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Shutters can help weather the wind

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | May 30, 2024

With hurricane season upon us, it’s a good time to explore the available options to further secure a home from the storm.

Advanced Hurricane Technology (AHT) educates people on how hurricanes can cause destruction.

“It’s not just debris, wind – what causes the most amount of damage is the difference in positive and negative pressure that pushes and pulls on roofs, doors, and windows,” Advanced Hurricane Technology (AHT) Head of Marketing Fernanda Zabala said.

The company offers hurricane roll downs, accordions, and hurricane screens to protect the home. She said these three make sure they are catching all three – debris, wind, and pressure. 

In addition, Zabala said her father patented an end retention system that prevents the positive and negative pressure from pulling shutters off of its track.

“It helps to provide that extra level of security,” she said making it safe from the three main dangers of a hurricane.

The hurricane roll down shutters are motorized.

“It’s the best and strongest product we have in the market and easiest to deploy,” Zabala said of the shutters that can be deployed at the push of a button.

In addition, it has a WiFi hub making the deployment of the shutters accessible from anywhere.

“You can be traveling, snowbirds in their homes up north and know a hurricane is coming and deploy the shutters from a push of the button,” she said.

Accordion shutters are the most affordable product.

Zabala said although not motorized, they are easy to open and shut on a horizontal opening and shutting motion. She said they are relatively easy to operate and have a secure lock to ensure they stay shut.

The hurricane screen is another patented product known as the super span as it covers larger spans up to 27 feet wide depending on the individual’s zone.

“It’s perfect for lanais. They do a fantastic job for lanais. It allows you to look out, but difficult to look in,” Zabala said. “It’s a privacy screen in addition to having hurricane protection.”

The AHT sales people are the best suited to take a look at the home and share what the best product is for the specific openings of a home.

“We also work closely with HOA restrictions on products and colors,” she said. 

Those interested in learning more about the hurricane protection can call (239) 594-7722, visit www.ahtshutters.com, or visit the showroom at 16501 Old Airport Haul Rd., Fort Myers.

Zabala said the large manufacturing plant allows individuals to come to the factory, test the product and get a behind the scenes look at how they are made.

They can call us 239-594-7722, they can reach us at ahtshutters.com and they can always come and visit. Large manufacturing plant we welcome anybody. My brother who is the ”

“I am an engineer and I like to know how things work. On average our tickets are about $12,000 for a home. If I am going to spend that much money, I want to know what goes into the product that I am buying,” she said.

From the time of purchase to installation, Zabala said they like to stay between four to six weeks, which is greatly dependent on the permit filing process and HOA approval, both of which are out of their control.

“We not only install, but we manufacture,” she said.

Zabala said there is no wrong time to look into shutters for a home.

“We live in a state that can pretty much guarantee to have at least one storm where you would want to protect your home,” she said. “There is no wrong time to do the research and come up with a decision with the right product for you.”

Zabala encourages individuals to really research who is installing the product on their home, as the product is only as good as the installation of the product.

“If it is not installed well, it will not work well for your home,” she said. “We really put quality first and foremost. The products that we sell are products we use to protect our own families and our own homes.”

Storm Smart also weighed in on “a home solution for hurricane protection,” offering storm catcher screens, accordion shutters, roll down shutters, aluminum panels, impact windows and doors.

Storm Smart Vice President of Marketing and Branding Bruce Hershey said their No. 1 product is the storm catcher, which is a roll down screen that can be deployed manually, through a remote, or an app on the phone. During Hurricane Ian, 98% of the storm catchers succeeded in protecting the home, he said.

The storm catcher not only gives the home maximum protection during a storm but can also be used for lifestyle.

Homeowners can lower it down and create a whole new space on the patio for parties or block the sun from entering, Hershey said.

“If you open up the shutters, only 5% of the air flow will go out,” he said. “The storm catcher shuts everything down and you can still see through it, which is amazing.”

Hershey said a lot of people believe that if they have impact windows and doors, they do not need shutters or a screen. He said they are still windows, though, and are going to break at some point if constantly impacted.

“If you don’t have a storm catcher, or shutter, you are going to get those elements,” Hershey said, adding that if a homeowner has both they will have a “one-two punch for maximum protection.”

Storm Smart Creative Lead Olga Kazakova echoed the sentiment that once the windows and doors are impacted you will have to replace them.

“If you put in shutters, or a hurricane screen, you won’t have to worry about it. Worst case scenario you are still protected from the other elements,” she said.

Hershey said right now is the perfect time to look into protection for the home, as it is typically a six-to-10-week installation period.

“If you start planning now, you can be prepared before the storm,” he said.

Kazakova said they do everything from the initial consultation to closing out, to permit and conducting the punchout.

“Our customers never have to worry about anything. We take care of everything,” she said.

Kazakova said they are a local company out of Fort Myers that sends their product through extensive testing.

“Our shutters are stretched and impacted to make sure they can withstand the top of the hurricane,” she said.

For more information, call Storm Smart at (888) 657-7876, or visit www.stormsmart.com. They are at 2351 Crystal Drive, Unit 101 in Fort Myers.