Along the eastern coastline of the US, the early summer months mark the beginning of the hurricane season, which lasts throughout the fall. When faced with the severe weather that this season brings, your home's windows are one of the biggest vulnerabilities. From high winds to flying debris, protecting your windows is important. Whether you're adding additional protection measures or upgrading your windows completely, the time to start is now. Get your preparations done in early spring so that you're ready for whatever comes your way as the hurricane season settles in.

Attach Fabric Barriers

While fabric may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to protecting windows, you may be surprised at the amount of protection that it can offer. Many fabric storm panels are crafted from synthetic fabrics coated with PVC or something similar. Some are even made from Kevlar. The panels attach to the window with grommets, bolts or other anchor points. If you're looking for something that's unique and still allows air and light to filter in, this may be a great choice.

Invest in Polycarbonate Panels

Polycarbonate is a form of plastic. These panels are designed to cover the entire window and can either rest in a track or be bolted over the window itself. Although plastic window panels are often more expensive than wood, they're ideal for allowing sunlight through. This is important if you're in an area where hurricanes bring power outages, because they'll allow sufficient outside light to reduce your need for candles during the day.

Consider Plywood Protection

You'll see plywood in many pictures from hurricane-struck areas, and there's good reason. Plywood is an affordable barrier material that you can affix to your windows to prevent them from being shattered. Unfortunately, most building codes don't allow for the use of plywood as an approved protective product. For the best chance of protection, you need plywood that's very thick, which means it's going to be heavy. If you won't likely have people around to help you put the plywood over your windows when a storm threat looms, it's not a viable option.

Since plywood is a popular option, it can be tough to come by once a storm warning has been issued. That's why you should invest in plywood panels before the storm season starts. That way, you'll have plenty of time to cut the pieces to size before a storm comes in.

Opt For Metal Window Covers

If you're looking for something you can invest in once and have last for many years, consider buying metal hurricane panels instead. Metal panels are usually crafted from corrugated aluminum or steel, which makes them durable enough to hold up against even severe hurricanes. You'll just have to install a set of tracks on the window frame to insert the panels when you need them.

Replace The Entire Window

The most significant investment you can make is to upgrade all of your home's windows to hurricane windows. Although they may cost more initially, you'll find that buying hurricane windows reduces your need for other barrier materials. Hurricane windows are crafted of multiple glass slabs separated by a layer of PVB membrane. This membrane preserves the window's construction, reducing the risk of shattering.

One of the best parts of hurricane windows is that they will blend in as though they were traditional windows. They offer extra protections against wind and storm impact without altering the appearance of the house. The membrane in the middle also provides you with some added insulating properties to help reduce your climate control costs.

When it comes to protecting your home from storm damage in a hurricane-prone area, hurricane windows are probably your best investment. If you're not ready to take that leap this year, talk with a local home window installation contractor about the best barrier you can use on your home.