The 2013 Hurricane season is upon us. It’s time to wrestle with the idea of putting up plywood again or purchase hurricane rated products that meet your needs. You have looked and there are a handful of companies out there that offer various services to protect your assets. There is a lot of information out there. What these companies are selling is a product that you have to rely on when it counts the most. Hurricane protection is unlike any other service performed on your home. A roofer installs a new roof, a plumber installs a faucet, or an electrician installs a new chandelier. If any of these installations are of poor quality you know it right away or soon there after. Hurricane protection is the one installation that you have to trust during one of the most violently destructive events in nature. So, who do you trust? These three steps will help you efficiently separate the wheat from the chaff.
In the State of Florida there are two types of state recognized product approvals; Miami-Dade Notice of Acceptance (NOA) or the State of Florida Product Approval Number (FL#). Ask your contractor to produce these. If the product being sold to you does not carry either of these numbers it is not state recognized, it cannot be permitted as hurricane protection, it will not count towards insurance discounts, and its performance would be uncertain during a storm event. Miami-Dade NOA is only required for certain geographic regions in South Florida called the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ). The Panhandle of Florida does not require Miami-Dade NOA.
Because hurricane installation is such an important service The State of Florida has required all companies offering installation of hurricane products to be licensed contractors. Licensed contractors are responsible for their contracts and the permits they pull. License numbers have to be displayed on all advertising by law. If you do not see a license number associated with their company they are not contractors. If you have any questions about a contractor you can always call your local building department and ask.
The number one way to protect yourself from a bad install is to ask to see the engineering. This conversation should take less than a couple of minutes with engineering in hand. Ask the contractor the fastener spacing, depth, and the type of fasteners approved for your product. Make sure THAT FASTENER is what shows up on your jobsite! 100% of the jobs I have repaired or replaced in the past year have NOT BEEN TO CODE! The storm shutters you attach to your structure are only as good as the attachment and the attachment is the sole responsibility of the installing contractor.
Stopping the Storm,