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Board Up

Unless your home is equipped with hurricane shutters, an approaching stormmeans you'd better get busy putting plywood over your windows. Plywood isinexpensive, readily available (as long as you don't wait until the lastmoment to shop), and has 30 percent greater impact strength than OSB.Insurance industry groups recommend 5/8-inch-thick, exterior-grade (CDX)plywood, at minimum.

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Installation is a two-person job, particularly with large panels. Forsafety's sake, get them up before the wind picks up and turns these sheetsinto sails. Here's how to protect the windows of wood-framed houses. (Formasonry houses, see tip below.)

  1. Mark the location of the studs closest to each side of and underneaththewindow. (If there are no nailheads in the siding to give away wherethestuds are, you'll have to do some probing with a drill and bit.)Plywoodfastened just to trim or sheathing can go flying.
  2. Cut each panel so it will extend at least one inch beyond the framing onall sides of the window.
  3. Number each panel to indicate which opening it will cover. Add an arrowshowing which end goes up.
  4. Use corrosion-resistant screws that are long enough to reach at least 2inches into the framing. They hold far better than nails and are easier toremove. The best screws for this purpose are galvanized pan-heads or lags,which have flat-bottomed heads that won't sink into and weaken the plywood.
  5. Hold the plywood up against the opening and drill pilot holes through itand into the framing every 16 inches.Be sure each hole is at least oneinch away from the panel edge. Now use a cordless drill/driver or impactdriver to drive all the screws home.



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