What do Shutters really do?

The most common and debated question regarding Hurricane Shutters; Is the purpose of Hurricane Shutters to protect the glass from breaking? Depending on which expert you are talking to, you will get a different answer. The fact is; The primary purpose of a shutter system is to provide protection for your home/business and its contents during a hurricane. Shutters provide protection from high winds and flying debris both of which can cause extensive damage and even the loss of life.

After being devastated by hurricane Andrew in 1992 Miami-Dade County (South Florida) became the leader in developing some of the most stringent hurricane codes in the world. In the State of Florida, Hurricane Shutters are regulated under the Florida Building Code (FBC). The FBC is divided into two parts; the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) and the non-High Velocity Hurricane Zone (non-HVHZ). Miami-Dade County and Broward County comprise the HVHZ while the remainder of the state falls into the non-HVHZ.

The primary difference between the two codes is that in the HVHZ, the glass cannot be broken while the shutter system is at maximum deflection from the impact of flying debris or from extreme loads/pressure from hurricane force winds. In the non-HVHZ, the glass can be broken but the shutter system must maintain its integrity not allowing flying debris to enter the structure or allow the structure to rapidly pressurize.

The testing of hurricane shutter systems is done first by performing a battery of impact tests by shooting a 9lb 2-by-4 from a specially designed cannon at 50 feet per second which is equivalent to the 2-by-4 traveling at 34 miles per hour, simulating flying debris during a hurricane. After being impacted the shutter system is then tested by performing a series of cycle tests which is done by applying pressure to the shutter system in 3 second gusts simulating the effects of high winds during a hurricane and the effects to the shutter system, including the fasteners used to mount the system to a specific substrate (wood, concrete, concrete blocks or steel framing).

For shutter systems used outside the State of Florida, in other coastal regions of the US, the testing requirements are very similar to that of the FBC and fall under the jurisdiction of the International Building Code (IBC). The IBC mandates that hurricane shutter systems be tested following ASTM 1886 & ASTM 1996 test protocol, which requires both impact and cycling testing of the shutter system.

GPP Enterprises offers shutter systems for both the HVHZ and non-HVHZ areas in Florida and has tested their products to meet the IBC requirements by testing to the ASTM test standards for use in coastal regions in the US and surrounding areas. GPP offers a variety of shutter systems at many different price points to meet your specific wants and needs!! When you’re ready to purchase a shutter system to protect your property and family, contact GPP to help with making the right choice to meet your needs and budget. We are the experts, shutters are all we do!!