A Complete Guide to Retrofit Windows for South Florida Homeowners

Hurricanes and other severe weather in South Florida can cause serious damage to homes, so it's essential to take steps to protect them. One way to do this is by retrofitting your windows.

This guide will help you do just that.





window types south florida home

1. What Is Retrofitting?

Retrofitting a window is different from a traditional replacement or selecting a new construction window. When replacing a window, the product must be installed to the original framing of the structure.

Nails or screws are used to attach the new window, flashing is added, and new siding, stucco, or exterior materials are framed over the newly installed window.

Choosing a traditional window replacement route usually happens for two reasons:

  • There is an existing leak or product defect with the current window.
  • You want to change the size of the window opening.

Choosing to replace windows is both labor-intensive and more expensive.

Retrofitting a window is an entirely different process.

First, the installation process allows the homeowner to leave the original window frame in place. Then, the new product is installed and sealed against the existing window frame.

As an example, say you have an old frosted window you want to be replaced with a stronger, modern design. The frame is solid, so choosing a retrofit option allows for new product installation with minimal demolition work to the opening.


Why Retrofit Windows?

Choosing retrofit windows is less labor-intensive, leading to reduced installation costs. In short, a retrofit approach could save you money!

Additionally, older windows are one of the weakest points when safeguarding a home from severe weather. They can easily be damaged by wind, rain, and flying debris. Choosing retrofit windows can help to prevent this damage and keep your home safe.


How to Retrofit Windows

There are many different ways to "retrofit" your windows, so you'll need to choose the best method for your home. Here are some of the most common methods:

  • Install hurricane shutters: This is the most common way to retrofit windows and is best for homes that are in a high-risk area for hurricanes. Hurricane shutters can protect your windows from wind, rain, and flying debris.
  • Replace the glass: If you live in an area that experiences severe weather but isn't in a high-risk area for hurricanes, you can replace your windows with shatterproof glass or hurricane film. This will make them stronger and more resistant to damage.
  • Add braces or straps: Another way to retrofit windows is to add braces or straps to the frame. This will help keep the window in place if it is damaged by wind or rain.


Which Method Is Best for Me?

The best way to retrofit your windows will depend on your home and the type of weather it experiences. You can consult a professional to help you choose the best method for your home.

Alco Windows and Doors recommends replacing your current window or door glass with impact-resistant options, called "hurricane glass."

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window blueprints

What Is Impact-Resistant Glass?

Impact glass is a product specifically designed to withstand severe weather conditions. You'll find this glass in doors, windows, and garage doors for residential and commercial properties.

Impact glass bonds two layers of tempered glass panes to form a shatter-proof chemical interlayer. This combination offers your home the ultimate protection against storms, flying debris, and even home invasions.

Impact products undergo multiple stress tests to simulate impact from a person, wind, hail, or high-velocity object. The windows must function, close, and seal appropriately after being struck to pass these tests. 

Impact-resistant glass is typically combined with heavy-duty vinyl or aluminum frames and treated in a special silicone glazing process to keep it from breaking away from its frame. These options increase the window’s durability by preventing cracking, warping, and fading.

Impact glass is an excellent option for retrofit windows because it's solid and durable.


How Much Do Impact Window & Door Retrofits Cost?

The cost of retrofitting windows will vary depending on the size and type of window, the installer's labor costs, and the specific materials and products used. The National Association of Realtors estimates you’ll pay $3-5,000 per opening in your home! To illustrate, a home replacing ten windows will pay between $30-50,000 dollars!

If you think that’s expensive, this is about this fact: you could be paying extra for your current windows and doors without even knowing it! 

Your traditional windows could be costing you BIG money on heating and cooling bills due to their poor insulation properties. That’s an expense literally flying out of your windows!

You could see a 30-40% annual reduction in your energy bills by upgrading to impact windows and doors. That money saved could go right into financing the cost of more attractive, durable, and functional replacements. 

To summarize, retrofitting your windows and doors with impact glass is a considerable expense, but making this investment will save you money and improve your home in the long run.

Let's also remember the genuine threat of severe weather for Florida residents.


Hurricane History in Florida

Florida is the state that suffers from the most hurricanes in the United States. Some of the most notable storms in recent Florida history include Hurricane Andrew (1992) and Hurricane Irma (2017).

These storms caused billions of dollars in damage and left many homeowners without power or running water for days or even weeks. Other famous hurricanes include Hurricane King (1950) and Hurricane Donna (1960).

That's why it's so important for Florida homeowners to take steps to protect their homes from hurricanes. During all of the storms named above, one of the most common types of damage was broken windows.

Homeowners who had retrofit windows installed were much more likely to avoid this type of damage. During hurricanes, power outages, floods, and wind damage are common issues.

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2. Ten Benefits of Retrofit Windows

Are you wondering if it's worthwhile to retrofit your windows? Here are ten benefits of retrofit windows in Florida that may help you make your decision:


Benefit #1: Increase Your Home's Outer Protection

Tropical cyclones have caused the most damage of any weather event since 1980, having inflicted $945.9 billion in damage with an average cost of nearly $21.5 billion per occurrence.

