How Much Do Hurricane Shutters Cost?
Preparing your house for hurricanes is a good investment to keep your family safe and reduce repair costs when disaster strikes. Hurricane shutters cost $1,941 to $5,716 to install, with a national average of $3,813.
- Typical Range: $1,941 to $5,716
- National Average: $3,813
Hurricane season is a yearly concern for many people living along the southeastern and eastern coast of the U.S. While there’s nothing you can do to avoid hurricanes in these regions, there are steps you can take to protect your property—and in some states, these measures are mandatory. Using hurricane shutters to protect windows and glass doors helps prevent damage from flying objects when your area is experiencing strong gales. Hurricane shutters cost between $1,941 and $5,716, with an average cost of $3,813. You can choose from several materials to protect your windows; just make sure they are correctly rated for hurricanes. The cost to install hurricane shutters is primarily driven by labor, materials, and the size and number of windows that need to be covered.
Factors in Calculating Hurricane Shutters Cost
Getting hurricane shutters installed is an excellent idea to prevent having to replace broken windows with every storm that blows through. Expect to pay between $5 and $60 per square foot for materials, with labor costs adding an additional $45 to $100 per hour. The kind of materials also influences the price. Keep reading for the top factors to keep in mind when budgeting for hurricane shutters costs.
Labor and Permits
Labor rates to install hurricane shutters can vary by location and material. According to HomeAdvisor, $45 to $100 per hour is an average range for labor costs. Most hurricane-affected states require permits to install storm shutters. Homeowners may also need approval from an HOA (homeowners association) to make sure the shutters meet neighborhood requirements. Most permits cost an average of $85 but can range between $45 and $140.
Homeowners can choose from several materials to protect from storm damage: wood, metal, fabric, aluminum, or plastic. Plywood is the least expensive and least permanent, with a cost of $2 to $6 per square foot. From there, the prices vary between $5 and $60 per square foot, with electric roll-down metal shutters being the most expensive.
While Florida is commonly a target for hurricanes due to its geographic position, many other Gulf and eastern states are at high risk of hurricanes. The cost of living from Texas to North Carolina varies, so the cost of labor and materials will be different. Generally, hurricane shutters in large cities will cost more than they would in more rural areas.
Shutter Composition, Type, and Style
A hurricane shutter for windows can come in all shapes and sizes, which is helpful for homeowners who prefer to choose a shutter that suits their house style or offers maximum protection. Bahama, accordion, roll-up, colonial, and fabric are some of the top choices. Most of these shutters are permanent fixtures that remain in place for aesthetic purposes (like the Bahama shutters), but others can be folded away when they’re not in use or removed entirely. If you need a particular finish or special mounting hardware, the costs will also increase. The same is true if your shutters require a special storm bar to be installed to ensure the shutters remain in place during a storm.
Size and Design of Windows and Doors
The cost of hurricane shutters are also driven by how many windows or doors need covering. On average, it takes about an hour to put up 7 square feet of shutters. Most shutters are 24 inches by 42 inches or 7 square feet, so it will take about an hour to install shutters on one window. For example, if you chose a Bahama shutter for $20 per square foot and installed only one, it would cost $140 for labor and materials, on average.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Installing hurricane shutters is a wise choice to protect your home against storm damage, but you need to factor in all the options when budgeting for hurricane shutter costs. Depending on your storage capacity and preferences, you may prefer to pay for permanent or temporary shutters. Custom fittings are another potential cost factor. A reduction in homeowners insurance premiums, however, may offset some of these costs.
Permanent Shutters vs. Temporary Paneling
In most cases, it’s less expensive to install temporary paneling compared to permanent shutters. Hurricane fabric is one example. It’s a temporary installation with an excellent track record for protecting windows, and homeowners can put up the fabric themselves before each storm. More permanent structures, like roll-down metal doors, remain in place year-round. They operate like a garage door, so they’re easy to get into position during storm preparations, but they are more expensive to install.
