1: Window and Door Sizes
The sheet is
divided into three sections. In Section 1, list your windows and doors
in column B. AstroGuard recommends starting at the front door and
going clockwise around the house, but I didn’t do that. Green-shaded
cells are where you enter data. Salmon-shaded cells show calculated
width values, and blue-shaded cells show calculated height values.
- Measure the width and height of each
opening, in inches, and enter them in columns
D and G, respectively.
- On the sides where you’re
going to attach the fabric — typically the left and right — add
4 inches of overlap on each side for masonry or 1 inch for wood. Enter the total — typically 8 inches
for masonry or 2 inches for wood — in column E.
Although AstroGuard says (e.g., in Hurricane
Fabric Installation Notes) that clips on the
non-attaching sides aren’t essential, they recommend installing them 2–3
feet apart where possible on openings over 4 feet wide, to prevent the
fabric from sagging or billowing. For some openings, you’ll be able to
attach them at the top and bottom; for others, only at the top. If you use male PanelMate fasteners,
which project from the wall, you may want to use female fasteners below
a door, or none at all, for aesthetic reasons and so that people don’t trip on
for Hurricane Fabric Panels" says, "If a window has a protruding bottom sill, you may either terminate the Fabric at the sill or overlap the sill."
you plan to use clips at the top and bottom or not, you’ll still
need to overlap the fabric at the top by 4 inches for masonry or 1
inch for wood.
The bottom would be the same unless there's no room. Enter the totals in column H.
If you have protruding sills and plan to overlap them, add the sill thickness in column
Columns F and J
give you the total width and height of fabric needed, in inches. Column
K gives you the square footage, for reference.
I cannot emphasize enough the necessity of
checking and rechecking your measurements, and preferably having
someone else check them too, in case you make a mistake or change your
mind (although some things you may discover only during installation). For
I was going to
use insert anchors on either side of my front door. However, I
discovered that those walls are not block, like the rest of the house,
but wood-framed, so I ended up putting countersunk female
anchors in the door molding. This changed the size of the door panel I
had planned to use and
the number and types of anchors I needed.
windows with 4-inch-thick concrete sills that I was originally
going to cover. However, this would have added 8 inches to the bottom
of each window panel and, on wider windows, necessitated anchors and
clips for the bottom. According to AstroGuard, covering the sills is
not essential, so I changed the panel sizes after I had ordered the
fabric. As a result, I was able to return a stock fabric piece to
Home Depot and avoid buying a number of additional anchors and
clips, saving several hundred dollars.
I was going
to place clips at the bottom of two sliding glass door panels but
decided, as in the previous example, that it wasn't necessary. But
when I installed those panels, it seemed like clips on the bottom
would be helpful, so I added them. Also, I assumed that the two
doors, which are the same size, would have the same anchor spacing.
However, I didn't notice until after I installed the anchors on one
door that the other had a foundation vent on one side where the
bottom anchor would go. I therefore had to eliminate that anchor on
both sides and respace the others. So the two identical doors, side
by side, have different anchor spacing. Assume nothing!
the necessary information into Section 2. If you’re buying fabric from
AstroGuard, they’ll precut the fabric to your specifications and
include the number of clips and anchors you need, though they give you
only the minimum necessary for the attachment sides, plus a few extras
(according to their site). So if you plan to install some at the top
and/or bottom, you’ll need to add them to your order.
You can order six stock sizes from Home
Depot (they’re actually drop-shipped from AstroGuard), which may be
somewhat less expensive than ordering from AstroGuard. However, you’ll
have to figure out how to fit the sizes of your windows and doors onto
HD’s six stock sizes, to minimize the number of pieces needed. The spreadsheet will
help you compare costs. In this case, I spent somewhat
more assembling the components myself — although originally it was
less — but ordering from AstroGuard would also require more clips and anchors,
along with F-track and bolts (see Egress) and some additional tools.
