Living in a hurricane-prone area can be very costly unless your home is built with hurricane proof construction methods. If your home is not newly built and hurricane-resistant, you may be thinking of retrofitting it with beefed up materials and products. Is it worth the cost?
It can cost $10,000 to $20,000 or more to hurricane proof your house. Despite the expense, hurricane-proofing is well-worth it if you live in areas with higher-category hurricanes, such as Florida. The retrofitting might be expensive, but you’ll benefit from lower costs of repairs after a storm, along with peace of mind.
In this article, I’ll review the various items you can install to hurricane proof your house so you can better understand the costs involved and the additions you need to make to your home.
Table of Contents
- Hurricane Proofing Your Home: A Cost-Benefit Analysis
- Hurricane-Impact Windows
- Storm Shutters
- Hurricane-Resistant Roof
- Impact-Rated Entry Doors and Garage Doors
- Final Thoughts
Hurricane Proofing Your Home: A Cost-Benefit Analysis
Before going into the details of each item and why you need it to protect your home from damages caused by a hurricane, you may want an overview of the costs involved.
Installing hurricane proof items to your home like the ones mentioned below means you won’t need to spend so much time preparing for a hurricane.
Your home will be better equipped to withstand hurricanes, and you won’t have to spend time and money on repairs.
Like in this picture above, you can see the grey cinderblock and the wood roof structure. You’ll want to seriously consider installing hurricane ties/straps if your house doesn’t have them. They essentially bolt the roof to the walls, preventing the roof from flying off. We’ll talk about hurricane ties more below.
The data below shows a rough range of prices for each of the major hurricane proof additions to your home:
- Hurricane-impact windows – $2,400 to $30,000+
- Storm shutters – $3,500 to $5,000
- Hurricane-resistant roof – $1,700 to $42,500
- Impact doors – $2,400 to $3,000
- Impact garage doors – $750 to $1,300
- Roll down hurricane shutters – $30-35/sq ft
As you can see, the costs associated with hurricane proofing are pretty high, and it, of course, depends on the specifics of your home and size, among other variables. However, the multiple benefits far outweigh the costs.
- Saves on potential medical bills
- Saves on the cost of repairing potential damages
- Reduces the cost of preparing for hurricanes
- Can drastically reduce homeowner’s insurance
- Increases resale value
Windows are susceptible to damage from strong winds and flying debris during a hurricane, so you need to install hurricane windows.
These hurricane windows are made of laminated glass, which holds up well to high-speed winds by flexing instead of shattering against the pressure.
The glass is very similar to the kind used in cars. Manufacturers add a strong polymer layer in between several layers of laminated glass.
The polymer layer makes the glass resistant to shattering and capable of withstanding extreme winds. The strength of these windows means you won’t need to worry so much about boarding up your windows.
You can expect to pay anywhere between $2,400 and $30,000+ for hurricane windows for your entire house. Still, this amount will vary based on the size and number of windows.
While the amount might seem expensive, it’s lower than the cost of repairing broken windows or any injuries caused by shattered glass.
For a detailed guide on which hurricane windows to buy, check out my guide on the best hurricane window manufacturers.
My Own Hurricane Proof Window Install
In my own netzero home renovation, I added PGT Energy Star Winguard hurricane-resistent windows to the house, and couldn’t be happier with their performance. I had three sliding doors and eight windows total. Installed, it cost me around $13,500. The actual window package was just over $10,000 at the time.
Now for today’s prices, that might seem really low, because it is. Back in 2020 costs were lower. To try to keep the costs as low as possible, I also bypassed the typical retailers like Home Depot or Lowes (affiliate links to their hurricane window selection), or local window companies that charge huge markups.
Instead, I called every single building supply house in the area, and found one who would sell me the windows direct (ABC Supply in Fort Myers). They also worked with a couple of high-volume installers who only charged about $3,500 to do the whole house.
Another important retrofitting step you’ll want to take is installing hurricane shutters on any vulnerable opening in your home structure. That includes windows, patios, balconies, etc.
Do not confuse them with decorative shutters, but they may also be known by other names—impact shutters, hurricane shutters, or even hurricane panels.
The important thing is to check that the shutters are engineered to withstand high-impact winds.
Typically, they are manufactured using metals like aluminum and steel or impact-resistant plastic. Some brands use stronger materials, such as Kevlar.
Hurricane shutters typically cost somewhere around $3,500 to $5,000. You may not need them to cover hurricane windows. Still, they’re necessary for larger, uncovered parts of your house, such as screen doors and patios.