Some homes have large or oddly shaped windows. These will require some customization to build a hurricane shutter that fits snugly. Customizing any construction material will always cost more, so check online for “hurricane shutters near me” to find a company that can quote a custom window. Skylights are another feature that will require a custom fitting to make sure they’re fully protected.
Since insurance companies don’t want to pay more than necessary for home repairs caused by natural events, they often offer incentives for homeowners to protect their properties. Talk with your home insurance provider to determine how much you could save on premiums if you installed FEMA-rated hurricane shutters. For example, in Florida, the average premium savings for homeowners is $520 per year.
Hurricane Shutters Cost: Types of Hurricane Shutters
Even though every kind of hurricane shutter has the same purpose, they each have their unique features and benefits—and drawbacks, in some cases. Choosing the right shutters for your house should take planning and consulting with a pro to make sure you install shutters that provide adequate protection, are easy to use, and suit your style. Here are the top types of hurricane shutters and their associated costs.
In many areas, homeowners use plywood to cover their windows as a temporary protection method. Even with this simple method, there are recommendations to make sure they’re effective. The plywood should be at least ⅝-inch thick, be secured with ¼-inch screws or lag bolts, and overlap the window by at least 4 inches. The materials cost $2 to $6 per square foot, making it economical if done correctly.
Hurricane fabric shutters are much more than just a bit of canvas tacked over the windows. These are thick materials reinforced with PVC or mesh, then coated with resin to make them even more durable and resistant to tears. Fabric shutters can be attached with grommets or slide brackets and buckles or installed in a roll-down style. Hurricane fabric costs $5 to $15 for materials and $45 to $100 per hour for installation.
Another less-expensive option is the clear polycarbonate style of hurricane shutters. For $10 to $15 per square foot, homeowners can choose and install a style that’s certified to protect the windows. They are an accordion-style shutter that resists damage since the wavy surface deflects the impact of debris.
Metal storm panels are the least-expensive permanent option at $10 to $20 per square foot. These hurricane panels are built to overlap each other for extra protection during a storm and are made of corrugated metal, steel, plastic, or aluminum. The tracks remain in place all year, but the metal shutters can be removed and stored to allow light into the house when not in use.
The accordion style of hurricane shutters is similar to the corrugated storm panels with one difference: Accordion shutters fold into a box attached to the window. This type costs $15 to $30 per square foot with a labor cost of $45 to $100 per hour for every 7 square feet. The shutters will remain on the windows permanently, though they’re hidden in a box that can be painted to match the home. Accordion shutters are usually made of aluminum or plastic.
For a dual-purpose hurricane shutter, homeowners might prefer Bahama hurricane shutters. These are a single shutter that’s raised over the window like an awning. The louvered slats provide shade from the sun, which can also cool the house from the heat all year long. When it’s time to prepare for a storm, simply remove the rod and secure the shutter to the bottom of the window. Bahama shutters cost between $20 and $35 per square foot before installation.
Colonial shutters are traditional-looking hurricane shutters that let the home’s exterior look more stylish than other options might. They have the same louvered slats that traditional shutters have, but they’re usually more durable than non-hurricane window shutters. During storm preparation, fold them in toward each other, then secure them to withstand the wind. Colonial shutters cost $20 to $35 on average for materials.
Roll-Up or Roll-Down
Roll-up or roll-down hurricane shutters function like a similarly styled garage door. A metal box is installed above or below the window or door, and the paneled metal or plastic door is rolled up or down as needed to protect the glass. They can be operated manually by a crank or with an electric motor for easy use. Once they’re open, they should be bolted down to remain secure. Rolling hurricane shutters usually cost $25 to $60 per square foot in addition to installation costs. These are considered the most secure kind of storm protection.
Motorized or Electric Hurricane Shutters
You could choose to install a motor to operate rolling or accordion shutters if you didn’t want to prepare each window manually. On top of the labor and material costs of the preferred shutter, installing a motor on each window costs around $600.