If you buy from Home Depot, I recommend making a drawing like
the one below, showing how each piece you need fits onto their stock
sizes (listed in Section 3), to
reduce the likelihood of mistakes. I’ve given each size a number
in Section 3, column D (hyperlinked to the
relevant HD webpage). When you know how many of each size you’ll need,
enter the fabric item number in column I and the cost in
column J. Also indicate in column I where a piece of fabric will share a
stock size with one or more other pieces.
To continue entering data in Section 2,
we need to obtain more information.
A permit may be
required for hurricane shutters where you live, but even if not, it’s
a good idea to obtain one, for several reasons. First, if you sustain
damage during a hurricane, a building inspector’s approval can help
support a claim that the installation was done correctly, which could
have ramifications for your insurance reimbursement.
Second, spacing of fasteners is important
and depends on several factors I discuss below, including the pressure
the shutters will have to withstand. This is specific to your area. When
you go for a permit, the plans examiner will look up the relevant
pressures and give you a document specifying them. If you wing it and
get them wrong, it could cause your installation to fail during a
Third, if you don’t get a permit and a
building inspector happens to see the job, you could be required to put
in more fasteners — possibly more than you needed if you have to put
them between existing ones. This is also not the most attractive look
for a house.
Zones and PSF
When you go for a
permit, you’ll initially meet with a plans examiner and describe what
you intend to do. He’ll ask for an outline of the house, made with a
straightedge (it doesn’t have to be to scale), showing the locations
of the windows and doors. Also, in Florida at least, he’ll give you a
sheet like the one below, showing the required design pressure,
positive or negative, that the fabric has to withstand on each opening,
in pounds per square foot (PSF).
The design pressure depends on where on
the wind speed map your house is located. For Indian River County, on
Florida’s east coast, the wind zones are east and west of I-95, which
runs north-south. West of I-95 is a 150 mph exposure zone, and east of it,
closer to the ocean, is a 160 mph zone. The pressure in PSF for your
zone determines your fastener and clip spacing.
When I brought in the drawing of my house
and applied for the permit, I noticed that the wind-zone document I
received at the initial visit said (at the top) that the exposure zone
was B, as you can see from the document above. However, the initial examiner had
circled the pressures for zone C, which are higher and could mean
closer fastener spacing for larger openings. When I went back later with
some additional questions, I pointed this out to the
second examiner, who agreed, crossed out the zone C pressures, and circled the
ones for zone B. So pay attention!
Even within the 160 or 150 mph exposure zones, a
window or door can be in zone 4 or zone 5 of the building (specified in the Florida Building
Code). A zone 5 opening is 4 feet or
less from a corner, and zone 4 is anywhere else. The wind pressure near
a corner is higher, so a shutter has to be able to withstand the higher
In this case, according to the wind-zone
sheet, the maximum pressure an exposure B opening would have to withstand is
-37.1 PSF for zone 5 (i.e., within 4 feet of a corner). But at
least both zones 4 and 5 were in the 30 PSF range, which meant I could use
the 30 PSF column of the fastener-spacing table on the engineering
drawings (downloadable from
AstroGuard). If I’d had exposure C pressures, as the examiner originally
indicated, the maximum is -44.9 PSF, which would mean I’d have to use
the 40 PSF column in the fastener-spacing table, requiring closer
If this is beginning to sound like the
tutsi-fruitsi scene from Day at the Races, that’s exactly what I
felt like and one of the main reasons I created this site — to try to
help others navigate through it.
The plans examiner also asked me to write the Florida product approval numbers at the bottom. These appear on
the engineering drawings on AstroGuard’s site. I recommend downloading
and printing them out on 11 x 17-inch sheets at a big-box office store
and bringing them with you for moral support.
In most cases, if
you live in Florida outside the Miami-Dade high-velocity hurricane zone
(HVHZ), the FL15208 drawing, which is only two pages and has only two
fastener tables, should suffice. If you’re in a
high-velocity zone or have a more complex installation, consult the
The FL15208 drawing doesn’t actually
have the Florida approval number on it, which the plans examiner or
building inspector may want to see. AstroGuard has a “Product
Evaluation Report” from their engineering company, not currently on
their website, with the Florida approval number on it, that references
the engineering drawing, though it refers to drawing #12-0226 when the
drawing actually says 15-0226. Nevertheless, I recommend obtaining this
document from AstroGuard, along with their “Reverse Attachment
Addendum” drawing, also not on their site, which specifies how a
fabric shutter can be attached to allow egress from a door without tools, as required
by the Florida building code.
