

Hurricane Shutters FAQsAnswer: Shutters are an important part of a hurricane-resistant or storm-resistant home. They provide protection for glass doors and windows against windborne debris, which is often present in coastal storms. Keeping the building envelope intact (i.e., no window or door breakage) during a major windstorm is vital to the structural integrity of a home. If the envelope is breached, sudden pressurization of the interior can cause major structural damage (e.g., roof loss) and will lead to significant interior and contents damage from wind-driven rain.
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4. Why should I bother with hurricane protection if I live in an evacuation zone?

Answer: Impact Windows & Doors or Hurricane Shutters will protect your house and priceless possessions from wind damage whether you are there or not. If the storm surge should reach your home then these products won’t protect against the flood of water. But not every place in the evacuation zone will flood. You should take every reasonable precaution to protect your property against windborne debris and wind pressures of a storm.
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5. What are the best kinds of hurricane protection?

Hurricane Shutters FAQsAnswer: The best kind are those that are affordable and easy to operate (according to your budget), and offer the greatest protection. Which of these properties is most important to you depends on individual circumstances. For a disabled or elderly person it may be ease of installation with either an automatic closing mechanism such as motorized Rolldown shutters. They can be manually operated from inside or outside the home or they can be motorized and remote controlled as well. For those with limited incomes, Storm Panels or Fabric Storm Screens may be the best option. For some people, the best compromise would be Accordion Shutter because they offer the protection needed for many types of openings and they’re very easy to operate. For a higher budget, Impact Windows and Doors offer the ultimate in convenience and protection since these products don’t require deployment.

Whichever type you decide on it is important to remember that shutters are only as good as the quality of their installation. Ensure that qualified workmen install the shutters or their anchors and that quality materials that meet building code for your area are used.
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6. Why should I invest in hurricane shutters and what are the benefits?

Answer: Your Treasures. Storm protection is just one reason people decide to purchase our products. We find most make the purchase to protect the investment they have in a home and all of the treasures inside. Sure, the motivation for us here on the coast is to limit the damage from hurricanes. But, did you know that roll-down and accordion shutters also provide excellent UV protection and save energy? Not to mention the added security against intruders.

Legislation. The coastal areas of the US are rapidly requiring storm protection on new homes and even homes that are undergoing a major remodel. Florida has already passed legislation requiring this protection. What the law says: "Effective January 1, 2009, a personal lines residential structure that is located in the wind-borne debris region, as defined in s. 1609.2, International Building Code (2006), and that has an insured value on the structure of $750,000 or more is not eligible for coverage by the corporation unless the structure has opening protections as required under the Florida Building Code for a newly constructed residential structure in that area. A residential structure shall be deemed to comply with the requirements of this subparagraph if it has shutters or opening protections on all openings and if such opening protections complied with the Florida Building Code at the time they were installed." Sampling of Frequently asked questions taken from Citizens website (www.citizensfla.com).

Reduced Insurance Costs. More insurance companies are offering significant discounts for homes that have rated hurricane protection over all window and door openings. Check with your insurance company for specific details.

Resale Value. You will be dollars ahead come resale time if you have already installed approved storm shutters. Many New Residents are more likely to purchase a home with storm protection than they are to purchase one without.
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7. When should I invest in Hurricane shutters?

Hurricane Shutters FAQsAnswer: Now! Don’t wait for hurricane season to come around in order to start considering Hurricane shutters. Remember that hurricane factories are being bombarded with orders, especially around hurricane season. As a result, you will have to wait a long time before your shutters can be manufactured and installed. Therefore, you will run the risk of not having shutters when hurricanes hit, even though you have already put in an order. Waiting might be a fatal mistake.
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8. Could Homeowners and Condominium association prohibit shutters?

Answer: The short answer in Florida is NO. Chapter 718 of Florida Statutes of the Condominium Act (1991) requires each board of administration (Such as Homeowners' and Condo Associations) to adopt specifications as color, style, etc., but all specifications "shall comply with the applicable building code". The Florida statutes further state "…a board shall not refuse to approve the installation or replacement of hurricane shutters conforming to the specifications adopted by the State of Florida or Local Municipalities which require one form of Removable Shutters as well as form of Permanent Shutter System to be accepted and allowed."
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9. Why should I get hurricane shutters or impact windows and doors?

