The wind mitigation work is all done on our house now. Even though it's been several weeks since they started, the work hasn't been constant. In fact, all of the jobs were done in two days or less...they were just scattered out over time while we waited for materials to arrive. And we've had the third and last inspection done now too. Everyone who was anyone has signed off on it it would seem.
From the street the house doesn't look one bit different. The clips are up under the soffit, the back door looks just like the old one and the hurricane shutters are safely tucked away in a nook in the garage. Yep, pretty much invisible.
Until you get right up next to the house, that is. Then you see these:
Every window and door (except the new one) has a series of these pegs along two sides. I look at them and see possibilities...like string art. I could easily work some red, white and blue twine back and forth between them then hang some stars along it for a Fourth of July festive window. And with some creative knot-making, I'll bet I could come up with a tree shape out of green fiber and hang a few Christmas ornaments from it to take my outdoor decorations to a new level.
But that's not the purpose. They're made to hold these:
Those aren't our actual shutters as I didn't get any photos of them when they were installing them but we have some that look just like them. All the openings that face the golf course have the metal shutters on them. There's one regular window, one regular door and three sliding glass doors on that side with shutters like these. All of them go across except the largest sliding glass door and the panels are vertical on it just because of the size. Each panel had two "mountains" and three "valleys" and they overlap. You start at the bottom, match the holes with the pegs pictures above and work your way up. They're all numbered so we have panels 1-5 for opening 23, for instance. And they gave us a drawing of the house with all the openings numbered to use as a guide.
The other three sides of the house have Fabric-Shield. Think of it as giant pieces of canvas but, of course, it's a specially woven and treated fabric made to withstand wind, rain and wind-borne objects. Follow the link and you can watch them shoot an 8' 2x4 at the Fabric-Shield and see it actually fares better than plywood or the metal shutters.
That wasn't why we chose it, however. It's easier to put up, first of all. It's much lighter and it's one panel per opening. It's the same theory; there are holes along the edges that go over the pegs only you start at the top and go down, stretching it tight as you install it. Another advantage is it lets in a little light. Not enough that you can see what's going on outside but you can tell if it's day or night. That's only important for life between when you put the shutters up and when the storm hits. There's not much light anywhere in the middle of a hurricane...it's raining too hard. We did, however, order two clear panels per door to mix in with the metal shutters so we'd be able to see a little of what was happening outside...and not feel like we were living in a cave.
And the Fabric-Shield is easier to store. Several of them stack together and then roll up to fit into these giant tubes. Some people hang them by one edge against a wall in the garage but this system makes more sense to us. More out of the way.
There are other types of shutters...some that pull down, some slide across, some rest on tracks. We settled on a combination of what we think will work best for our house and for us in putting them up.
The first step in installing the shutters no matter which type is to pop the little white plastic cap off the peg and the last step is to screw on a wing nut to hold it in place. Wondering how many wing nuts we have? How about 400; it's a big ziplock bagful. Fortunately, they showed us the attachment we'd need to go on an electric screwdriver to make the on and off and my good Boy Scout hubby has already acquired it. No need to wait until there's a storm in the Gulf to try to track one down.
I can't help but look at those panels of Fabric-Shield and think it sure would be nice if they weren't so plain. No painting on the outside for these; whose going to look at that in the middle of a storm anyway. But a nice scene on the side that faces inward might be nice. A pretty blue sky with some puffy white clouds and a rainbow might be nice. It's a possibility anyway.