Best Alternative To Boarding Up Windows [Storm Safety]

Alternative To Boarding Up Windows

Boarding Up Windows From The Outside

Important supplies and tips needed

Supplies list:

  • Large washers
  • Circular saw
  • Plywood
  • Screws (rust resistant recommended)
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Measuring tape
  • Barrel Bolts

Smart Tip #1: It is recommended to use plywood that is 5/8 inch thick

Smart Tip #2: Consider using tension clips or hurricane clips (PLYLOX window clip).

These are clips made of stainless steel or carbon steel and are useful to secure the plywood. There is no need to nail anything down or drill holes. The h-shape holds to the window casing. They can also be reused every year.

Recommended and highly durable external window storm clips:

PLYLOX Hurricane Window Clips (Carbon Steel,...
  • EASY TO INSTALL- PLYLOX hurricane window clips easily slip on to the edges of 1/2" Plywood board;...
  • INDEPENDENT LAB-TESTED by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center for...

1. Boarding Up With Vinyl Siding

For windows with vinyl siding, first, measure the space that you are planning to cover. Make sure the plywood panels overlap your window by 4 inches in order to prevent the windows from getting blown out. Drill the holes right into the studs because the trim is not strong enough to stand against the storm. Space out the holes about 12 to 16 inches as you drill the holes.

2. Boarding Up On A Stucco Or Brick House

If you have a home with stucco or brick exterior, boarding up your windows for the storm will be a little different than usual. Avoid measuring the border which lies beyond the window. Instead, place the plywood inside the frame of the window. Use barrel bolts that are 4 inches and space them about 15 inches apart from each other when securing the panels.

Boarding Up Windows On The Inside

It is always a good idea to put security window films on the glass inside. This may not be as effective as boarding up windows on the outside of the house, but the films will hold the glass in place in case the windows break. You can also use glass window clips to make sure that your windows stay shut.

Covering Windows Without Plywood

Sometimes it’s difficult to get plywood during the hurricane season because it gets sold out easily. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, do not fret because there are other alternatives that are just as effective. Here are some alternative types of wood that you can use:

  • Polycarbonate panels
  • Oriented strand board
  • Or Insulation board

Polycarbonate panels are about 60 % lighter as compared to plywood, and it is transparent enough to allow natural light into your home. This is especially useful when the power goes out.

Plastic Storm Panels

Tarps Medium Duty Waterproof | Ground Tent...
  • DURABLE: Casa Pura Tarps are especially strong and flexible due to the high density woven upper...
  • EASY TO USE: Casa Pura Tarps are lightweight and easy to use, yet superior to other tarpaulins due...
  • WEATHERPROOF: Use our tarp anywhere; they are waterproof, shrink proof, and resistent to sun...

If you are looking for a temporary solution to boarding up windows than lexan is your answer. You can make your own storm window with this and make a simple wood frame. All you have to do is router out a groove in order to let the lexan sit.

It isn’t costlier than plywood, and it is also easy to cut. Cut it out so that it can just in the front of the window blind stop. Secure it by simply drilling holes through the blind stop.

You can even find lexan in corrugated panels which are installed in mounted tracks or are bolted in place. These plastic shutters come in so opaque, translucent and clear styles. Unlike the commonly used metal or plywood, lexans allow light to enter the home whenever there is a storm.


  • Can be put up easily once it is mounted
  • Allows light to enter
  • Lightweight


  • Comparatively expensive
  • Will need additional assistance when putting it up
  • Require space to store it

Fabric Storm Panels

Bates- Drop Cloth, Canvas Drop Cloth 9x12,...
  • 12x9 Ft Leak-Proof Drop Cloth (8oz)
  • Odorless, 100% Heavy Duty Washable And Reusable Canvas Material
  • Perfect For Indoor And Outdoor Use To Protect Floors And Furniture While Painting, Storing And…

This is an effective alternative to boarding up windows as compared to the commonly used rigid materials. These are made from PVC coated fabric, Kevlar or Geo-synthetic. You can attach them around the doors and windows by using bolts and grommets or buckles and straps. The mesh fabric allows air and light to enter the home while keeping out flying debris, rain, and wind.

It is a common misconception that fabric is not a strong enough material to sufficiently protect the windows against the strong winds of the hurricane and other flying projectiles. However, there are many fabric storm panels that meet or even exceed the standard building codes for hurricane protection.

You can either let the dealer install it or do it yourself with a little bit of help from the internet.


  • Lets light in
  • Can be put up easily once it is mounted
  • Lightweight
  • Fold for storage


  • Comparatively expensive

Metal Storm Panels

M-D Building Products 56032 1-Feet by 1-Feet...
  • 28-gauge steel
  • Solid galvanized steel sheet
  • Can be cut with tin snips

Steel panels or corrugated aluminum are extremely sturdy. The individual panels are made to overlap each other in order to make it even stronger. You can install them on by bolting it in place or permanently mounting it on tracks.


  • Very easy to install once it is mounted
  • Corrugated designs make it more sturdy


  • Will need additional help to put it up
  • Blocks light
  • Needs a lot of storage space


Artlicious Baltic Birch Plywood Sheets...
  • 3 mm ≈ 1/8″ (3 plies)
  • Void-free core means better gluing and screw-holding than other plywood
  • Core layers are bonded with exterior marine-grade adhesive

This is the most commonly used material and also the most affordable. There are many state building codes that do not approve plywood for protection from the hurricane. Previously, it was considered that 1/2 inch was enough, but now it has been revised to 5/8 inches in thickness.

This is considered the appropriate thickness that is strong enough to offer protection for any flying projectiles. Plywood is a heavy material and is awkward to handle. This makes hanging it quite a labor-intensive exercise that require more than just one person.

Despite the disadvantages, plywood is commonly purchased during hurricane season, and there it is recommended to buy them in advance to avoid missing out in order to avoid any last minute preparations, measure and cut them into the right sizes. You can attach them with screws, bolts, special clips or barrel bolts.


  • Most affordable
  • Commonly available
  • DIY installation


  • Heavy and awkward
  • Needs more than one person to handle
  • Does not meet building codes
  • Does not let light enter

No matter how you decide to cover your windows during the next storm, we wish you and your loved ones a safe passage and prey for minimal damage.