Any homeowner who lives in a hurricane zone has to take additional steps to help protect their homes from any inclement weather that comes up, and this can lead to wondering about hurricane shutters cost to help protect their windows. You can install hurricane shutters over windows of all sizes and styles, but this can make your hurricane shutter cost fluctuate, depending on the windows. However, they’re necessary since they can help to protect your house from damage due to flying debris and hurricane-speed winds. Additionally, adding these shutters is a great way to lower your home insurance premiums and repair costs.
You’ll also get greater peace of mind during a hurricane since they can work to protect you from injury during a storm and keep your family safe. They could provide a safeguard against looting that sometimes happens after a hurricane goes through if you have to leave the property during this time and your house sits vacant. The hurricane shutters cost depends on the size of the windows, number of windows, and the material and shutter style.
In the United States, your hurricane shutter cost can range between 2,000 to 8,000. For 320 square feet of hurricane protection, the average hurricane shutter cost is $5,100. You’ll pay between $5.00 to $60.00 for every square foot of materials and $45.00 to $100 and hour in labor costs. So, larger-scale projects can take longer and drive up your hurricane shutter cost. Depending on the style and size, installation for every seven square feet of hurricane shutters takes around an hour to put up from start to finish.
If you’re considering adding these style shutters to your home, you’ll want to get a more thorough estimate of your hurricane shutter cost before you start this project. You don’t want to run out of money halfway through or have to compromise on the material or style you want due to your budget. So, having a working estimate that is as accurate as possible for your hurricane shutter cost is a good idea. This comprehensive guide will give you an excellent starting point.
Hurricane shutters can help lower your home insurance premium if you live in a storm-prone area like a coastal town or Florida. There are permanent and temporary shutter styles available that you can install to protect your home. October 5, 2016 by osseous / CC BY 2.0
Hurricane Shutter Costs by Material and Type
First off, you have to decide what type of material you want for your hurricane shutters. This is one of the biggest price indicators available, so picking out a material first gives you a solid base to build the rest of your budget on for the shutters you’ll need to protect your hurricane-proof windows. The most popular types of material for these shutters include:
When you don’t use these style shutters, they’ll fold up accordion-style. The contracts will permanently attach them to your home, and you can open and close them as you need. You can get a single panel that attaches to one side of your window, or you can get two separate pieces that attach one one either side and meet in the middle of the window. Aluminum is a very popular material for these shutters because it’s very lightweight but durable and resistant to corrosion.
They use a track-and-wheel system to unfold and fold back up, and this makes it quick and easy for one person to maneuver. These are also economical picks, and this means both the single or double sided designs. The hurricane shutter cost for this style will start around $14.00 a square foot and go up to $28.00 a square foot. If you don’t want to remove and store seasonal protection, these are a nice choice.
Bahama-style hurricane shutters look like traditional shutters with one big difference. Instead of being in two pieces, they come in one large piece. You’ll have them installed by attaching them at the top of your window and you prop them up using a rode that extends out from your window frame. You can paint them to match your home’s trim and your trellises for a cohesive look.
The way these shutters prop open also provide a light shade for your window when you don’t use them and have them propped open. These shutters look very similar to window awnings that are popular in warm climates. They also offer top-of-the-line protection and beauty for your home, but they can be difficult to install on second-story windows. Per square foot, the hurricane shutter cost for Bahama-style shutters starts at $20.00 and goes up to $32.00. It can protect against heat damage as well as hurricanes.
Colonial-style shutters are a second type that mimics the look of traditional shutters. You even get the exact same louvered texture with them as you’d get with regular shutters. The shutters come designed to fit one-half of your window, so each window gets two shutters with one installed on each side.
When it’s time to cover the pane before a storm hits, all you have to do is fold them together and secure them with the locking mechanism. Once the storm is over, you can unlatch it and open them back up to leave your windows open and let the light in. Depending on the shutters’ quality, the hurricane shutter cost ranges from $22.00 to $35.00 a square foot.
If you don’t want to have more expensive permanent shutters or deal with cumbersome plywood every time it storms, fabric is another option. They’re also called wind abatement screens, and they work similar to popup privacy screens for your yard. They come with a very thick layer of material that has a synthetic PVC or tough resin coating on them to make them more durable.
