Protect Your Home from Nor’easters and Hurricanes

We often hear the familiar siren; “Its not of matter of if, but when”. In the extended wake of Super Storm Sandy many homeowners are continuing to consider storm protection solutions which are ideally suited for their location, and the architecture of their homes. The relative quiet between major hurricane events in the northeast has some property owners and their insurance companies on edge, while powerful winter storms are becoming the norm. We’re mid-way into the 2017 hurricane season and as we write, Hurricane Harvey is gathering intensity over warm gulf waters as it bears down on Texas. The news is presenting predictions of ‘catastrophic’ flooding and triggering evacuations of many low lying communities.

With these reminders of your risk exposure, there are a few time tested products which can offer a high level of protection without the hassle and risk of using plywood shutters.

Many Long Island property owners are investing in Rolling Shutters to protect their homes. The same technology which safeguards homes from Nor’easters, wind, sun, UV rays and blasting sand also serves as a powerful security and privacy system, while helping to reduce energy costs.

As an exterior window treatment, rolling shutters are 40-percent more energy efficient than interior shades, reducing up to 90 percent of solar-heat gain during summer months, while cutting heat loss in the winter. Rolling shutters are designed to contribute year round to a residence’s aesthetics, while eliminating the need to ever again hammer plywood sheets to the house in advance of a storm.
Paul Craig, founder of Shade & Shutter Systems, Inc and a 27 year veteran of storm protection contracting, points to one more benefit – peace of mind. “Especially for second homeowners, rolling shutters let owners leave their home without worry,” he says. The technology today is automated. It can be managed from laptops, smart phones or tablets via the Internet. You can even install digital sensors that will automatically respond to the weather outside, or close the shutters when room darkening is required. That’s no small advantage when you consider the investment homeowners make in furniture, fabrics and artwork that can be damaged over time by the sun and UV rays.

“Because rolling shutters address so many threats to expensive homes, including water leakage and even mold, they are strongly endorsed by many insurance companies now,” says Craig. “As a result, many homeowners will benefit from reduced premiums and fewer claims.”

Rolling shutters offer long-term value by saving energy, reducing maintenance and extending the life of costly windows and doors. Narrow aluminum slats roll up into a box-housing above the window. When installed during new home construction, the box and tracks can be completely concealed, and hidden from view. For existing homes, roll shutters are custom made and fitted to blend with your homes’ style.
Another effective solution are VuSafe™ Storm Panels. These are modular, light-weight panels made from clear polycarbonate, an impact resistant plastic. The clear panel system has Florida Building Code approval and passes large missile impact testing. Panels are safely and quickly connected to pre-installed tracks which, in most cases, means you don’t have to climb a ladder to install them. At only 14” wide and weighing about 1lb. per foot, storage is minimal as the panels neatly stack compactly. “We’ve been successfully using this product for over 15 years as a safer alternative to plywood and metal panels” says Craig.

An important feature when the power goes out is the clarity of the panels which allows natural light to flood into the space, while permitting a view of what’s going on outside during a storm. Craig’s company VuSafe Industries, LLC began manufacturing this product in 2004 with new methods for attaching panels with greater speed and safety. “Caretakers love this solution because they can rapidly deploy it and protect more homes when storms threaten. VuSafe™ Storm Panels are also approved by insurance companies” says Craig.

Long Island property owners will vividly remember the coastal flooding associated with Sandy and the damage caused by flood waters. Flooding causes exponentially greater property loss and can cause long-term loss of use of your property. With that lesson learned, an alternative to sandbagging has emerged. VuSafe™ Flood Shields are a reusable, easily deployed barrier for entry doors and windows which are susceptible to water infiltration. “Sand bags are an environmental nightmare, capturing bacteria, causing a disposal challenge, this was a ‘no-brainer’”, says Craig who’s company has also designed this product. “These composite barriers are a dry-flood proofing measure intended to provide temporary flood risk reduction at grade level openings in a building. They can be set up just prior to a flood event and taken down immediately after the flood threat has passed” he says.

The panels are light-weight and impermeable to water absorption. Pre-installed attachment points on the building align with pre-drilled holes in the shield’s perimeter framing. Setup of these barriers does not require any additional permanent fixtures to which the barrier is attached.

Paul Craig of Shade & Shutter Systems can be reached at: