Photo of hurricane Fran - 1999

Lowcountry Storm Panels

Economical Polycarbonate Storm Panels for the DIY'er

Photo of hurricane Fran - 1999
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Fiberglass Rods Explained

In the beginning........

When the manufacturer first tested their polycarbonate panels (a 4' x 8' sheet) in a laboratory environment, they inserted two 3/16" poltruded (and, no - I don't know what that means) fiberglass rods into the "flutes" that run up and down in the material. They inserted one into each of the flutes running just outboard of the vertical holes that had been drilled into the panel (for the anchor screws). These fiberglass rods are extremely rigid and tough and they provided considerable strength and stiffening to the outer edge of the panel. Try to picture the side of the screw trying to tear through the material as an extreme wind pushes and bows the panel in. With the fiberglass rods inserted in the flutes it makes the entire length of the flute a load-supporting surface as soon as the screw first comes in contact with the rod.

Subsequently.........

The manufacturer decided to test the material in the lab without the fiberglass rods and, lo and behold, it passed the tests anyway! So why do I carry these rods? It is my opinion that they are well worth their minimal price (even though I didn't use them on my own home) and MAY justify larger spacing between the anchors. In other words, it is my OPINION that if the fiberglass rods were used as I've described, it would be overkill to place the anchors on 14" centers and a more reasonable, say, 18-20" measurement could be used. Wider spacing equates to fewer anchors, less drilling and an easier installation. I hope to be able to get back in the lab later this year and test the panels using the fiberglass rods and the wider anchor spacing. (Use your browser's "BACK" button to return to the previous page or use the navigation buttons at the top of this page.)

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