As part of
calculating the fastener spacing, enter the relevant zone in column
K — 5 for any opening within 4 feet of a corner and 4 for
all others. The only opening that rates a zone 5 on my house is one side
of the garage door, which is less than 4 feet from a corner. Therefore,
the whole opening is a zone 5 and requires a design pressure of 40 PSF. The rest are zone 4 and require only 30 PSF. Enter the design pressures
in column L. (Update: I
originally thought the design pressure for zone 5 was 40 PSF, based on
the document I received from the Building Department. After it was
corrected, and it turned out zones 4 and 5 were both in the 30 PSF range
(see above), I neglected to change the PSF for the garage from 40 to 30
on the spreadsheet. This would have made the vertical spacing in column
N 6 inches instead of 5, reducing the number of clips and anchors by
vertical spacing required, for column M
(assuming left- and right-side attachment), requires consulting the
appropriate fastener spacing table in the engineering drawing. The table
you use depends on the fasteners you’re going to install, the type
of wall you’re going to install them in, and the design pressure for
There are three
main types of fasteners for hurricane shutters, all made by Elco under
their PanelMate brand (page references below are to their catalog, which
you can download here).
anchors (p. 6). These are primarily for concrete or masonry but can
also be used for wood. There are two lengths: S (short) and L
(long). The short ones are 1 7/8 inches, for conventional block walls,
and the long ones are 2 1/8 inches, for block walls with a stucco exterior.
They have 1/4-20 interior threads that take either 1-inch or 1 1/4-inch
bolts. (I don’t know — maybe because they have a flat head and
could be used in a sidewalk without people tripping on them.) These
require drilling a 7/16-inch hole and are screwed in with a 5/16-inch hex driver. I used L anchors, because I have stucco
- Male anchors (p. 2). These come in
various lengths and have a section that screws into the wall and a
shorter stud, either 7/8 inch or 1 1/8 inch, that projects from it. The fasteners are typically
used in wood but can also be used in masonry or concrete. They’re
installed with a female driver that fits
over the hex head. A
wingnut secures the AstroGuard clip on the stud; a wingnut
driver bit is available to expedite shutter installation and
plastic caps are available to protect the threads when shutters are
- Female anchors (p. 3). These are like
male anchors, but instead of a stud at the top, they have a 1/2-inch
threaded body that accepts a 1/4-20 sidewalk bolt. The head
is typically countersunk in the wall. Combination
countersink bits are available that will drill the 7/32-inch hole for
the screw and a 1/2-inch hole for the body simultaneously, but they’re about $40.
If you have only a few anchors to install, you
can drill the screw holes with a 7/32- or 3/16-inch bit and then countersink
them with a 1/2-inch bit. I initially tried a spiral bit for the
countersink but found that it chewed up the wood around the hole, so
I switched to a spade bit. The anchors are installed with the same 5/16-inch
hex driver as the insert anchors.
Elco also makes male and female TVAS
(Through-Veneer Anchoring System) fasteners (p. 4) for brick walls, in
various lengths. These are male or female anchors that are long enough
to pass through brick veneer and anchor to the building’s structure.
The anchor type,
wall type, and design pressure determine fastener spacing, which is
found in the fastener tables.
The fastener tables
in AstroGuard’s engineering drawings require you to select, first, the
type of anchor you’re using — this is in the head of the table. Then, for that
anchor, select the appropriate column for the type of
wall: filled or hollow CMU (concrete masonry unit, i.e., block), concrete, or timber.
