Tue Oct 22 2019
If you live in South Florida or other hurricane-prone areas of the country, you will likely benefit from impact-resistant windows on your home.
In this guide, we’ll offer an overview of what impact-resistant windows are, how to determine whether you home needs them, how to determine whether your home already has them, and what to expect in terms of cost.
Impact-resistant windows (also sometimes called impact windows, hurricane windows, or laminated glass) are windows specifically designed to withstand the stresses of hurricanes, including high winds and projectiles moving at high speeds.
Structurally, impact-resistant windows are made of:
But not every double-paned window is considered impact resistant. In fact, to get the official “impact resistant” designation from American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), windows must pass a series of rigorous tests.
Impact resistance testing involves:
Assuming a window passes these tests, it’s certified as impact resistant. But how do you know if your house needs these specialty windows? The biggest factor is where you live.
While anyone worried about storm damage can install impact-resistant windows, people in Florida’s most hurricane-prone regions can benefit most.
Each region of the state of Florida has a designated hurricane-evacuation code, identified by a letter of the alphabet. Those in zones closer to the start of the alphabet (A, B, C) are most vulnerable to hurricane damage, including storm surges, high winds, and loose debris. These are also the people who benefit most from impact-resistant windows.
(Not sure which zone you’re in? Enter your address here to check.)
Impact-resistant windows protect those in the path of a hurricane in three important ways:
That last form of protection is actually the most important one. Structure collapse from changed air pressure is much more devastating and expensive than damage caused by water getting onto your stuff.
Not a homeowner in Florida’s top hurricane-evacuation zones? You may still benefit from impact-resistant windows if you’re looking for a way to protect your home from UV damage (hurricane windows also block most UV rays) or to dampen sound (impact windows are great at reducing sound).
If you do need impact-resistant windows, you’ll probably have to have a hurricane protection company install them for you.
If you’re not sure whether the windows in your home are impact resistant, a visual inspection should give you the information you need. Follow these steps:
So if you don’t have impact-resistant hurricane windows and you likely need them based on your hurricane evacuation zone, what should you do? Read on to understand the cost of installing impact-resistant windows, plus a few alternatives for those on a tight budget.
Impact-resistant windows cost more than standard windows. But they can also protect you from serious damage and may qualify you for lower homeowners insurance premiums (ask your insurance company for details).
While impact-resistant windows with hurricane shutters are the gold standard for homes in South Florida and other areas affected by hurricanes, they are not the only way to mitigate your risk of hurricane damage. Here’s a look at how impact-resistant windows and some alternatives stack up.
|Damage prevention solution||Cost||Professional installation required?||Homeowners insurance premium reduction available?|
|Impact-resistant windows||$40 – $55 / square foot||Yes||Yes|
|Hurricane shutters||$10 – $50 / square foot||No||No|
|Hurricane-resistant film||$25 / square foot||No||No|
|Plywood||$5 – $6 / square foot||No||No|
If a hurricane is on the way and you don’t have time to install impact-resistant windows, it’s better to do something (e.g., cover your windows with plywood) than nothing. But for superior long-term protection, impact-resistant windows can’t be beat.
In new construction, opting for impact-resistant windows will only raise the cost of the home by a few thousand dollars. It’s possible that you’d recover this savings within a few years of reduced homeowners insurance premiums.
For existing homes, the potential to recover your investment via smaller insurance premiums is also significant.
In other words, a small investment today can save you money over and over in the years to come.
![windows-6](/images/windows-6.jpg?width=300&name=windows-6.jpg =300x)Hurricanes are one of the most destructive forces of nature. If you live in South Florida or another hurricane-prone area, you’ll want to do more than verify that you’ve got impact-resistant windows. Other ways to protect your home from a hurricane include these:
Still not sure whether you have or need impact-resistant windows? Get in touch with us, and we’ll help you figure it out.
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