One type of hurricane shutter is the rolling or roll-down shutter. Usually made of a strong metal or a polycarbonate material, they roll over to cover entryways and windows. Rolled-up shutters go above the windows when not in use.
Some might be opposed to the aesthetics of this method of hurricane proofing. Still, many people use this type of shutter to cover garages or even stores with street access since they provide security.
Roll-down shutters typically cost around $30 to 35 per square foot (0.09 square meters), which is relatively inexpensive considering how much protection they offer.
Using Plywood As Hurricane Shutters – A Cheap Option
One way to go is to just cut solid plywood sheets so that they fit inside your window frame from the outside. You can buy clips or sliding door locks to mount them in place (drill holes into your house frame/walls).
This is probably by far the cheapest way to go for window coverage. You can keep them in a shed or outside until a storm rolls around.
Many people think of windows when hurricane-proofing is mentioned, but the roof is just as important. A damaged roof can cause major water damage to your home, which can be extremely expensive.
Even worse, a weak roof in a hurricane puts the inhabitants of a house in a very vulnerable position. Flying debris can cause serious injury, raising medical bills, not to mention the injuries and time needed to recover from them.
Preparing for a hurricane usually involves inspecting your roof, but you can go further and install a hurricane-resistant roof.
I suggest installing metal roofing because it can withstand winds up to 140 mph (225 kmph).
You can also get high wind rated shingles as well.
Expect to pay between $1,700 and $42,500 for a metal roof, depending on the metal used. I prefer galvanized steel shingles, which will set you back at least $5,600, not including installation.
Roof Shape and Hurricane Resistance
Keep in mind that the shape of your roof has a major impact on how well it resists damage from wind and flying debris.
A hipped roof is preferable to other roof shapes in hurricane-resistant designs. This type of roof has gentle slopes that provide wind resistance.
The additional cost of installing a hipped roof instead of other shapes is negligible. Different factors affect hurricane resistance in roofs, such as pressure points, number of entry points, etc.
Hire an experienced professional to install or retrofit your roof before hurricane season. Roofing can be a dangerous job to do on your own!
Don’t Forget About Hurricane Ties
Hurricane ties (or hurricane straps) are amazing for holding the roof down during a huge storm. They are metal brackets that wrap around the trusses, and are nailed or bolted in the wall. This effectively holds the walls and the roof to the foundation.
The real killer for damage to a roof during a storm is when doors or windows get blown out, allowing the wind to pressurize the inside of the house. Without the roof being tied down, you risk having it blown right off from the underside.
This is where hurricane ties come in. They can also save an incredible amount of money on your homeowner’s insurance, because of the de-risking they provide when installed. Check out our article here where I share the story on hurricane tie install insurance savings and more details on that.
The short version is that is saved over $900 per year (over half on insurance premiums).
Without a doubt, hurricane ties are one of my favorite hurricane proof projects, and has one of the highest ROI as a home project that I know of.
Impact-Rated Entry Doors and Garage Doors
Entry points to your house are vulnerable areas of the structure. Therefore, covering these entry points with impact-rated doors is good hurricane proofing practice.
I recommend installing an impact-rated entry door. Although it’s only a small part of your house, the entry door makes your home especially vulnerable to damage if it cannot withstand the high impact of strong winds.
Impact entry doors are costly ($2,400 to $3,000) compared to traditional doors, but they are worth the protection in the long run.
It’s also highly beneficial to install impact-rated garage doors. Not only will the doors protect your home from damage, but any automobiles parked in your garage will also be safer behind a strong door.
Even though an impact garage door will set you back around $750 to $1,300, that’s nothing compared to the cost of repairs for your car.
Many people also store tools and other valuables in the garage. Strong winds can easily carry tools from your garage and cause major damage wherever they land.
An impact garage door will help you contain everything and protect the structure from strong winds and rain.
You can save thousands of dollars by taking a proactive approach to hurricane proofing your home.
Hurricane proofing your house might cost a lot of money upfront but it will save a lot in the long run.
Suppose you do not have the means to purchase a hurricane-proof modular home. In that case, it’s still highly suggested that you retrofit your existing home to resist hurricane damage.
As to whether it’s worth it – yes it absolutely is. The peace of mind it brings you while a storm is barreling towards you really can’t be summed up in a dollar amount, if you know that your home will make it through without a problem.
Forbes Home: Here’s Your Hurricane Window Cost And Installation Guide | ScienceDirect: Laminated Glass | Dupont: What is Kevlar | This Old House: Metal Roofing Cost Guide (2022) | House Logic: Hurricane-Proof Your Garage Doors | Eurex Shutters: Cost of Rolling Security Shutters