Storm shutters are one of the quickest and most inexpensive ways to protect your home from wind damage. Many manufacturers provide commercial storm shutters that can be installed onto the exterior of your home. If you wish to do this yourself, it is a relatively easy project. Use plywood that is exterior grade and is at least 5/8 inches thick. One quarter inch lag bolts penetrating into wood frame homes at least 1 3/4 inches and 1/4 inch expansion bolts with galvanized anchors penetrating into masonry homes at least 1 ½ inches should be used to secure the plywood over the window opening.
Remember to overlap the wall around the window at least 4 inches and bolt at least every 12 inches. For sliding glass doors or picture windows larger than the standard 4 by 8 sheet of plywood, put 2 sheets together. Take a sheet that is 8 feet-high and 4 feet-wide and put a 2nd next to the 1st (creating an 8 by 8 sheet). Brace the 2 together with 2 by 4s at the bottom and the middle of the sheets using 2 inch, 10 gauge, wood screws.
Single entry exterior doors usually withstand high winds. If the door has windows, shutters will need to be placed over these windows for protection. Double doors will probably need reinforcing on the inactive door (the door that is usually not used to get in and out of the home). These reinforcing kits can be found at a local hardware store and are relatively inexpensive.
Newer garage doors have horizontal bracing attached to each panel. If you don’t see large horizontal braces, you can purchase a retrofit kit and instructions from a local garage door sales or installation company. Double garage doors are large and if not reinforced, they will wobble and may come apart in the wind. This would expose the interior of your home to the storm’s damaging effects.