April18 , 2024

    Why Hurricane-Resistant Windows Should Be a Priority

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    Hurricanes and severe storms can produce high-speed winds that damage buildings, cause roofs to collapse, and break windows. Because of this, building codes in hurricane-prone areas require all new construction to include hurricane-impact-tested and certified windows.

    Many homeowners dread boarding their windows or using shutters each hurricane season. However, installing hurricane-resistant windows can provide peace of mind during these events.

    Impact glass

    During hurricanes, debris propelled from a storm can shatter standard windows and leave your home vulnerable to the elements. But impact glass is designed and manufactured to withstand the force of flying debris, helping your property stay intact during a storm and potentially qualifying you for an insurance premium discount.

    Typically, this type of window uses a laminate interlayer between two pieces of glass to absorb impacts. It’s the same type of glass used on car windshields and is an excellent choice for high-velocity hurricane zones like Florida.

    If your area is prone to hurricanes, building codes in some areas require impact-resistant windows for new construction or for existing homes that are getting replacement windows. While impact windows increase your initial cost, they provide many benefits that help you avoid costly repairs or even the loss of your home or business. Other advantages of hurricane resistant windows include their ability to reduce noise and energy efficiency, making them an ideal addition to any home or business.

    Frames

    While debris propelled by the wind causes most home and building damage during hurricanes, the first breach of a structure’s envelope often happens when windows fail. This combines interior and exterior pressures, destroying roofs, walls and other structures.

    In addition to a thick layer of impact glass, hurricane-resistant windows are constructed with strong frames that resist warping or weakening over time. Frames can be made of aluminum or steel, vinyl or wood. The most durable frames have been tested and certified to withstand wind-borne debris and high-velocity hurricane zones, such as Florida’s Miami-Dade County Notice of Acceptance for Category 5 winds.

    While putting plywood over your windows may be an option, it is costly and inconvenient. It doesn’t offer the security, peace of mind and energy savings that impact-rated windows do. Purchasing hurricane windows is an investment that often pays for itself in reduced property insurance rates, higher resale value and a safer environment.

    Weather-resistant seals

    Unlike standard windows, which require much work to protect with boards or shutters, hurricane-proof windows are easy to install. They also increase a home’s resale value and qualify for insurance discounts.

    They protect against high winds and flying debris during hurricanes and reduce noise pollution, creating a more peaceful living environment. They also reduce the amount of UV rays that enter the home, which helps to keep furniture, carpeting, and other interior elements from fading and damage.

    When choosing hurricane-resistant windows, choosing a product with a Design Pressure (DP) rating of at least 15 is important. The higher the number, the more resistance they have against severe winds. A DP rating is determined by testing the window’s strength by throwing 9-pound 2-by-4s at different wind speeds. A DP rating of 15 is considered a strong enough rating for Florida, which means your windows will be protected even during a Category 5 storm.

    Energy efficiency

    The tempered glass used in hurricane windows isn’t the only component contributing to their high-performing nature. The plastic membrane that holds the glass in place, similar to the windshields in your car, is also a vital factor. This type of material is much more resistant to shattering than older single-pane windows, and it keeps the window glass from falling into your home when it breaks (unlike plywood boarding or shutters).

    The glass can be upgraded with various tints to reduce solar heat and glare. In addition, you can opt for low-emissivity coatings to increase energy efficiency year-round. Many hurricane-prone areas and coastal cities legally require homeowners to install impact windows. Whether upgrading your current home or building a new one, these windows are worth the investment to protect your property and family from dangerous debris during storms. They’ll also save you money on your energy bills. This is especially true when paired with insulation.