Block walls are
usually filled with mortar around window and door openings, to
strengthen them. You can tell if yours are by drilling at the four
corners, where anchors would go in all cases: 4 1/2 inches to the side
of the opening at 2 inches below the top or above the bottom of where the fabric will be. If the block is hollow, the
drill will suddenly meet no resistance after it passes through the
exterior of the block. If it's filled, it will be like drilling solid
concrete. However, blocks have a solid web in the middle, so if you
happen to drill into that, the block will seem solid, even if it isn't
filled. Therefore, you'll need to test both sides of the opening, and
preferably more than one opening. If you can't determine whether
the blocks are filled or hollow, use
the hollow column, which is more restrictive.
In the fastener
tables, each column for
the wall material has
subcolumns for pressure ratings: 30, 40, 50, and 60 PSF. Choose the
pressure(s) appropriate to each opening, as determined from your entries
in column L. Then look in the left
column for the span you’re covering.
The table at the lower left of p. 1 in
AstroGuard's FL15208 drawing, reproduced below, is for Elco 1/4-inch PanelMate Pro Male and Female
anchors. Since insert anchors also use 1/4-inch fasteners (sidewalk
bolts), AstroGuard advises using this table for them. For example,
with hollow block walls, look under Hollow
CMU in the 30 PSF pressure column. You’ll see that the spacing is 12 inches
for spans up to 6 feet. Spans of 6–8 feet require
8–10 feet require 7-inch spacing, and so on. With Filled CMU, you can go up
to an 8-foot span with 12-inch fastener spacing.
openings to make sure they take the same kind of fastener as the rest of
the house. As I mentioned above, my front door is framed with wood rather than
block, but the exterior of the house is stucco, so the difference isn't
apparent without drilling test holes. For a wood-framed door in a block
house, remember to use the Timber column in the anchor table.
Because of the
wood framing, I used female Panelmate anchors on my front
door, installed in
the door molding, 1 inch out from the opening.
For each opening, enter the wall type in column
the nominal vertical fastener spacing in column
Column O shows the actual vertical spacing
for equidistant clips, starting at 2 inches below the top or above the bottom of
the fabric. Column
P shows the number of vertical clips for each opening.
AstroGuard says horizontal clips are
unnecessary for openings less than 4 feet wide. However, if you have a
window that is just over 4 feet, you may not want to use a horizontal
clip. Enter in
cell S25 the minimum width of an opening, in inches (typically 48,
54, or 60), for which you want to use optional horizontal clips. Enter
in cell S26 the
maximum spacing, in inches (typically 24, 30, or 36), for the optional
horizontal clips. Column
Q shows the number of optional clips to install across the
top. If you want to change the number of horizontal clips, enter the
desired number in column Q. In column R, enter the number
of clips, if any, to install across the bottom.
S shows the actual horizontal spacing
for equidistant clips at the top or bottom, starting at the left edge of
the fabric (not
1 or 2 inches in). It's shown to only one decimal place, since
horizontal spacing isn't as critical as vertical (assuming primary
attachment is on the sides).
On a masonry house, if you don't have
enough room above the opening to place anchors at 4 1/2 inches,
you have two choices, either of which is acceptable, according to
Cut the top
off the clip at the second notch, or
anchor closer to the edge of the opening (but probably not less than
3 inches, to avoid cracking), which will require inserting
the fabric farther into the clip, to the second notch. This will necessitate perforating the fabric in the clip's anchor hole
after attaching the clip. You can use your Phillips drill/driver to
create the hole, then push it through from the back to expose the
fibers. Insert the point of a utility knife in the hole and rotate
it to cut off the fibers; otherwise, they'll prevent the sidewalk
bolt from passing through. If you place the anchor hole 3
1/4 inches above the opening, the gripping edge of the
clip will be right at the edge of the opening, and the top of the clip will extend
1 1/4 inches above the center of the anchor hole.
T shows the total number of clips for each opening, with the
grand total at the bottom.
