Plywood or metal shutters? What you need to know

Posted at 10:48 PM, Sep 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-06 22:50:40-04

As Hurricane Irma’s impact to Florida becomes clearer, determining what type of shutters to use can be a matter of life and death.

Driving through parts of Cape Coral it’s evident a storm is on the horizon. At dozens of homes, window treatments have been replaced with pieces of plywood, or accordion style metal shutters.

“This is just maintenance in case things do happen,” said Steve Fotta, who is helping his family cut tree limbs and remove debris from rain gutters.  “You can't predict what the winds are going to be like," said Fotta.

Many residents, like Fotta, are preparing for the worst. Experts say whether you use plywood or metal shutters, covering your windows is helpful.

“This storm panel is going to protect you just as much as a fancy roll down. This is like a Volkswagon," Lynda Allin, the owner of Allin’s Blinds Verticals & Hurricane Shutters.

Allin has been selling hurricane shutters in Cape Coral for nearly 16 years.
"This would be your Mercedes Benz, said Allin, as she showed Four In Your Corner a roll-down electric model, which Allin believes are most effective. However, if your only option is plywood she says you should go for it.
“The whole issue is plywood is better than nothing. It always baffles me that they wait until the last second and then they run off and buy plywood. Plywood really doesn't meet code, there's a whole lot of controversy when it comes to the plywood," said Allin.

If you are putting up shutters, she suggests you know exactly what kind you have.
“You need to know on your storm panel whether it's a 12 inches center or a 12.5 inch center," said Allin.

Her shop is one of few stores that still has a stockpile of supplies needed to put up shutters.

“These wing nuts right now are like gold," said Allin.

She had long lines all day; a scene that played out at businesses around town, especially gas stations.

Wednesday lines snaked around the block as drivers lined up to fill up their tanks ahead of Irma.