Taking Care of the Plywood That Takes Care of Your House During a Hurr…
Hurricanes have been particularly devastating to many areas of the southern United States. These areas include coastal districts of Louisiana and Texas, the Florida Keys, Mississippi and southern Florida. Specific areas in this ‘hurricane zone’ include Tampa, St. Petersburgh and Ft. Lauderdale (Florida), Carolina Beach/Wrightsville Beach/Wilmington and Cape Hatteras (North Carolina) and already as far north as Eastern Long Island (New Jersey).
Many homeowners in these areas use plywood ‘shutters’ to cover windows and doors during storm periods of extremely high winds. These sheets of plywood are often nailed or screwed over the door and window openings. Screws would be more advisable as they make removal of the sheets after the storm easier than those secured with nails.
Some hurricane experts suggest the plywood sheets should be custom fit to attach snugly to the inside edge of the door or window frame. This method works on some types of windows but not all.
What to do with the plywood sheets after the storm is a concern for many character owners. First, one should mark all pieces for easier relocation to the same identify during the next storm (mark “bathroom window” on the sheet that fits, of course, the bathroom window). This may seem like a waste of time, but if the owner has a lot of openings of a similar size, it could cause confusion, and if the storm warning is of short notice, confusion of which panel goes where is an unwelcome feeling.
For some people, they can simply remove the panels and store them in the garage or backyard discarded. But what if they don’t own a house with a garage or discarded? They can’t just leave them in a pile in the backyard for the sun, wind and rain to prematurely age them and make them warped and unusable. Rodents can be a problem, insects (termites are shared in some of these locales) can shorten the plywood life span.
One option for this is to cover them with a standard tarpaulin (tarp) that can be found in most hardware and automotive stores. A roll of rope and some time can cover them fairly adequately, but unless it’s done properly, it’s not long before the wind has worked the rope loose and your tarp is flying around in the wind, exposing those expensive sheets.
Another option for outdoor storage of plywood sheets is a woven polyethylene pouch, similar to a large ‘envelope’, but big enough to keep up around thirty sheets of 3/4″ x 4′ x 8′ plywood. One end is open and seals with Velcro, so after you slide all the sheets inside, you seal up the Velcro end and you have a watertight storage container for the hurricane protection.
These pouches are made from slightly recycled plastic and reusable for years, so they are a ‘green’ product, a welcome change to single use plastic that ends up in our landfills every year. They are also treated with an ultraviolet inhibitor to help prevent breakdown while being stored outside. Hurricane pouches are reasonably priced and easily fold up for storage while the plywood is protecting the structure. Every homeowner who needs this kind of storage should consider this kind of pouch.