Taking the extra time to prepare for hurricanes is essential in limiting damage while maximizing protection for your home. Hurricane season in Florida typically begins in June and lasts throughout November. Here are five of the most effective ways to hurricane-proof your home's windows in the event of an upcoming storm.
These storms can cause significant damage, especially for residents living in coastal areas. However, hurricane-proofing your windows is an excellent step towards increasing your family's and your home's safety despite a hurricane's massive winds and rains.
Effective Hurricane Proofing Strategies for Your South FL Home
#1) Install Storm Shutters
Adding storm shutters is a great way to protect your home's interior from storm-related projectiles. They serve as a physical barrier that adds extra security to your windows. Storm shutters come in various styles, including panel and Bahama shutters, accordion-style protection, or rolling storm shutters.
Keep in mind that storm shutters have drawbacks, too. They need to be closed before a storm hits, meaning you'll have to be aware of your area's hurricane forecast to know when to close them. Finally, remember shutters usually use locking mechanisms when not in use, so if you can't find the key (or the lock doesn't work), you won't be able to use them.
#2) Install Hurricane Windows
Impact-resistant windows, also known as hurricane windows, are designed with a special laminate film placed between two layers of glass. This extra protection helps resist the force of a storm's wind and rain, so even if your window's glass does break, it won't shatter. You can read more about the benefits of hurricane windows here.
Impact windows have some drawbacks, too. They can be more expensive than other options and require professional installation.
#3) Use Plywood to Keep Windows Protected
If you don't have the money or desire to install impact windows, another way to protect your windows during a storm is by reinforcing them with plywood.
You'll need to purchase thick sheets and cut them in the exact shape and size of your window frames so you can securely fit them into place. Typically, it is a good idea to use options that are anywhere between 1/2 and 5/8 inches thick. You can use heavy-duty screws to attach plywood to your frames or use expansion bolts to attach to masonry walls.
While this approach may be the most cost-effective, you'll need to be available before the storm to install the boards quickly. Additionally, if you don't install them well, they may not hold up against the force of a hurricane's winds. One's chance of injury, especially when installing plywood on upper-story windows, is also higher than other options.
#4) Purchase High-Impact Glass Windows
Finally, if you want to protect your windows from debris but avoid investing in shutters and impact-resistant glass, consider installing polycarbonate panels over the window. These panels are made of a clear plastic material that is stronger than glass and allows light to enter.
Remember that polycarbonate panels aren't as strong as other options, such as shutters or impact-resistant windows, so they may not hold up against higher-category hurricanes and storms. Additionally, these panels need to be removed before the storm and reinstalled after it has passed.
Option #5: Use Clear Tapes or Films
If storm shutters, impact-resistant windows, or plywood aren't an option, you can also secure your windows with tape or film.
This method involves pre-taping the perimeter of your windows with special clear tapes designed to secure the glass in place, or you can apply a plastic film to the outside of the window frame.
While this won't provide as much protection as other options, it's still worth considering if time and money are an issue
Our Recommendation: Invest in Impact Windows for Long-Term Protection
We highly recommend investing in impact-rated windows if you're looking for hurricane protection that provides the best long-term protection. Impact windows are designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and flying debris while allowing natural light into your home. While they may cost more upfront than other options, they offer superior protection and can easily be installed by a professional.
Let's look at a few other reasons why impact windows are worth the investment:
1) Long-Lasting Operational Reliability
Not only are impact windows incredibly reliable no matter the weather conditions, but they're also easy to operate. In case of an emergency fire or any other unforeseen circumstance, you can count on your impact windows.
With impact glass, you won't have to worry about pieces breaking or the window not working – it'll last for many years. This contrasts traditional windows, which often break down soon after installation.
2) Healthier Home Environments
Not only are impact windows more affordable in the long run, but they also don't encourage condensation like other options. Excess moisture often results in mold growth, and we all know how dangerous that can be for our well-being.
Moreover, impact windows protect against condensation build-up, which is a leading cause of window degradation. In other words, by preventing condensation, impact windows will keep your home in better condition and last significantly longer.
You can relieve asthma sufferers in your household by reducing pollen, dust, and other irritants.
3) Stronger Home Security
In Florida, a burglary occurs every 5 seconds on average. The burglar usually enters the home through a window or door, which is why impact products are necessary to ensure your safety.
Impact windows and doors are much more difficult to break than traditional products. They're also fitted with stronger locking mechanisms that make them even more resistant to forced entry.
In addition, impact windows can't be removed from the outside, so even if a burglar does manage to break the glass, they won't be able to enter your home.
This is an important consideration for any Florida homeowner.
4) A Quieter Home Interior
Impact windows significantly reduce exterior noise and provide a more peaceful environment, whether you live in a high-traffic area or near an airport.
Impact windows create a barrier with thicker glass and a tighter seal that significantly reduces the amount of noise coming into your home.
You'll be able to enjoy peace and quiet in your own home, even if the outside world is anything but quiet.
5) Protection from Harmful UV Rays
UV rays not only cause damage to your skin but also to your home's interior.
Impact windows filter out harmful UV rays, protecting both you and your home. This can help to prevent fading of furniture, flooring, and other household items.
6) Lower Energy Costs
Not only do impact windows create a seal that makes it difficult for intruders to enter your home, but this sealing also helps with insulation. This means that your HVAC system will have to work less hard and, thus, result in lower utility bills.
In the summer, you'll be protected from the heat, and in the winter, you'll be protected from the cold. Either way, you'll save money on your energy bills.
7) Similar Temperatures Across Your Home
Ever notice how the temperature changes as you walk from one side of your home to another? This is especially common in properties with traditional windows. The rooms on the south and west sides of homes get hit with the hottest sun, so they often end up hotter than other rooms in the house.
Impact windows keep the entire residence at an even temperature, so you'll never have to worry about hot or cold spots again.
8) More Noticeable Savings From Your Investment
Impact windows make your home safer and more comfortable and increase its value. Because buyers are willing to pay more for a home with impact products installed, it's a wise investment to make if you're planning on selling your home in the future.
This means that you'll get a higher return on your investment when it comes time to sell.
Choose Alco Windows and Doors for High-Impact Glass Window Installation
Alco Windows and Doors is one of the top installers in South Florida, specializing in impact windows and door installations. They understand the importance of keeping your home well-prepared for hurricane season through the use of these state-of-the-art products and installation processes to hurricane-proof your windows.
By replacing your old windows and doors with hurricane-resistant impact products, you can enjoy all the benefits discussed above while knowing that your home is safe and secure against any storm. Read more about how to best protect your home for hurricane season with our free safety guide.
Contact Alco Windows and Doors for a no-cost consultation and learn more about the importance of using high-impact glass for hurricane-proofing windows!