In a report by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development called Assessment of damage to Single-Family Homes Caused by Hurricanes, some details were shocking.

It warned that wind entering through broken windows could produce high internal pressures. This causes aerodynamic drag and suction pressures with an 'explosive outcome.'

On page 63 of the report, the study's authors explained that windows and door failures were often the first step in a rapid chain of events that led to severe damage to homes.

According to the report, retrofit windows or hurricane shutters may have 'dramatically reduced' the levels of damage.


Benefit #2: Be Kinder To The Planet and Save Money

Retrofit windows can help improve your home's energy efficiency by blocking out cold air in the winter and hot air in the summer. Florida homeowners are looking for ways to be kinder to the planet, and installing retrofit windows is one way to do that.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, retrofit windows can also help you save money on your energy bills. According to energysavings.com, storm windows can save you 10%–30% on heating and cooling costs.


Benefit #3: Make Cleaning and Maintenance a Breeze

Impact glass is designed to be easy to clean and maintain. Additionally, modern storm windows have a vinyl or aluminum frame that won't chip, crack, warp, or rot. You won't have to worry about repainting or refinishing your retrofit windows.


Benefit #4: Improve Your Home's Appearance

You can find retrofit windows that match the style of your home perfectly. Whether you have a traditional home or a contemporary one, there are windows to suit your needs.

There are also many different colors available for retrofit windows. You can choose from neutral-colored frames like white and tan or go for something bolder like red.


Benefit #5: Boost Your Home's Value

Retrofit windows and window renovation, in general, can increase the value of your home. Protecting your home has many benefits. You will enjoy your home for many years to come, but you'll also be able to increase its value.

According to Isoldmyhouse.com, window renovation can increase the value of your home by $8,500.

Installing impact windows can also lower your insurance premiums. Have you seen the rising costs of home insurance in Florida lately? One company is seeking approval for a 195% rate increase this year alone!

Premiums have been on the rise for years, and they’re only going to continue to go up as insurers account for the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters.

But there is good news: You can protect your home from severe storms AND get a discount on your homeowners' insurance by installing impact windows and doors!


Benefit #6: Invest in Product Longevity

Impact retrofits are durable and long-lasting. Retrofit windows last for many years. You can expect them to last for at least 20 years, if not longer.

You could also make them even longer lasting by installing shutters or awnings. These will help protect your new windows from the elements and extend their lifespan.


Benefit #7: Retrofits are Cheap Compared to Replacing Damaged Windows

Compared to the cost of replacing windows that a storm has damaged, retrofit windows are a wise investment.

If you've ever had to replace a window after a storm, you know how expensive it can be. Retrofit windows can save you money in the long run by protecting your windows from wind-blown debris caused by strong winds.

Furthermore, when a storm breaches windows, the interior of the home and roof are also damaged. This can be very costly to repair. Retrofit windows will protect your entire home from the storm and save you money. 

Once the 'building envelope' is breached, it's easier for water and wind to enter the home. Pressure changes due to the storm can cause objects and people inside the building to be destroyed or injured.


Benefit #8: Decrease Burglary Risks

Retrofit windows can increase security and reduce burglary attempts.

Burglars are less likely to attempt to break into a home that has retrofit windows. This is because retrofit windows are designed to withstand impact and be challenging to break.

Installing retrofit windows is a great way to increase the security of your home and deter burglars.


Benefit #9: Reduce Exterior Noises

It delights some of our customers to find that retrofit windows also reduce exterior noise.

This is especially beneficial for those who live on a busy street or near an airport. The added layer of protection that retrofit windows provide helps to reduce the amount of noise that can be heard inside your home.


Benefit #10: Save BIG Money on Utility Bills

Retrofit windows can help you save money on your utility bills.

This is because retrofit windows are more energy-efficient than traditional windows. They are designed to trap heat better during the winter and cool air during the summer.

Switching to impact window and door retrofits may save you 30-40% on your energy bills annually. That money might be used to pay for other attractive, long-lasting, and efficient replacements.

As you can see, there are many great benefits to installing retrofit windows in your home. Not only will they protect your home from the damaging effects of storms, but they will also save you money on your utility bills and increase the value of your home. If you're considering making a home improvement investment, consider retrofitting your windows!

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woman looking out window at incoming storm Miami

3. When Should You Retrofit Your Windows?

The best time to retrofit your windows is before hurricane season. Hurricane season in Florida runs from June through November.

If you retrofit your windows before the start of hurricane season, you'll have peace of mind knowing that your home is well-protected against severe weather.

The worst time to retrofit your windows is during or after a hurricane. If you wait until a storm is approaching, you won't have time to install the windows correctly, and they may not be as effective.

Right before and right after hurricanes hit, we become inundated with calls. These calls come from people who are worried or devastated. Plan carefully now to avoid being one of them later.

