South Carolina Wind and Water Damage Attorneys
Recent hurricane seasons have provided painful lessons in the importance of preparing for wind and water damage. Preparation is key to preventing such damage.
The highest level of protection normally available for windows is professionally produced shutters. This level of protection can also be achieved for small- to medium-sized windows by making the shutter out of a 1/4″ polycarbonate sheet. This has the added benefit of providing a transparent shutter that will allow light in if the power goes out. The disadvantage is that the cost of polycarbonate material has continued to climb as oil prices have gone up. (A 4′ x 8′ sheet currently costs just under $200.) If you are making and installing your own shutters, you may want to consider this for your windows that allow the most daylight into living areas.
You can, of course, use thinner plywood, and IBHS recommends plywood over oriented strand board (OSB) because it takes 30% thicker OSB to equal the impact resistance of plywood. Recognize that the resistance to penetration by wind-borne debris is reduced in direct proportion to the thickness of the plywood. In other words, a 3/8″ thick plywood shutter would be only about half as effective in resisting penetration as a 3/4″ plywood shutter. IBHS recommends 5/8″ thick plywood as a minimum unless you are having problems with handling the weight of the shutter.
Some layer of plywood will always be better than not protecting your window from wind and water damage, as long as it remains in place. And even the thinner sheets will help resist the most common wind-borne debris such as small branches and shingles.
Installing Plywood Shutters
Pick out and purchase the material you want to use and cut it to the appropriate size for the type of installation you select. There are a lot of effective ways to install shutters and many more that are not.
While you can nail plywood shutters as a last resort just before a storm strikes, repeatedly putting them up and taking them down will damage the area around your windows and doors, and reduce the future quality of resistance to wind and water.
Plywood is stronger in the direction parallel to the grain. So you can take advantage of the panel’s inherent strength, place fasteners only on the sides perpendicular to the grain, or along the sides if the grain runs that way.
All doors should have three hinges and a dead-bolt lock with a minimum 1″ bolt throw length. Metal or solid wood doors may withstand hurricane pressures and wind-blown debris, but if you have double entry doors (French doors), doors with glass or hollow-core doors, you may want to shutter them.
For double entry doors, add barrel bolt restraints to the inactive door to help keep them from bursting open during violent wind and water. Make sure the bolts connect through the door header and through the threshold into the subfloor.
Consider installing a garage door that is hurricane resistant, or able to withstand wind and water expectations in the Lowcountry. If you decide to reinforce your double-wide garage door, do so at its weakest points. Install horizontal and/or vertical bracing onto each panel, using wood or light gauge metal girds bolted to the door mullions (vertical member that forms a division between units of a window, door, or screen). Heavier hinges and stronger end and vertical center supports may be required.
If you do anything that adds weight to your garage door, call a professional to make sure the door is balanced. The springs will probably need adjusting.
Source: Institute for Business and Home Safety. IBHS is a national nonprofit initiative of the insurance industry to reduce deaths, injuries, property damage, economic losses and human suffering caused by natural disasters.
Charleston Wind and Water Damage Attorney
The Charleston hurricane damage lawyers at the Clore Law Group have weathered many a storm along side their lowcountry neighbors. Call today if your wind and water damage claim estimate was too low or if your claim was denied.