You’ll attach these fabric storm panels with bolts and grommets and stretch them over your windows. You can also attach them with buckles and straps or get a rolling screen system for a more permanent solution. If you choose this installation option, you simply roll them up and down as you need them. They’re easy to store and very lightweight, and your hurricane shutter cost will range from $5.00 to $15.00 a square foot.
Maybe you don’t want to have formal hurricane shutters or they’re just not in your budget. If so, many people choose to use sheets of plywood instead. You can create plywood hurricane shutters by yourself, and they should be at least ⅝-inches thick. Your plywood should overlap your windows by at least four inches on each side to give your windows adequate protection.
You’ll need ¼-inch screws at the very least to attach the sheets of plywood to your home. You can also use three or four-inch barrel bolts. This is considered to be the most basic material you can use for hurricane shutters, and it can be time-consuming to install. The hurricane shutter cost is low at $1.50 to $6.00 a square foot for the plywood. You’ll add $12.00 to $27.00 more for the installation hardware. Since this is usually a DIY project, there are no labor costs to worry about.
Storm panels are a very durable type of shutter that uses corrugated aluminum or steel in their design that isn’t extremely heavy but it is very durable. They have several panels that overlap one another to add to the durability factor, and they do this by reinforcing each other. This gives you maximum protection while not increasing your costs too much.
These are a very economical choice for the material they use, especially if you have fewer windows. They are some of the least expensive options for permanent shutters. You can also get plastic panels that are less durable, and the hurricane shutter cost for storm panels ranges from $7.50 to $17.00 a square foot.
Imagine a garage door that rolls down and you’ll get a good picture of how these shutters look. It’s a much smaller scale, but you can tailor them to fit your window’s size. When you’re not using these shutters, they’ll go into a storage box that sits along the top of your window to keep them neatly hidden. This allows them to work well with several housing styles without sticking out.
You can have an electronic closing device on them that allows them to close automatically with the push of a button, or you can get manual ones. They’re an excellent option for covering larger areas with a single shutter, and they’re a nice alternative to fixed shutter options. Your hurricane shutter costs range from $24.00 to $60.00 a square foot, so they’re on the more expensive side.
Choosing a material and type for your shutters will be the biggest dictating factors in your total hurricane shutter cost along with labor. Some require professional installation, but you can install some yourself to help control your costs. DSCF0227 by Robert Eiserloh / CC BY-NC 2.0
How Much Motorized or Electric Shutters Cost
An electric roll-down-style shutter comes with louver panels that have hinges. The contractors will attach them permanently to any window or doorway opening. These shutters work best to cover larger areas like a pool house, hot tub enclosure, or an outdoor recreational area. You can use them for smaller coverings too. They’re always ready to install before a storm hits, and they’re very user-friendly for a single person to operate.
Roll-down-style shutters come in manual, battery, or electric styles. Electric models will work with the push of a button. However, this can be a problem if your storm brings a power outage and you don’t have a generator to power the shutters. This is why you always want to install a manual hand crank or a battery backup with them. This makes the battery-powered systems more expensive than manual options.
Your installation fees for a battery backup or manual crank usually come already included in your initial hurricane shutter cost estimate. If you have a battery-powered shutter, you won’t need to call in an electrician. As a bonus, your shutters will work whether or not you have power. To add a battery backup feature, it’ll increase your hurricane shutter cost by $200 to $300.
Adding a manual control is the most budget-friendly choice, but it’s not as convenient for a single person to run around and manually open and close the shutters. It’ll cost around $100 to install a hand crank on your shutters. Your hurricane shutters cost will vary depending on the mechanism type you pick out, but they’ll cost you between $22.00 and $40.00 a square foot.
Temporary Paneling Versus Permanent Shutter Prices
If you’re after an inexpensive hurricane shutter cost, you may end up picking fabric storm panels instead of full-on shutters. You can choose from a variety of materials with these panels, and many of them come coated with a durable resin that gets tested to prove the impact resistance. So, they’re very lightweight while still being able to protect your home. Some even have a Category Five wind load rating.
