Now bracing for category-4 mayhem means simply pulling down your shades. Storm-A-Rest manufacturer JHRG managed to turn a few pounds of .025-inch-thick fabric into stronger storm protection for windows than plywood. Faced with two-by-fours shot at 34 mph from an air cannon (one of the tests for category-4 certification in Florida), Storm-A-Rest panels survived undamaged; the boards punched right through plywood.
Best of all, the shades let in about 80 percent of sunlight, so you're not in the dark when the power goes out.
The fabric's brute strength comes from Honeywell Spectra fiber—the same stuff used in some bulletproof vests—adapted to stand up to Florida's tough building codes. To make a wind- and waterproof coating (typically used on outdoor gear) stick to Spectra's slippery polyethylene strands, the company spent two and a half years finding the correct mix of time and heat for an even coating. Engineers also had to determine the right weave pattern and density to stop large projectiles. It turned out that a slightly loose weave worked best to dissipate the energy of an impact.
"After [a string of hurricanes in] '04, everyone got into the storm-protection business," says Florida contractor Michael Faraone. "We've used some of the other products. This is the only one that really is storm protection." $20 per sq. ft.; stormarest.com
This is very cool. However they would need to get the price down in order for it to be practical for mainstream use.
This is not the best hurricane product out there, and at that price, why not just buy roll downs or something like that!
For a more practical product, check out StormWatch. Their "curtains" are actually clear (yes, clear!), and they have another product better suited to porches and large openings. Plus, they sell at a much more reasonable price...I think I paid about $11/sq for mine, and installed them myself.
Also, I'm pretty sure StormWatch started adding the Sunbrella cover/trim thing before JHRG copied it.
Their site is stormwatchinfo.com if you want to check it out.
eh, I've seen better. The price could use some adjustment, and would you REALLY want to WATCH a hurricane? I mean, it makes NO sense. Just nail/super+hot glue/attach a piece of steel.