We used to have 1/2″ and 3/4″ plywood sheets with pre-drilled holes that we’d slip onto bolts sticking out of our window frames when a hurricane came. The bolts weren’t the most aesthetically-pleasing thing, and the plywood took a lot of storage space and was a real pain to set up and tear down.
After the last hurricane came through town, we’d decided that we’d had enough of the plywood approach and started looking at other hurricane-proofing solutions for the windows and went with hurricane fabric: kevlar panels with mounting brackets held in place by screws going into holes embedded in the window frame or wall. During non-hurricane times, plastic plugs go into the screw holes.
We have a panel for every window in the house, and the whole set fits in a closet. It would take me a whole afternoon (and ideally, another person to assist) to cover the windows the old plywood way; I can now do the job solo in about an hour with the panels.
Here’s a demo of hurricane fabric in action:
Unpleasant as the replacement costs would be, you consider your windows expendable in hurricane country. What you really want is something that will prevent hurricane projectiles from entering your house (and more gravely, entering you.) We’re counting on the hurricane fabric’s combination of strength and “give” to deflect whatever the cat 3 or cat 4 winds decided to hurl chez nous.
I’ll report back if anything interesting happens.