If you want a DIY option, fabric paneling is easy to install. This can help keep your hurricane shutters cost low because you cut out the installation costs associated with the project. They’re relatively simple to repair if something goes wrong and they should tear, and this can save you in maintenance costs. You can retro fit a fabric panel to your window if it’s an odd size, and this removes the need to order a custom shutter. The most popular options include:
Astroguard will increase your hurricane shutter cost by $3.00 to $6.00 a square foot, so it’s a very budget-friendly option. This fabric comes wind-tested for Category Five storms, and this makes it stronger than most fabric types. It’s easy to install and lightweight. When you’re not going to use it, you can pop it into the included storage bags and hang it up in your shed. You will have to manually install them between storms, and they do use special clips that permanently attach to your home.
The second option you have available to you is mesh, and mesh is something that can cover a very large area at one time. You can get permanent mounting fasteners to attach to your home to help speed up the installation while you do your storm prep.
They also allow natural light to enter your home, and they can increase your hurricane shutter cost by $10.00 to $12.00 a square foot. They won’t give you as much protection as other shutters, and there are fewer colors available. Mesh can also be heavy and require two or more people to install.
Some hurricane shutters are see-through, and this allows you to keep them up and ready all year-round without a problem. Some roll or flip open to allow light inside too. Hurricane Shutters in Progress by Abby flat-coat / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Hurricane Shutters Versus Impact-Resistant Windows
If you’re concerned about aesthetics and your home’s general curb appeal, you may choose to install impact-resistant windows instead of hurricane shutters. You may hear these windows called hurricane window glass, and they have very thick glass. There is also an inner layer of EVA or PVB to make them more durable. These windows use the same technology that you’ll find in vehicle windshields.
If something were to impact the glass like flying debris, the glass will shatter instead of breaking into shards and cutting you. They can provide greater protection than shutters, but they have a much higher price tag attached to them. You’ll spend between $60.00 and $80.00 a square foot for the windows and the installation costs.
Average Labor Pricing
Your labor costs will heavily depend on the material you choose for your shutters. Generally speaking, inexpensive options include plywood or fabric panels because they’re DIY and you don’t usually pay out for labor costs. Accordion, Bahama, and Colonial shutter styles will come into the mid-range price category. The ones that have a higher price range usually require a professional while the more inexpensive options don’t need anyone but you.
You’ll want to budget for an hour of labor for every seven square feet of hurricane shutters you need to install. Your contractors can charge anywhere from $45.00 to $100 an hour, and this can quickly drive up your hurricane shutters cost. You’ll spend an average of $70.00 an hour for labor. Say you have around 320 square feet of windows on your home. The labor costs would be around $3,350, not including materials. For a 24-inch by 24-inch window, you’d typically pay between $230 and $550 for labor fees.
Additional Hurricane Shutter Cost Factors
Trying to pick out the best hurricane shutters can be very overwhelming, especially when you have to figure out the other cost factors that are essential to this project. Forgetting them can cause you to run out of money before you finish your project. The additional factors include:
- Location – Your location will play a role in how expensive your hurricane shutter costs end up being because some contractors charge more per hour. This can increase your labor costs.
- Mounting Hardware – You can get permanent mounting hardware to attach to your home to hang your shutters. They’ll increase your hurricane shutter costs because it increases your labor and project time.
- Season – It can be more expensive to install your shutters in certain seasons, especially during storm season. To control your hurricane shutter costs, install them in the off-season for storms when the contractors aren’t so busy.
- Shutter Composition – The materials your shutters come made out of are one of the biggest factors because they have a large cost range. This is one of the first things you figure out and budget.
- Shutter Size – Since your windows come in different sizes and shapes, your shutters will have to as well. Odd-shaped and larger windows will drive up your hurricane shutter costs because you’ll most likely need to custom-order shutters.
- Shutter Style – The style of your shutters is also important because some are way more expensive than other options. Fabric and plywood are the most inexpensive, and the other styles fluctuate.
- Special Finishes – If you don’t want to paint your shutters, you may look into special finishes. Each special finish can help protect your shutters and make them last longer, but they can also drive up your hurricane shutter cost.
- Window Design – Your window’s design will dictate which shutters can fit, and it’ll also influence how long the installation portion takes. If it’s a difficult installation, plan for your hurricane shutter cost to go up due to labor.
