Ensuring that steel buildings are properly protected from storms requires time and money. Plywood shutters are the most commonly used type of hurricane shutters mainly because of the price. They do not meet most building codes, yet many owners of steel buildings still use them either because these people do not have the luxury of time to hire a professional contractor or these shutters are the only ones they can afford.
Plywood shutters may be the least expensive of all, but they also offer protection as long as they are properly installed. The main disadvantage of these shutters is that the building owner must make them and install them himself. In addition, the plywood material is very heavy and very awkward to install.
There are many ways to install plywood shutters. The least effective method, which is usually used by people with minimal amount of time to prepare, is to let the plywood overlap the framed opening. Then, the wood is attached to the walls using appropriate nails.
Before installing the plywood shutters, consider making a drawing of the steel building and marking each framed opening with a special number to match the labels of the plywood shutters.
Overlapping plywood shutters are the only option when windows or doors do not have a 2-inch inset. These are the steps in making overlapping plywood shutters and how to install them:
· Make sure the plywood is 5/8 inches thick. Remember that plywood is strongest in the direction of its wood grain.
· Cut plywood to overlap each window opening by at least 4 inches.
· For larger openings, such as doors, connect multiple plywood sheets with 2x4s or sturdy hinges.
· Drill matching holes through the plywood sheet and the wall where it will be attached.
· Label each plywood panel with “top”, “bottom” and the number of window or door it fits (refer to drawing).
· Hammer sleeve lead anchors into the wall holes made earlier.
· Screw or bolt the plywood in the anchors.
(Tomorrow: Barrel-Bolt Method)