In most cases, the number of anchors, in column
U, will be the same as the number of clips. However, if one
type of opening, such as a door, uses a different type of fastener, that
number would go in column V. (This
is not automatic — you’d need to paste the formula from column
U into any
other cells in column V to which
this applies and delete the formulas from the corresponding cells in column
Florida Building Code requires that, with shutters installed, at least one door
must allow egress
from the inside without tools. You can accomplish this with a reverse
F-track, as shown. It's 2 x 2 x 1/8 inch thick x 8 feet long; you cut it
to the appropriate length. Alternatively, you could use an aluminum
angle bracket with the same dimensions, which is easier to find but more
expensive. You'd also need carriage bolts or machine screws with
wingnuts to fasten to the clips.
the hinge side of the door (left, in the photo), fasten the shutter clips to the wall in the usual way. If you're using female PanelMates, you'll
need 1-inch bolts; 1 1/4-inch bolts are too long.
On the doorknob side, drill holes in the F-track flange to permit installing it to
the anchors with 3/4-inch sidewalk bolts or wingnuts, depending on the
anchor type. (Instead of 3/4-inch bolts, I could have used
1-inch with a couple of washers under the head, which is what I'd do next
time. I'd also use 1-inch instead of 1 1/4-inch for the rest of the
house. This would allow using only 1-inch bolts for the entire project.)
The clips on the
hinge side should have the right angle projecting inward, toward the inside of the
F-track bolts (which have a square head) into the track’s channel and through the
right-angle end of each clip, and secure them from
inside the house with wingnuts. (Or, if you're using plain angle
bracket, drill holes at the appropriate spacings, insert the carriage
bolts or machine screws through the flange and clips, and secure with
Enter the number of F-track bolts you
need for each opening in column W.
Cells T42:X42 show
the total of each type of hardware item you need. Cells
T43:X43 allow you to enter the number you want to buy,
including extras. Use these numbers in Section 3.
When shutters are
not in place, female anchors must be filled, to prevent them from
accumulating debris. Use either the sidewalk bolts or nylon screws. A
couple of vendors sell 1/4-20 x 1/2-inch nylon screws — one of them
describes them as "push-in," and technically they can be pushed into a female Panelmate or insert anchor, but it requires some effort, and they can't be pulled
out — a drill-driver with a slotted blade is required. This can add a fair amount of time to putting up and removing shutters.
I have about 300 insert anchors, and even if I average five nylon screws
per minute (I can't), that's an hour for removal and another for
Also, the nylon screw heads occasionally snap off when being screwed in. This typically requires removing and replacing the
anchor, so the failure of a ten-cent part requires replacing a $1.80
It seemed to me that the solution was to use a smaller-diameter nylon screw that really was "push-in"
and "pull-out" also, to eliminate the need for a power tool to insert and remove them.
The next smaller size from 1/4" is #12, but nylon screws, it turns out, aren't available in that size. However, the analogous metric size, M5, is available, and M5.8 x 25mm
(approximately 1 inch long) is what I used for the insert anchors.
is one of the few places that sell these. Female Panelmates have a shorter barrel
than the insert anchors and can take only a 12mm screw (1/2 inch), which may not be long enough to stay in.
The metric screws are snug enough in the hole to stay in but can be removed with fingers, although it can be a little tricky because of the snugness. What I also tried, and works well, is to use a small, portable vacuum cleaner to suck them right out. It takes just a second
for each one. This is much faster than replacing the sidewalk bolts and,
in most cases, probably less noticeable.
shows the number of nylon screws needed for female anchors or plastic
caps for male anchors. They come in bags of 100. The 1/4-20 screws have
another disadvantage: they don't have a Phillips drive, so unless you
have a hard-to-find wide
blade, you may chew up the slots.
3: Vendors and Costs
Section 3 lists the
various materials and tools you’ll need, in column
B. A list of vendors is at the
bottom of the column; not all of them carry all items you’ll need, and
their prices vary considerably. Enter the desired vendor's names in column
For the fabric, I’ve entered the six sizes available from Home Depot in columns
E–I, with the item number I assigned each one in column
D, hyperlinked to the relevant Home Depot webpage. Prices are in column
J, but these could change, so enter current prices if
necessary. Column K indicates the cost per
square foot of fabric or unit cost for clips.
In column L,
enter the quantity of each stock size you need. The total cost appears
in column M.