Hurricane screens are similar to hurricane fabric, but they’re made with PVC-coated fabric, polypropylene, or even Kevlar. They make an extremely durable material to protect windows from storm damage. Expect to pay $5 to $15 per square foot before installation.
Do I Need Hurricane Shutters?
Spending the extra money on hurricane shutters can seem fruitless or excessive, but it’s essential to know that it’s the law in many coastal regions to have some kind of hurricane shutters installed. If you live in an area with a history of hurricanes—even infrequent ones—spending some money up front can save in the long run on much costlier window repairs. Hurricane shutters are the best way to minimize property damage from excessive winds, debris, and water. Not only can you potentially get a reduction in home insurance premiums, but you’ll also have a 50 percent return on investment after installing adequate hurricane shutters.
Many coastal areas or states have mandates regarding protection methods against storm damage. In Florida, homes built after 2001 are required to have some kind of storm protection on their windows. Homeowners can choose hurricane shutters or impact windows to meet this requirement. While these kinds of mandates can be frustrating to adhere to, they are designed to prevent excessive property damage, which can burden emergency services and local businesses that can’t keep up with demand to replace or repair damaged property.
For homeowners in North Carolina, insurance companies are now required to provide premium discounts if the homeowner adds hurricane-rated shutters to their house. Check with your local municipalities to find out what specific laws apply in your region.
History of Storms
Learn about the history of hurricane storms in your region: their frequency, intensity, and average duration. If you’re in an area that typically sees a hurricane one or more times per year, consider one of the stronger or more permanent kinds of hurricane shutters. The up-front costs of hurricane shutters could be offset quickly when they protect your home more than once each year.
For homeowners who live in an area that sees hurricanes less than once per year, the temporary kind of hurricane shutters could be a good option. They can be installed quickly when needed, but they don’t affect a home’s appearance when not in use.
Previous Property Damage or Injury
Property damage can occur due to a hurricane, even when you don’t live right on the coast. Homes that are 100 miles inland could still experience strong winds and rains from a powerful hurricane that makes landfall. If your home is located within a frequent path of hurricanes, adding some kind of storm protection to your windows is a good idea. This is especially true if you’ve just moved to a hurricane-prone region and discovered there had been repairs to your house from previous storms. The last thing you want is to learn how dangerous broken glass is or how hard the wind blows debris and rain through a broken window as you shelter in place. Keep you and your family safe by doing what you can to prevent storm damage to your house.
Impact Windows vs. Hurricane Shutters
Homeowners aren’t limited to only using hurricane shutters to meet local safety requirements. Another option is to install impact windows. If you’re most concerned with your home’s visual aesthetics, then you might want to consider impact windows. Older windows used a single or double pane of glass for protection from the elements. Tempered windows are built stronger than regular glass and come with two panes for extra protection.
Impact windows take it up another notch by including a layer of clear plastic or resin laminate (made of PVB or EVA) between the two glass panes to help prevent the glass from shattering when it’s hit by debris. It’s the same kind of window glass as used for car windshields, which are designed to avoid breaking into shards of glass on impact. Since these windows are stronger than regular windows, they have a higher price tag as well. Expect to pay an average of $6,510 to install impact windows, which is almost double the average cost of hurricane shutters.
If you’d prefer a lower-cost option, installing hurricane shutters is the better alternative. These temporary or permanent fixtures are designed to protect the windows and will deflect wind, rain, and debris. If you choose a permanent fixture, you can select a color that suits your house so it blends in rather than stands out. Hurricane shutters costs vary based on the kind of material. From accordion and rolling shutters to Bahama shutters, your windows will be protected from damage thanks to durable metal, aluminum, or plastic shutters that are built to withstand heavy damage. The average cost of hurricane shutters is $3,813.
