5 Tips for Protecting Your Home and Windows With Plywood

If you live in an area with a lot of hurricanes or heavy winds, you may occasionally need to protect your windows. Plywood covers can help. Here's a look at some options and a few tips related to what you need to know about building this simple protective solution.

1. Measure the Inside of the Window

For the most discreet solution, you want your plywood covers to nest inside your windows. To that end, you need to measure the window from inside of its frame. You don't want the plywood to be bigger than the window itself—that makes it too hard to attach.

Once you measure all your windows, you can simply cut the plywood with a handsaw or an electric saw.

2. Add a Layer of Sealant

Plywood is not meant to withstand wetness. If the window breaks, you may want to add a layer of sealant so that the plywood survives. To do that, simply, paint some exterior paint over the plywood or massage on a layer of waterproof sealant.

3. Clips Can Help

You can buy tension hooks online or in some hardware stores. These are bendy pieces of metal, and they help hold the plywood in place. Attach these to the plywood at regular intervals. In most cases, you only need one or two clips per edge, but for bigger windows you may want to use more.

4. Consider Exterior Plywood Shutters

The instructions above are for interior plywood covers. They don't prevent your windows from breaking, but if your windows break, they stop the weather from getting inside. If you want, you can also make plywood covers to go on the outside of your windows.

In this case, you need to cut the plywood so that it's larger than the windows. Then, you need to either bolt the covers to your home's wood frame or anchor them to your concrete or stucco.

The upside of this approach is that your windows get extra protection, but the downside is that you have to go outside to install them. If a storm is blowing in, you may not want to do that. Additionally, the holes from the hardware can let moisture into your siding.

5. Consider Permanent Installation and Hinges

If you don't want to put plywood covers up and down every time you're worried about a storm, you may want to set them up to permanently protect your windows. There are a number of ways that you can do this. Consider, attaching the plywood above the windows on a set of hinges. When you don't need the plywood, it can be up flush against the house so that it's not blocking your window at all.

To hold it in place, nail a small piece of wood over the top of the plywood. You should be able to rotate the small piece of wood on its nail. When it's down, it holds the plywood in place, and when you rotate it up, that releases the plywood.

Then, the hinges allow the plywood to come down over the windows. You should paint the plywood so that it matches or at least complements the colour of your home.

If you prefer, you could set up the plywood like shutters. Just attach half the size you need to each side of the window on hinges. Then, shut as needed.

Plywood isn't just for makeshift hurricane shutters. It can also be useful in a wide range of home projects. Ideally, every homeowner should have plywood on hand for building emergencies. To get some plywood or to learn more, contact a plywood distributor.