HOUSTON -- If necessity is the mother of invention, consider the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Ike -- damage that couldn't have been prevented with all the plywood in the world -- but suppose for a moment there was an easier way to prepare for the storm.
What if a special fabric could hold up against the wind better than plywood? Lew Erhart says that’s exactly what a product he helped develop does. It’s called Astroflex.
“I've been through 35 storms myself behind this product,” said Erhart.
He stands behind his product in more ways than one.
“In a category five storm, it will stop an eight-foot two by four going at speeds of 150 miles per hour,” said Erhart.
When a storm's approaching you can deploy the entire system in about an hour. The hurricane fabric weighs about five ounces per square yard. Conversely, one piece of plywood weighs 60 pounds. With the turn of a few screws, one person can take care of one window in under five minutes, and when not deployed, you'd never know it had been there.
“There’s also the issue of storage,” said Erhart. “We give you small bags. You can hang it in your garage. You can put it in your crawl space or in your attic. It's out of your way.”
Until now, the product has been used primarily in Florida where homeowners get a break on their insurance for using it.
“A 2,500 square foot house would run about $2,000,” said Erhart, “which is about one half of what your deductible is.”
He says what it could potentially save is immeasurable, not if but when another storm hits.
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