There is a right way, and a wrong way to board up your windows when high winds are headed your way. The wrong method provides high winds with the ability to get behind the wood panels and pull them off, exposing your home to major damage.

The right method recesses the wood panels into the windowsills and secures the plywood panels with bolts. Remember to secure all windows and doors, including sliding glass doors. And reinforce the inside of your garage as well.

Securing Plywood Shutters
Plywood shutters are a low-cost alternative to expensive commercial shutters. You can also hire a carpenter or handyman to make custom plywood shutters for your house.

  • Ideally windows need to be inset at least two inches from the exterior wall since the plywood will be mounted inside this recess.
  • Each window and door should be carefully measured and a piece of plywood cut to fit snug inside the opening. Write on each panel which window or door it covers.
  • Screw the barrel bolts to the panel, at least one on each side. For larger windows and doors there should be a bolt every 18 inches or so.
  • Drill holes for the bolts into the framing.
  • Cement an anchor into each hole. After the cement has set, install the panel to make sure everything is aligned.
  • Remove and waterproof the plywood with a coat of exterior polyurethane or paint (leaving labels clear).
  • Store in a dry, cool place, since heat and moisture can warp plywood.

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at