Things You’ll Need

  • Tape measure

  • Plywood, 3/4-inch-thick

  • Hand saw or electric saw (optional)

  • Window clips (at least four per window)

  • Hammer (optional)

  • Allen wrench

  • Sturdy work gloves

  • Safety goggles

  • Circular saw (optional)

  • Permanent marker

  • 120-grit sandpaper

  • Electric hammer drill

  • 5/32 drill bit

  • Tapcons (3/16- by 2 1/4-inch)

  • Large washers

  • Washered wingnuts

Stack of plywood Plywood is an inexpensive way to board up your windows. Image Credit: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

A broken window requires boarding up to protect the structure's interior from wind, sun and water damage. Windows with wood frames can be boarded up by screwing the plywood boards into the wood in the window frame. Other methods are necessary for metal window frames. Vandalism or storms often cause window panes to break. Protect the interior of the building by boarding up the windows until the homeowner or insurance company can repair them.

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Window Clips

Step 1

Measure the metal window frame height and width with a tape measure. Stretch the tape measure to the outside edge of the metal frame.

Step 2

Subtract 1/4 inch from the height measurement and write it down. Take away 1/2 inch from the width measurement and jot it down as well.

Step 3

Cut the 3/4-inch plywood to the dimensions. Do this with a hand saw or use an electric saw if you must cover many windows. Another option is to ask the lumber yard to cut the wood for you.

Step 4

Slide the window clips onto the edges of the plywood with one clip on each opposite end. Four clips are adequate for most windows. If the window is large, set the clips approximately 3 feet apart.

Step 5

Tap on the clip end with a hammer if it doesn't slide onto the window easily. It may also be necessary to tap on the metal clip sides with the hammer if it doesn't fit snugly around the plywood.

Step 6

Twist the set screws with an appropriately sized Allen wrench until they extend 1/4 inch. Do this only on one side. On the opposite side, the set screws must be flush with the clips.

Step 7

Position the plywood onto the metal window frame. Do this so that the window clips attach to the metal frame.

Step 8

Tighten the window clips that are flush with the metal frame so the frame holds the boarding securely in place. Do this with an Allen wrench. Tighten the clips on the opposite side as well.

Polycarbonate Panels

Step 1

Measure the metal window frame height and length and add 8 inches to each measurement. This allows the panel to be added to the structure beyond the metal window frame.

Step 2

Put on protective work gloves and safety goggles.

Step 3

Cut the polycarbonate panels with a circular saw after marking the dimensions with a permanent marker. Another option is to have the home supply or hardware store cut the panels for you. The panels are stronger than glass, so they prevent projectile damage during a storm while allowing light into the building.

Step 4

Sand the edges of the polycarbonate panels since cutting them often leaves a rough edge. Do this with 120-grit sandpaper.

Step 5

Draw a dot on each corner of the panel that is 6 inches from the outer edge. Do this with the permanent marker. Make additional hole marks approximately 14 inches from the corner marks. The additional holes help to secure the panel over the window area.

Step 6

Drill holes through each mark with an electric drill and a 5/32 drill bit.

Step 7

Hold the polycarbonate panel against the metal window frame so it is centered over it. Insert the permanent marker through the holes to mark the exterior of the building.

Step 8

Remove the panel and drill holes in the structure at the marks with the drill bit.

Step 9

Slide the tapcons into the holes and then twist larger washers onto the tapcons.

Step 10

Position the polycarbonate panel on the tapcons and then use washered wingnuts to secure it.


If the windows is larger than 4 by 4 feet, it is necessary to use two sheets of plywood. The clips hold each plywood sheet securely in place.

Take down the boarding by releasing the set screws on the clips with the Allen wrench. Store the window clips in a safe location so that you can use them again if necessary.

Boarding up your windows and doors before damage results, such as in preparation for a hurricane, is a wise way to protect your home and belongings.

Read the directions on your window clips. Depending on the brand, they may require thinner or thicker pieces of plywood to work effectively.


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