Hurricane Shutters Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Adding extra home protection features can be an unexpected cost for some people, making them curious about DIY hurricane shutter installation. If you have the tools to attach plywood sheets to your windows and doors using lag bolts, you can certainly try to complete your own window protection. Just know that this is a temporary method that you’ll need to repeat frequently, and plywood can still be ripped off the windows in some cases. Homeowners can attach other types of shutters before each storm, as long as they’re adequately informed on how to secure them.
Since you’re trying to protect the most vulnerable parts of your house, it’s best to leave the installation of hurricane shutters to a pro. The last thing you want is to secure a shutter improperly and have a storm rip it off and cause damage. Leave the tough job to a shutter installer who will know how to work with the materials and properly install them. In some cases, hurricane shutters have to be installed per specific building codes, which means the contractor is the most qualified person to install them. Beyond that, if you’re not sure what the best kind of shutter is for your house, what would be easiest for you to use, or what won’t look too out of place, have a shutter contractor come to your house for a consultation. They’ll be able to determine some great options and offer a custom quote for your house.
How to Save Money on Hurricane Shutters
It’s natural to want to save money on most home improvement projects, but sometimes it’s better to avoid the cheapest options available. You wouldn’t want to risk the safety of your home and family just to save a few dollars. The endgame for hurricane shutters is that they save you money in the long run, even if they have a high up-front cost. Nevertheless, there are a few ways to avoid having to pay excessive rates for hurricane shutters costs.
- Choose the right shutter for your needs. Plywood is inexpensive, but it may not do the job. On the other hand, every window doesn’t have to have the more expensive rolling shutters. Choose the style that offers protection at the right price, even if it’s a combination of types of shutters.
- Don’t skip any windows. You might be tempted to do only the windows that face the coast to save money, but the winds can change directions, especially in the middle of the storm.
- Check various insurance policies. If your policy doesn’t offer a discount incentive for hurricane-rated shutters or impact windows, shop around to find one that does. The premium savings could add up year-over-year to make up the costs of installing them.
- Install shutters before hurricane season. You can probably find installation discounts for installing hurricane shutters long before hurricane season hits. Requesting installation right before a storm or right after will cost more due to demand.
- Get multiple quotes. As always, don’t hesitate to price shop. Contractors may have specials or offer different options that fit within your budget.
Questions to Ask About Hurricane Shutters
Since the safety of your home and family are at stake here, you want to make sure you choose the right shutters and the right installer. Be prepared for your consultation by reviewing these questions you can ask your installer about hurricane shutters.
- Are you licensed and insured?
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have references I can contact?
- Are you familiar with local building codes for hurricane shutters?
- What types of shutters are you comfortable working with?
- What kind of shutter do you recommend for my house?
- Will I need custom-built shutters?
- What if I want to use fabric shutters on my windows but a rolling shutter on my glass doors?
- How long will it take to install the shutters?
- Do you charge by the hour or a flat rate per window?
- Do you offer any discounts or season specials?
- Are there any guarantees or warranties you offer or that are offered by the manufacturers?
- How long should these shutters last?
- How do I use them?
- What if I have a problem getting them to shut as I prepare for a storm?
- What do I need to do to maintain them?
Before you hire a shutter contractor, make sure you have all the information you need about hurricane shutters and their costs. We’ve compiled several of the most frequently asked questions and their answers to help guide your decision-making process.
Q. How much does it cost to install an anti-impact guard on a window?
The average cost of anti-impact guards is $5 to $12 per square foot. Since this is only a film that’s applied to the window pane to resist damage, you’ll likely need a second layer of protection like hurricane fabric to make sure you are fully protected.
Q. What is the average cost of hurricane shutters in Florida?
The average cost to install hurricane shutters in Florida is $3,500. The exact price will vary if you have more windows than the average house or choose a more expensive material.
Q. Do I need hurricane shutters for all of my windows?
It’s best to cover all glass windows or doors, even if you think they’re protected on one side of the house. Hurricanes are violent storms with winds that can change directions depending on which part of the storm you’re in.