Experts share how to properly board up windows before Irma hits

Posted at 5:36 PM, Sep 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-06 21:26:06-04

Right now, people across the state of Florida are racing to ready their homes for the threat of Hurricane Irma. Experts tell ABC Action News that readying your windows can be one of the best things you can do to protect your house from wind damage and debris.

They say it's important to note that taping your windows isn't known to work.

Instead, boarding up your windows is the best way to go. But many people have questions about how to do this properly -- especially if they aren't especially handy.

Home Repair experts with the app HOMEE went through boarding up your windows step by step.

The say the first thing to do is figure out whether you have wood window sills or concrete window sills. That's key because a wood screw won't go into concrete, and a concrete screw won't work with wood.

“You have to have the right material for the right screw," said James Asmundo, HOMEE handyman.

The next thing you want to do is measure your sills. You want to ensure the entire window is sealed and covered, Asmundo said.

Then, get the wood cut to fit the sills. Either do it yourself, or get it cut in a store. Many of the big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes will cut the wood for you for a price.

However, as Hurricane Irma gets closer to Florida, plywood is in short supply. If you'd still like to get plywood, some independent building supply stores and lumber stores still have some available in the Tampa Bay area. 

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Next, you want to start the drilling process. If you have concrete, you need a hammer drill, a drill bit made for concrete and concrete fasteners. You must predrill the holes into both the plywood and the concrete. Then, attach.

If you have wood drill, Asmundo says no pre-drilling is necessary. You can use a regular drill and wood screws to attach.

The most important thing is to ensure you are drilling into the actual sills, not your home.

With plywood in short supply, some people may not be able to get their wood cut on time. Not a lot of independent building supply stores will cut the wood for you. If necessary, you can simply get a larger piece of plywood. As long as you seal the entire window and drill only into the window sills, Asmundo said that will work as a makeshift solution.

If you cannot find any plywood, another alternative is attaching wooden 2x4s to cover your windows, attaching them in the same way you'd attach the plywood.

“If you have 2x4s or if you can manage to get enough together, anything that you put over your window that’s solid is going to save you from glass getting broken by debris," Asmundo said.