Impact Resistant Windows vs. Hurricane Shutters: Which Is Better?
Choosing between impact resistant windows or hurricane shutters is vital for protecting your home from high winds. Hurricanes, typhoons and bomb cyclones in coastal areas, and tornados and derechos in the Midwest all afflict heavy destructive forces against your windows. Indeed, hurricane shutters will protect your home from more than just hurricanes. Here are the pros and cons of impact windows compared to hurricane shutters.
What are impact resistant windows?
Impact resistant windows are designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes or tornadoes with sustained winds exceeding 158 mph. These products are designed with two shatter-resistant panels sandwiched over a flexible layer of polyvinyl butyral, ethylene-vinyl acetate or resin within a reinforced frame held together even when broken.
How strong are hurricane impact windows? To qualify as impact resistant, windows must pass the American Society for Testing and Materials ‘s rigorous testing. These products must retain structural integrity in winds up to 200 mph and survive impacts from large and small missiles. Broken windows increase the chances your roof will be ripped off, even if it’s among the best types of roofs for hurricanes.
Pros and cons of impact windows
Consider the pros and cons of impact windows before deciding on a hurricane-resistant window brand.
- Provides high-quality protection. High impact windows protect against negative and positive storm pressures that blow off roofs. It also guards against water, wind and debris entering your home during a storm.
- Lets in light, but protects against UV damage. These windows don’t block your view and plunge you into darkness during a storm. They do block out ultraviolet rays that can damage and fade furnishings.
- Reduces outside noise. These windows block more than weather, projectiles and UV rays. It also reduces external noise by 70%.
- Increase energy efficiency. Thick window panes and reinforced frames reduce heat exchange and drafts, keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
- Prevent theft. If hurricanes can’t shatter these windows, burglars won’t have much of a fighting chance, either. Also, nothing shows thieves you’re not home more than tightly shut hurricane shutters.
- Save on insurance. Because it provides better weather and crime protection, your insurance premiums will fall.
- Visually pleasing. Hurricane shutters are ugly, no matter what style you choose. Impact windows come in a wide variety of architectural styles to fit your home.
- Add value to your home. All the advantages of impact windows add value to your home, increasing the property’s worth.
- Higher cost. This is one of the biggest cons of impact window costs. Quality impact windows can be twice as expensive.
- Installation complications. The purchase price is just the beginning. The windows’ weight requires sturdier house framing, which will cost you more money.
- Expensive to repair and replace. Impact resistant windows can crack or break, and replacements are not cheap.
What are hurricane shutters?
Hurricane shutters are securely-installed coverings to shield windows against wind and windborne debris.It’s a superior alternative to boarding up with plywood, which can be scarce in an emergency and damage your home during installation. This material not only looks more attractive than plywood boards, but are also less likely to tear off in a storm.
You have choices when selecting hurricane shutters. The simplest kind are storm panels bolted to window frames. While you get advanced warning of a hurricane or typhoon, you often have several minutes to prepare for a tornado or derecho. Roll-down and accordion shutters are permanently installed to slide into place when needed. Some offer automatic options. Colonial shutters look like regular shutters, but provide greater protection. Bahama louvered shutters offer shade when not in use, but can be locked down tight.
While some hurricane shutters are made of wood, translucent polycarbonate is an effective modern option. Fiberglass, steel and aluminum provide strong and affordable protection.
Pros and cons of hurricane shutters
Deciding between impact resistant windows or hurricane shutters often comes down to cost. We cover that below, along with hurricane shutters’ other pros and cons.
- More affordable. Some styles of hurricane shutters are more affordable than others, but all are less expensive than impact windows.
- Comes in various sizes and styles. You can find custom hurricane shutters to fit nearly any window.
- Low maintenance. Most shutters will last for years. You need to clean and lubricate the tracks, but otherwise these shutters require little maintenance.
- Save on insurance. Many insurance companies offer premium discounts if you install window protection.
- Increase property value. A home with built-in protection from high wind events is worth more.
- No noise cancellation. You will still hear sirens, traffic, neighbors and other noise in your area.
- Reduces outside visibility. Most hurricane shutters block out light. While polycarbonate panels are translucent, expect poor visibility.
- Do not provide protection against pressure changes. Pressure differences in a tornado or hurricane are responsible for as much damage as wind alone. Hurricane shutters provide no protection from this phenomenon.
- Bulky and unattractive. Hurricane shutters generally don’t add to your home’s curb appeal.
Are high impact windows required in Florida?
Local ordinances about impact resistant windows and hurricane shutters vary. Protecting your windows with either option is often required if living within one mile of the coast where wind speeds can top 110 mph. Few cities and towns have building codes designed for tornado protection, but that could change.
Though you may not be required to put up hurricane shutters or buy impact windows where you live, it’s still a wise investment. Preventing damage is almost always cheaper than repairs.
Do I need hurricane shutters if I have impact windows?
It may not always be necessary, but some people opt to have both. Impact resistant windows can break and replacements can be expensive. Regular windows protected by hurricane shutters still shatter due to pressure differences. Hurricane shutters can’t prevent that. Installing impact windows to withstand pressure and protecting them with hurricane shutters provides benefits on two fronts.
Protect your Florida home with hurricane impact windows & shutters
Hurricane shutters and impact windows cost a significant amount of money. Home Run Financing can help you pay for storm windows and doors to protect your home from a hurricane. If you don’t have ready cash, look into property assessed clean energy financing in Florida. PACE financing works allows you to borrow against your home equity for important improvements like hurricane protection. Home Run Financing can help you determine how to use home equity to finance impact windows and hurricane shutters.
Hurricane and tornado seasons may be months off, but wind damage can happen at any time. Preparation matters. Get the money you need by applying now. Home Run Financing is happy to answer your questions and invites you to contact us.