Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PLYFASTNER AND PLYFASTNER PLUS?
PlyFASTNer, our legacy, wedge-shaped design debuted in 2002 and has been installed on over 185,000 window and door openings. Despite successful application to over 10,000 homes, we frequently heard from customers seeking a simpler and more affordable solution. The resulting newly-released, 2nd-generation patent-pending low-profile design of PlyFASTner Plus addresses those concerns via an equally-secure system at a fraction of the cost with fewer components which are quicker and easier to install.
WHAT IS THE LARGEST PANEL SIZE THAT REQUIRES ONLY 4 PLYFASTNERS?
48” x 70” (two for each opposite side)
WHAT TYPE OF PLYWOOD SHOULD I USE?
The short answer is simple: The first and most important requirement is that the panel material meet building code requirements. These requirements can be met by using ½” CDX plywood. But there are many other types of Wood Structural Panels that can be used to board up openings. Some exceed the capability of ½” CDX plywood, while some are worse and should be avoided.
1. Interior vs. exterior plywood panels
As the name implies, interior panel material should not be used as shutters or for opening protection. Interior panels are not designed to withstand outdoor humidity, moisture, rain and UV light. Examples of interior use panels are particle board as well as cabinet grade, AC and BC rated plywood. These products contain a resin or glue that dissolves in water and cause premature delamination. In contrast, exterior ½” CDX sheathing grade plywood is manufactured with an exterior grade glue. Periodic rain saturation does not adversely affect the glue but could cause decay to the wood. See moisture sealing panel below.
2. Panel thickness
The building code requires a minimum thickness of ½” (actual thickness 15/32”) or 7/16” OSB (Oriented Strand Board) panel. 3-ply, ½” plywood is most commonly used for opening protection. 4-ply ½” plywood has recently become available and is well worth the additional few dollars per panel as it provides additional impact protection and is not as likely to bow or warp. Many insurance based organizations that push “Code Plus” (better than code) will require 5/8” thick plywood. PlyFASTner Plus® can be used with any thickness of plywood panel. Caution should be taken, since the additional weight of 5/8” thick plywood makes installation more difficult and the fact that the thicker plywood only provides a minimal amount of additional protection.
3. OSB or plywood
Both meet the International Code Council’s definition of Wood Structural Panels and can be used for Opening Protection. Both are manufactured with exterior grade glue. Oriented Strand Board does not hold up well to the coastal humidity unprotected. Also, OSB which was designed as a sheathing material which is intended to be supported (nailed) around the perimeter AND interior studs spaced 16” apart. It does not fare well when spanning over 24”. Even with a material cost significantly less than plywood, PlyFASTner still does not suggest using OSB. Plywood provides greater longevity and superior strength. When properly stored flat (vertically or horizontally) and care given to drying out panels after use, plywood CDX sheathing will last as long as the sheathing under the shingles on a roof. See PlyFASTner recommended panel rack.
4. Treated, painted or sealed panels
Although the use of pressure-treated and Ground Contact Pressure-treated plywood is recommended for storm shutters to extend their useful life, it has been determined that treated but unsealed plywood can absorb up to twice its weight in water. A full sheet, saturated with water, could weigh as much as 135 pounds, making very difficult to move and take longer to dry out.
Painting plywood storm panels is not recommended. Paint relies on adhesion to the surface. Even good wood primers with multiple coats of paint will expand and eventually crack allowing moisture into the core of the panel. This accelerates the decay and compromises the adhesion of the paint.
The best way to preserve plywood panels is with an exterior grade moisture sealer. Sealers do not rely on adhesion but on penetration of the pores to repel contact moisture. There is no coat to crack or peal. Sealing pressure-treated plywood is the best solution to preserve plywood panels but more than doubles the cost of ½” CDX plywood.
HOW DO I INSTALL PANELS TO COVER AN OVERSIZED OPENING LIKE A SLIDING GLASS DOOR?
Oversized openings can be protected using two sheets of plywood with the 8′ dimension running horizontally. Since the 48” span is exceeded, the PlyFASTner spacing requirements change to 15″ center-to-center and 9’’ to the top or bottom See diagram on installation instructions). Anchors are only required on two opposite sides.
THE INSTRUCTIONS INDICATE THAT THE ANCHORS ARE LOCATED ON THE LEFT AND RIGHT SIDES OF THE OPENING TO BE COVERED. IS IT POSSIBLE TO LOCATE THE ANCHORS ALONG THE TOP AND BOTTOM EDGES INSTEAD?
Either orientation will work to secure the opening. The building code states that the anchors should be placed on opposing sides. CAUTION: sometimes it is difficult to locate a single sill at the bottom of the window in the alternate orientation.
