How Much Does It Cost to Board up a Window With Plywood?

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated January 11, 2022
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Highlights

  • It costs an average of $250 to board up a window with plywood

  • You may pay as little as $50 or as much as $500 for a larger job

  • Temporarily boarding up your house for a hurricane costs on the low end

  • Permanently boarding up a house to prevent entry is more expensive

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When boarding windows with plywood, you can expect to pay $400 per window on the high end. On the low end, you’ll pay $100 per window, with an average of $250

Whether you're trying to prevent intruders to an abandoned house or are preparing for a dangerous tropical storm, boarding up your windows with plywood is a good way to protect your home.

National Average Cost$250
Average Range$100 – $400
Minimum Cost$50
Maximum Cost$500

How Much Does It Cost to Board up a Window per Square Foot?

It costs about $1 to $3 per square foot for plywood to board up a window, although typically, you will need to buy plywood in a pre-cut sheet for your window, so the square footage may not actually matter. 

For example, you may pay $65 for a plywood sheet that measures 4-by-8 feet even though your window is only 2-by-3 feet. You may be able to cut the panel in half and use it for two windows if it is large enough.

Boarding up a Window With Plywood Cost Breakdown

A man boarding up a window with plywood
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All of the costs to board up a window with plywood breaks down into two simple categories: materials and labor.

Materials

The cost for materials will be about $50 to $100 for the plywood sheet to cover the window. OSB board costs $32 to $77 per 4-by-8-foot sheet. You can get less expensive plywood, but if you are boarding up a window to protect your home, you want thick, high-quality plywood that is at least 5/8-inch to 3/4-inch thick. As a result, you should expect to pay on the higher end for plywood that will meet your needs.

You may also pay a few dollars more for items like a hammer, nails, fasteners, and such if you don't already have these supplies. Some people also install window film for hurricane protection, but they don’t offer as much protection as plywood.

Labor

If you don't want to do the job yourself, you can hire a handyperson to do it for you for about $50 to $100 per hour. How much you actually end up paying for labor depends on whether you just want a window boarded up quickly to protect from storm damage, or if this is a more permanent installation that will require more work.

If it's the former, you may pay only about $50 for each window, since all they'll be doing is installing the plywood over the window. If it's the latter, you may pay $250 or more. That's because the handyperson will have to do additional things like install insulation, a vapor barrier, mudding, drywall, and even painting it over.

Cost to Board up a Window With Plywood Yourself

You may spend as little as $50 per window if you do this job yourself, assuming you have additional supplies on hand needed to do the job. If not, you may pay up to $100 for each window.

Cost to Install It Yourself vs. Hiring a Contractor 

For a simple board-up job, you'd likely pay about $50 per window compared to $100 to $150 to have a handyperson do it. For a more complex board-up job, you'd likely spend about $150 on materials versus $250 to $300 to have a handyperson do the work.

However, keep in mind that a handyperson has the experience to do the job right and can make some other recommendations to ensure the window is secure. Contact a handyperson in your area for a quote before you make your decision.

6 steps on how to install plywood over a window, including using a power drill

Boarding up a Window With Plywood Questions and Answers

When should you board up windows?

You should board up windows when you need to protect your home either from intruders or from a strong tropical storm. In the former case, this is more of a permanent solution, versus a temporary installation in the latter case.

What type of plywood is used for hurricane protection?

Use plywood that is 5/8-inch or 3/4-inch thick to protect your home from a hurricane. If the plywood is thinner than that, it may not protect your home from flying debris.

What category of hurricane should you board up windows?

With sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour, even Category 1 hurricanes can send projectiles flying at a damaging speed, so you should start boarding up once a storm strengthens into a hurricane.

How else can I protect my home from hurricanes?

You can act proactively to protect your home, such as by installing impact-resistant windows for hurricane season. You could also install storm windows.

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