- Window Size – Bigger windows or windows with more difficult access points are more expensive to install hurricane shutters on. They take more time, and you may have to get custom shutters.
There are several small costs that many people forget to factor into their hurricane shutter costs, and this can mean that they end up way over-budget. Test run of the hurricane shutters by Jenni Konrad / CC BY-NC 2.0
Annual Maintenance Costs
There is some ongoing maintenance associated with keeping your hurricane shutters in top shape. You want to regularly clean the tracks in accordion and roll down shutters. This will remove any stray debris and ensure that they don’t get stuck if you need to lower them very quickly. You also want to make a point to lubricate any thumbscrews and locking rods with spray silicone at least once a year. These are DIY maintenance tasks that shouldn’t impact your overall hurricane shutter cost.
Bahama or Colonial-style shutters get permanently attached to your home, so it’s not unusual for them to suffer from UV damage. To keep them looking like you just installed them, you’ll have to paint them at least once every three to five years. If you just want to paint the shutters, you’ll pay between $200 and $550 for the paint supplies and paint.
Estimating the Square Footage of Your Windows
Maybe you picked out a material or two for your shutters but you’re not sure how much square footage you need, and you want to estimate labor costs to get a more complete picture of your hurricane shutter costs. TO do so, you’ll go to each window and multiple the length by the width using inches. Once you get this measurement, you’ll divide it by 144.
For example, say one of your windows is 24-inches long by 36-inches wide. If you multiply 24 by 36, you get 864. Dividing this by 144 would give you six square feet. This is just under an hour for labor. Do this to every window and add the results together to get a closer estimate.
Whether or not you need a permit to complete this project will depend on your location. Most states will require permits before you make virtually any modifications to your home. For example, say you live in a coastal town or in Florida where hurricanes are common. You’ll need to apply for a building permit 7-10 days before you start your project to give it ample time to process.
If you’re going to work with contractors, ask who handles the permits. Some will include it in their initial cost estimates, and they’ll deal with your local city hall or building inspector’s office for you. Generally, a building permit will start at around $45.00 and go up to $150. On average, you can expect your building permit to add $85.00 to your hurricane shutter costs.
Where to Find Hurricane Shutter Installers Near You
If you’re not up to installing your hurricane shutters on your own, you’ll have to pull in a professional to do the work for you. This will increase your overall hurricane shutter costs, but it can be well-worth it to ensure that they’re installed correctly. You can start searching here:
Frequently Asked Questions
Asking questions while you’re getting quotes for your new shutters will help you narrow down your hurricane shutter cost to get a more accurate working estimate. Make sure to ask the contractors the same questions to get true estimates. Bermuda shutters on a restored house by moccasinlanding / CC BY-NC 2.0
If you’re trying to figure out your hurricane shutter cost, it’s important to ask the correct questions. This can be a challenge if you don’t know where to start, but these frequently asked questions can help.
1. Is a permit required to install hurricane shutters?
Generally, you’ll need a permit before you start installing your hurricane shutters, and this goes for both DIY installations and professional-grade installations. If you live in an area with a Homeowners Association, you may need additional approval.
2. Do shutters increase your home’s value?
You can get around a 50% return of investment when you install hurricane shutters. This is slightly lower than the 80% to 85% return of investment you can get with hurricane-proof window installation.
3. Is it worth it to install hurricane shutters?
If you want to prevent wind, water, or debris from entering your home and you live in an area that is prone to storms, hurricane shutters can be well-worth the initial hurricane shutter cost. They’re a cost-effective way to safeguard your property during a hurricane.
4. How are security shutters and hurricane shutters different?
Security shutters have a price of $120 to $2,000. They also don’t have enough impact-resistance to withstand hurricane category winds. They will protect your home from light impacts, theft, and vandalism by locking when you close them. Hurricane-rated shutters are on the higher end of the spectrum, and they can provide both security and storm protection.
Your hurricane shutter cost will vary depending on a large range of factors. We’ve outlined the biggest ones in this guide, and you can use it to get your own estimates. Once you do, call two or three contractors in your area and get pricing information to see which one falls into your budget without sacrificing quality.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.