I WAS GIVEN A BOX OF SCREWS BY MY BUILDER TO FASTEN STORM PANELS TO OUR VINYL-SIDED HOUSE. DOES THE PLYFASTNER SYSTEM WORK WITH VINYL?
PlyFASTner is suitable for all exterior surfaces, including vinyl siding. We at PlyFASTner do not consider screws as a feasible option because resulting damage to the trim would be unacceptable.
MY VINYL WINDOWS HAVE NO TRIM. WHERE DO I INSTALL THE ANCHORS?
PlyFASTner anchors must penetrate through the vinyl siding and be anchored to the structural framing inside the wall. The preparation hole for the anchor is drilled through the vinyl siding. When fully inserted, the head of the anchor will be flush or slightly recessed from the surface of the vinyl siding. The removable bolt may need to be longer than the standard 2″, since the window extends beyond the siding. After measuring the required length, the removable bolt may be ordered through the factory or purchased locally. Ask for a standard 1/4” x 20 stainless steel hex head bolt of the measured length.
HOW DO I INSTALL THE PLYFASTNER SYSTEM ON MY BRICK VENEER HOUSE?
Brick veneer will not hold the required loads. This installation requires anchors long enough to be inserted through the brick and threaded into the 2 x 4 framing by 2 1/2”. This hardware may be special ordered from the factory by contacting us.
HOW DO I INSTALL THE PLYFASTNER SYSTEM ON MY MASONRY BLOCK HOUSE?
Tested and approved Powers AC 5.5 Plus Epoxy or equivalent must be used in a solid grout-filled block. The anchor must be imbedded a minimum of three inches in epoxy in the solid grout-filled block.
IS THE RECOMMENDED MASONRY INSTALLATION CONSIDERED “VIBRATION RESISTANT’’ AS REQUIRED BY CODE?
Yes. But to achieve vibration resistance, the block cell must be filled solid with grout. No anchor can achieve vibration resistance in a hollow CMU. Powers AC 5.5 Plus Epoxy is the tested and approved adhesive to qualify as vibration resistant by code.
I NOTICED THE 3/8" EPOXY NOZZLE THAT COMES WITH EPOXY WILL NOT FIT INTO THE 5/16" DRILLED HOLE. SINCE THE HOLE CANNOT BE FILLED FROM THE SURFACE, HOW DO I FILL THE DRILLED HOLE WITH EPOXY?
The installer will need to purchase a 6″ clear tubing with a 3/8″ internal diameter that will snuggly attach to the epoxy nozzle. Then another 1/4″ x 6″ segment of icemaker line will snuggly fit inside the clear tubing (readily available at hardware stores). This tube allows the hole to be filled from the bottom and eliminates air pockets.
WHICH BUILDING CODES DOES THE PLYFASTNER SYSTEM MEET?
The PlyFASTner system was tested in accordance with ASTM E 1886, ASTM E 1996, and ASTM E 330, including the large missile test and positive and negative cyclical pressures. The system meets the requirements of the Florida Building Code, the International Building Code, and International Residential Code. The downloadable Evaluation Report will provide Building Services with the required information that certifies code compliance.
HOW MUCH FORCE CAN THE PLYFASTNER HARDWARE WITHSTAND?
Code requires any system to hold a minimum of 52 and 78 PSF with the required safety factor in the positive or negative direction. The PlyFASTner system held in excess of 100 PSF for 10 second duration. This force would apply 533 pounds of force on one PlyFASTner or 3200 pounds on a full sheet of plywood.
WHAT WIND SPEED IS 100 PSF EQUIVALENT TO?
100 PSF is equivalent to a 200 MPH wind.
HOW IS THE BEST WAY TO STORE PROTECTIVE PANELS?
Plywood may be stored vertically (on edge) or horizontal (flat). Since panels can be used year after year, they should be stored in a dry area and not subject to blowing rain or direct sunlight. Panels should not be stored directly on a concrete slab or within 18 inches of soil. If panels are easily accessible, they will be more likely to be used.
CAN YOUR SYSTEM BE USED WITH POLYCARBONATE HURRICANE PANELS?
Yes, doing so and fastening with our hardware spacing requirements meets code.
WHAT THICKNESS DOES THE PLYWOOD NEED TO BE?
1/2″ thick CDX plywood is required to meet building code requirements.
WILL I RECEIVE AN INSURANCE DISCOUNT IF I INSTALL THE PLYFASTNER SYSTEM?
Some insurers may provide a discount if a windborne debris protection system is in place. Since the PlyFASTner system meets code, you should inquire with your insurance agent.