Clips from Home Depot are similar: they
come in four package sizes. Calculate the number you’ll need to cover
the total, at the bottom of Section 2, column R, plus some extras, and
enter the desired quantity of each package size in column
L. Enter any tax and shipping costs in column
Similarly, in the Hardware/Supplies and
Tools sections, enter the vendors, package sizes, cost, and quantity in the
appropriate columns, along with tax and shipping. The final totals for materials, tools, tax, and shipping
appear below the table.
I initially assumed I had filled
CMU, but when I drilled a few test holes at the corners, I found they were mostly
hollow, which meant closer spacing. I
needed more anchors and had to reorder, which is the reason for two
orders in rows 63 and 64.
installation video shows them installing
clips on the fabric first, then marking the location of the upper left hole and
installing an anchor, then the upper right hole, then the rest of the
clips. An Australian video on YouTube does it the other way: installing
the anchors first, then fastening a clip to each one and fitting the fabric
to each clip. According to AstroGuard, either way is okay, though they
say the first method is easier for DIYers.
They're right. I
did it the second way, because I didn't want to start by cutting up
pieces of expensive fabric, but I wouldn't do it again. If you install the anchors first, the width of the
fabric is not going to be exactly what you calculated on paper —
you'll need to cut it to fit the distance between the clips,
which is cumbersome. Of course, if you cut the fabric first and
then find you measured incorrectly or your plans change, you may have wasted a piece of
fabric. So measure the dimensions of the openings several times, and
preferably have someone else confirm them. Wait a day or two between
each measurement — you may decide to make changes to your design along
I used a Makita
rotary hammer rather than a hammer drill, which may have been overkill,
but I already had the tool and knew it worked well in block and
concrete. Installing anchors or lag screws in masonry can be problematic, so
I ordered extra anchors, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that
they all went in with no problem. Drilling
into stucco-covered block with a percussion tool involves a lot of
noise, dust, and grit, so be sure to use ear and eye protection
and a dust mask. Then blow out the holes with a bulb syringe, to keep
the dust and grit from interfering with anchor insertion. If a sidewalk
bolt binds when screwing it in for the first time, remove it, blow out
the anchor, wipe dust off the bolt, then reinstall it.
Do not start your
hammer drill in the "hammer" position. Use the drilling
position to start a countersink then switch to hammer. This will avoid
the drill bit "walking."
driving anchors while in the "hammer" position. For DIY
customers and new installers, it is a good idea to drive the anchor to
within 1/4" of flush, then finish with the hex driver in a
ratchet. This will minimize stucco cracking.
Instead of switching from drill to hammer drill and back for each
hole, I pressed the bit firmly against the block and started the drill
slowly, to create a pilot indentation, then sped
up to full power. But doing it the other way may decrease stucco
Finishing anchor installation with a ratchet may
increase the time you spend installing anchors, but doing it entirely
with a drill requires going around afterward to patch the cracked
stucco, which doesn't provide as good a result — it's hard to match
the original finish.
If patching is necessary, stucco patching compound, both premixed and
dry, is available at
home improvement stores. Before applying it, put nylon screws or sidewalk bolts
in the anchors, to avoid getting stucco or
them. I found that applying the stucco patch with a putty knife made it hard to create a clean finish around the circular
anchors, so I switched to an artist's palette
knife, available at craft stores. I bought two sizes and ended up using
the smaller one. To remove excess stucco patch after it dries, you
can use coarse (30 or 40 grit) sandpaper and a reciprocating or belt
sander. Neither the patched nor sanded finish compares to the original, so avoid if at all possible.
The center of the
sidewalk-bolt hole in the clip is 1/2 inch beyond the edge of fabric
inserted to the first notch. So for masonry, the anchor would be 4 1/2
inches out from the edge of the
opening. For wood, it would be 1 1/2 inches, but this may not be
possible if you're drilling into the molding around the opening. AstroGuard's "Measuring
for Hurricane Fabric Panels"
says, "Many people have concerns over trim boards surrounding the
opening. ... The anchors [i.e., length] will be sized accordingly,
to go through the trim board, the siding and still have proper embedment
in the structural timber." I placed the
female PanelMates 1 inch from the edge in 2-inch-wide molding. If you
have wider molding, you could put them farther out (i.e., in the
can use female PanelMate anchors for wood and countersink the head, then
put nylon screws in them and paint them to match the trim. It's not terribly elegant, but it's an unavoidable
compromise if you live in an area subject to hurricanes. Since the head
is only 1/2 inch deep, you'll need 3/4-inch-long sidewalk bolts to
fasten the F-track to the house and 1-inch-long bolts to fasten the
clips to the house on the other side.