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Men installing apartment window

4. How to Choose a Quality Retrofit Windows Installer

When installing retrofit windows, it's essential to choose a reputable and experienced installer with a track record of offering impact glass!

Not all window installers are created equal. Make sure you choose an installer who is licensed and insured and has a good reputation.

Ask around for referrals and read online reviews before making your decision. You want to be sure you're hiring a company you can trust to do a good job.

If you're looking for a quality retrofit windows installer, look no further than Alco Windows & Doors. We have over 20 years of experience installing retrofit windows and doors, and we are licensed and insured. We proudly serve homeowners in the South Florida area, and we are known for our quality workmanship and customer service.

In addition to window retrofits, we offer the following services:


1) Impact Windows Installation

Impact windows are essential in most parts of Florida, and we're proud to supply some of the best in the area.

Our complete line of goods both meets and exceeds HVHZ standards.

If you live in Miami-Dade or Broward counties and put impact products on your property, they must comply with HVHZ regulations. That's why it's critical to choose a competent contractor like us.


2) Impact Doors Installation

Impact doors can be as important as impact windows because they provide an extra layer of protection against hurricanes. The phrase 'building envelope' is used a lot in the hurricane protection industry.

Your home's building envelope protects it from the outside elements, including wind, rain, and debris. Impact windows insulate your home from wind and flying debris. Impact doors protect your home in much the same way.

Without them, you could end up with a damaged home.


3) Custom Windows & Doors Orders

Not sure if we can create exactly what you need? You might be surprised.

Every home is a little different, and that's why we offer custom windows and doors.

If you have a unique window or door requirement, we can create a custom solution. We've been in the business for over 30 years and have seen it all. We can create a custom window or door to fit it no matter your need.


4) Impact Garage Doors Installation

An impact garage door is a great way to protect your home from hurricanes.

If you have a garage, chances are it's where you store your car. But it's also where you keep other valuables like tools, lawn equipment, and more.

During a hurricane, your garage door is vulnerable to wind and flying debris. An impact garage door can withstand the force of a severe storm.

Imagine your garage door breaks in the event of a hurricane. All of the items stored in your garage would be exposed to the elements and could become debris which was then blown into your home or other homes.

A garage door is one of the most crucial hurricane protection products you can buy for your home.


More About Our Sales & Service

These products come with our regionally-renowned sales and service to ensure everything runs smoothly and you join our long list of happy customers.

We also directly employ our experienced installation crew. Our team is educated and supervised by in-house managers. We strive for excellence and earn it every time we finish an installation with high-quality workmanship that meets or exceeds our standards.

We also carry full General Liability and Worker Compensation Insurance.


Our Installation Care

Our team takes special precautions to ensure your home's safety and cleanliness. 

We take the following precautions:

  • We wear floor savers over our shoes to protect the flooring from dust or debris.
  • Our team covers the floor and work furniture with protective coverings to avoid harm and dust accumulation.
  • We use vacuums to gather dust throughout any drilling or demolition processes and while working.
  • We set up protective barriers to keep non-renovation spaces from coming into contact with the elements.
  • Once a project is completed, we thoroughly clean all work areas.

Your home is a sanctuary. We want to protect it from a hurricane's dangers and remain clean and safe during installation.

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Couple looking at impact window financing

5. Applying For Finance

If you're concerned about the costs or on a tight budget, you may be pleased to know that we offer finance options.


Understanding the pros and cons of using these financing options is essential in determining which organization is the best choice for helping you purchase impact windows and doors. We put together a finance options guide that includes options from:

  • Momnt
  • Sunlight Financial
  • Aqua Finance
  • Ygrene
  • ...and more!

Investing in impact windows and doors may also qualify your home or business for energy tax credits. For example, you can claim at least 10% of the cost of using qualified energy efficiency improvements for your home in Florida.

Over time, this can save you a significant amount of money by purchasing impact windows and doors for your home.

We know that your safety is priceless. We also realize that everyone has a different income and different financial priorities. We're here to help you make your home upgrade dreams a reality!

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South Florida Homeowners Choose Alco Windows and Doors 

Alco Windows & Doors is a top-rated impact-resistant product vendor in Miami-Dade and Broward County, FL.

Since our beginnings in 2017, we’ve committed ourselves to make South Florida communities stronger. Our friends and neighbors deserve a better path to protecting homes and families. We stay laser-focused on two goals: superior product quality and outstanding customer service. 

We believe our communities can be safer and stronger when people confidently understand how best to protect their homes, families, and livelihoods.

Proper guidance and stellar service lead to a safer, more beautiful property. We provide the support you need to experience those same outcomes. Any other experience by our customers would be contrary to our mission.

As we continue to grow and evolve to serve the needs of our community, we keep our vision for stronger communities and confident property owners at the forefront.

If you're a South Florida homeowner, we encourage you to retrofit your windows before hurricane season. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

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