Condo Owner Reprint

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Protecting Your Condo From Hurricanes

By Daphne Shannon

Simply put, the gulf coast is awesome. The beauty of the Gulf of Mexico combined with the highly appealing weather and climate make the gulf coast an ideal place to live and vacation. Unfortunately, as most of us know all too well, nothing is perfect, and the gulf coast is no exception. Along with the beauty and serenity of the gulf coast come problems. Undoubtedly, the biggest of these are hurricanes. However, there are steps that gulf coast residents and property owners can take to help protect their homes and investments.

Bill Fleming, regional representative with ShatterGard, said that his company’s product, a “transparent, virtually impenetrable” film is especially adept at defending against the flying glass and debris associated with hurricanes. According to Fleming, ShatterGard is a clear film that is applied to existing windows that when properly applied is “optically clear” and does not alter the appearance of the glass. “It is difficult, if not impossible to tell which glass has film and which glass does not. The filming can be done without the remodeling time and effort that is required to replace glass,” he said.

ShatterGARD literature claims that filming windows with ShatterGard strengthens existing window glass up to 300 percent, providing protection by keeping glass intact. “The glass might still break if struck with sufficient force, but the film holds all of the broken pieces together.” Fleming said. “Holding glass together serves two purposes: First, it prevents an opening from being created from the broken glass, lessening water damage. Second, collateral damage, such as injuries from flying glass, is significantly reduced. A properly filmed window also prevents other debris from flying through the window. Potential fire damage is also decreased by lessening the possibility of the glass shattering from the pressure of radiated heat and feeding oxygen to a fire.”

Fleming added that ShatterGard also works as a sealant, defending against the water leakage so often associated with hurricanes.

“We’ve gotten a lot of good responses from several home owners” associations on the gulf coast,” he said.

However, according to Dave MacDonald, who with his wife and two sons owns DeMac Distributors in Orange Beach, hurricane shutters provide the most effective way to protect gulf coast property, especially condominiums, against hurricanes.

There are several different kinds of shutters currently on the market. MacDonald said, nothing that there are different advantages to each of them. “Bahama shutters are obviously very popular right now because they are stylish, but truthfully they are not ‘impact-resistant products’ and are not made for use on condominium units. So while you may find them attractive, they are really not a viable choice for condo owners,” he said.

Accordion shutters are the most commonly used type of hurricane-protective shutter, according to MacDonald. “The accordion systems do work, and we really promote this impact-resistant product,” he said.

Motorized or manual roll-up shutter systems or “roll ups” are also good bets in terms of providing impact resistance and defending against water leakage. MacDonald said, “Roll-up systems not only do an excellent job of protecting a unit from debris but also of controlling what is probably the biggest problem for most condo owners during a hurricane—water leakage and damage. Obviously, the motorized systems are much more convenient, and, in general, roll-ups are about 2 ½ times more expensive than accordion shutters.”

“Deciding on a hurricane protection system is really a matter of several factors such as budget, convenience and aesthetics,” he said.

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Security & Safety Window Films

ShatterGardis a transparent virtually impenetrable film that applies to glass to prevent shattering.

ShatterGardwindow films are utilized worldwide to defend against burglaries, natural disasters, and even the occasional stray golf ball.

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