Answer: People who live in coastal counties from Texas to Maine, and those in other hurricane prone areas, such as most of the Florida peninsula, will find hurricane shutters and/or impact windows and doors an excellent investment for protections their lives and property. They protect against wind and wind-borne debris. These products protect not only fortify your windows and doors, but also protect your possessions inside the building. Once a window or door has been breached by hurricane winds’ tremendous pressure, all interior walls and roof are exposed to the upward pressure of the wind pressure. This can lead to interior wall and roof failure, which exposes the entire contents of the building to the storm. Impact Windows and Doors or Hurricane Shutters are a first line of defense against the hurricane force winds. Well installed hurricane protection solutions could prevent much of the damage and building failures as experienced during major hurricanes such as Andrew, Katrina as well as others like Charlie, Jeanne and Francis.
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10. What happens if I don't have protection?

Hurricane Shutters FAQsAnswer: Once a window or door has been breached by hurricane winds tremendous pressure is brought to bear on interior walls and upward pressure on the building's roof. This can lead to roof failure which exposes the entire contents of the building to the storm. Shutters are a first line of defense against the hurricane. Much of the damage and building failure in Hurricane Andrew could have been prevented by well installed hurricane shutters over windows and doors. People who live in the Florida peninsula and other hurricane prone areas, will find shutters an excellent investment for protecting their lives and property. They protect against wind and wind-borne debris. These shutters protect not only the windows or doors they cover, but also possessions and people inside the building.
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11. Is window film a valid option for hurricane protection?

Answer: No, unfortunately not. Window Film is not a substitute for shutters, it does not meet the Citizens Requirement, and it will not protect against wind borne debris.
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12. What about the plastic film and shatter resistant windows I've heard about?

Answer: GCS is not aware of any Florida Building Code approved window film products on the market. Please refer to www.intpha.com for more information on the hazards of window film and window film providers.

Remember that the film only protects the glass, and the frame is still under pressure and the whole window could fail. Windows with these treatments will suffer damage from the impact of debris and will need to be replaced after a storm, whereas a shutter would take most or all of the energy of such an impact.
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13. How do I choose an installation company I can trust?

Answer: The same way you go about choosing any company that performs a service. Make sure they are licensed, get references, and then check the references. Ask your neighbors and friends about who installed their shutters and if they had any complaints or recommendations. Check out a company with the Better Business Bureau, your local licensing authority, or contractor association.
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14. When is the best time to get my impact windows or hurricane shutters installed?

GCS Impact WindowsAnswer: The best time to have impact windows or hurricane shutters installed is when the house is built so they can be a part of the design. If you own a house without hurricane protection, you should consider having them installed as soon as is practical. Keep in mind that the beginning of hurricane season may be a busy time for most installation companies. Do NOT wait until a Hurricane Watch is issued for your area.

At the start of each hurricane season you should test out your shutters. For permanently installed shutters try closing each one to make sure they work smoothly and lock tight. For Hurricane Panels, try a couple of windows and doors to ensure the hardware works and check the time you need to complete the job. Repair any problems at this time so that everything is ready when a storm threatens. When a Hurricane Watch is issued for your area check all mechanisms and hardware again and maybe install the more difficult shutters. If you live in an evacuation zone and it will take time to deploy your hurricane protection, you may want to start during the Watch phase. If you are not in an evacuation zone you should time your deployment early in the Warning phase so that you are not struggling with panels during high winds.
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15. What if I can’t afford commercial shutters or impact windows?

Answer: The least expensive, effective method of protecting windows is probably using plywood. The key to plywood shutters is thickness, installation and availability. You may be waiting in long lines to TRY to get Plywood that may not be available after the long wait. If you are lucky to get your hands on the limited supplies, use at least 5/8-inch exterior grade plywood (it makes the shutters heavier but safer). They should be marked for which window they are made for, and stored with their hardware, preferably in a dry location. Heat and moisture over time will warp plywood, and a good fit is essential to their effectiveness.

If even these shutters seem too expensive consider making them for two or three windows at a time, starting with the most vulnerable. After some time and extensive effort, your home may be ready for a hurricane if everything is done properly.
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16. Do I need a Permit?

Answer: Yes, and it’s the law. Building Department Plans Reviewers and Inspectors must approve each phase of your project, ensuring that the work is performed in accordance with city codes.

Working without a permit may result in fines. As well, problems might arise when you are trying to sell your property. As an example, a buyer’s Title Company will perform a permit search on your property. If there are glitches, you might receive a visit from city inspectors, resulting in you having to possible replace the shutters.

Don’t take any risks: let Gulf Coast Shutter process the permit for you. We do it every day!
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17. What are the penalties for not using a permit?

Answer: The penalty is double the permit fee for each permit required for the job. The property owner may also be cited for construction without a permit ($500).
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