Hurricane-resistant windows are a must in Florida and other coastal areas. They protect homes from structural damage by changing air pressure that would otherwise cause walls and roofs to collapse.
Impact-resistant windows are designed to offer superior protection compared to regular glass. Unlike traditional glass, they comprise two sheets of tempered glass that encase a plastic inner layer, effectively preventing them from shattering into sharp shards upon impact. When debris hits, the glass will crack in a spiderweb pattern instead of breaking to pieces.
Unlike regular windows that break into large, dangerous shards of glass during a storm, hurricane resistant windows remain intact. They are constructed with two panes of heat-treated glass and a plastic membrane that holds them together, similar to the laminated safety glass used in automobile windshields. It helps to keep debris from penetrating a home and building interiors, causing severe damage.
The windows’ heavy-duty frame construction adds to their strength, as well. These frames can be crafted from aluminum, vinyl, wood, or fiberglass. Each material has qualities, appearance, benefits, maintenance level, and cost.
While they increase a new home’s construction costs, hurricane-resistant windows may help save money over time through reduced homeowners insurance premiums. Similarly, renovating existing structures can benefit from these windows as they can be retrofitted to most buildings. They’re not the only option; shutters are another effective and cost-efficient way to protect a building.
Hurricane-resistant windows are designed to help your home withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour (Category 5). While they add to the overall construction cost, they can also reduce homeowners insurance rates and provide other forms of protection.
For example, they prevent structural damage to your home from changing air pressure that can occur when a window is broken. They also keep shattered glass from flying through the air, causing additional property damage or injury.
The frames of hurricane-resistant windows are available in aluminum, vinyl, or wood. Aluminum is the strongest and offers longevity. Look for aluminum-framed windows that are anodized and backed by a premium warranty.
When you’re in the market to upgrade your home windows, it’s natural to consider the protection features of hurricane-resistant windows. Also known as impact windows, they offer notable safety and security benefits for your home, improved insulation, and decreased energy costs.
During severe storms and hurricanes, unprotected homes are susceptible to high winds and flying debris that causes damage to interiors and puts occupants at risk of injury or death. In comparison, a home with impact windows is safer because they resist shattering glass shards and are much less likely to compromise or damage the frame.
The tempered, laminated glass of impact windows is held together by a Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) layer and breaks in a spiderweb pattern instead of dangerous shards during a strong windstorm. The interlayer also blocks the sun’s rays and helps protect furniture, window coverings, and artwork from harmful UV radiation. This type of glass is incredibly safe and offers peace of mind to homeowners in Florida’s hurricane-prone region.
Aside from protecting your home from flying debris, hurricane windows provide a high level of energy efficiency. Their multi-layer tempered glass is held together with a polymer chemical that prevents excessive shattering when hit by objects like 2x4s or projectiles from nearby storms. The shattered glass breaks in a spiderweb pattern rather than large sharp shards.
This tempered glass also helps to insulate your home, keeping cool air inside during the summer and warm air out during the winter. These energy savings can significantly reduce your heating and cooling costs over time.
If you aren’t sure whether your home already has impact windows, check the deed to see if the house was built before 2001. You can also look at the corners of your windows and find a sticker that indicates the impact rating. Alternatively, you can ask the experts about getting a mixture of impact-resistant and energy-efficient windows on your next home improvement project.