I originally bought 1 1/4-inch sidewalk bolts for the house but
subsequently found I needed 1-inch and 3/4-inch for the front
door. Had I known, I would have just bought 1-inch bolts for the rest
of the house, using only two sizes instead of three. The bolts must have at least 1/2
inch of thread in the anchor, according to the
engineering drawings, and in the PanelMate female anchor, that's all
that's available. This means that for attaching clips to these anchors,
1 1/4-inch bolts are too long and 3/4-inch bolts are too short. The
only use for 3/4-inch bolts is to attach an F-track to the anchors.
I spaced down 2 inches from the top of the fabric and up 2 inches from the bottom, in all cases. The gripping end of the clip is 3
so 1 1/2 inches of it is above (and below) the anchor, bringing it to
1/2 inch of the edge of the fabric.
of my windows are recessed from the exterior walls by about 4 inches, but the breezeway windows are flush with the exterior wall. I
looked into using a 3-inch F-track extension to move the fabric out
from the window, hoping to reduce the likelihood of glass breakage in
case of debris striking the fabric. However, the width of the breezeway
shutters precluded this — no anchor spacing was shown for spans this
wide, even for shorter extensions (i.e., 1 or 2 inches).
Also, the lab
test report on AstroGuard fabric gives the screen deflection for
each test performed; the smallest deflection was about 9 inches, with
some being much higher, depending on the test. So for any practical
distance between the fabric and the window, it may not be possible to
completely avoid broken glass from a debris strike. However, the
important thing, according to online sources, is to make sure the window
stays covered even if the glass breaks, to avoid having wind enter and
blow the roof off the house.
I bought extra drill
bits and drivers, but I was surprised: one 7/16-inch Dewalt SDS drill bit did all 290 holes.
I bought it from a hurricane supply vendor,
but it's available on Amazon for half the cost.
The two Elco drivers,
ENY192, lasted only 25 or so anchors each before the hex corners
rounded off. I contacted
Elco and spoke to the sales director for anchors & fastening, who thought it might
be a heat-treatment problem. He asked me to send the two drivers to their
quality-control person and shipped me two ENY194 drivers, which are an inch
longer and are shaped differently. They worked fine — one was
sufficient for all the remaining anchors. Before ordering a driver,
check that it's ENY194 (shown) and not ENY192. (I indicate only one drill bit and driver
ordered on the spreadsheet,
since that's really all that's necessary.)
While awaiting the replacement drivers, I tried a
makeshift, which will work in a
pinch. AstroGuard includes a short piece of hex stock, which
by itself doesn't fit in an
impact driver, but you can use a 5/16-inch nutdriver, which comes in most bit sets,
to hold it. Tape the two pieces together with duct tape. I also bought
(and later returned) a set of
long-arm hex wrenches at Home Depot for $10 — if necessary, I could
have cut pieces of the 5/16-inch wrench to insert in the nutdriver.
AstroGuard sells nylon drawstring duffel bags to store the panels,
but they're expensive and may not be large enough, depending on how many
panels you have. I bought 30 x 40-inch nylon drawstring bags on eBay,
three for $10, which were sufficient to store the 621 square feet of
panels, so each one is good for approximately 200 square feet per bag.
disadvantage of fabric shutters may not be readily apparent. After a
hurricane, many people leave their metal shutters or plywood sheets in
place on nonessential windows or doors until the hurricane season is
over. With fabric shutters, you can't do that — according to
AstroGuard, the ultraviolet rays from the sun will degrade the fabric.
They say that after a hurricane, the shutters should be allowed to dry,
then taken down and put away.