Consider impact-resistant windows for hurricane season

Written by Martin Bomba of Window World TX
Updated June 1, 2015
Hurricane impact resistant window
Impact-resistant windows are important if you live in an area that experiences hurricanes. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Marc W. of Pompeo Beach, Florida)

As hurricane season approaches, it may be time to consider impact-resistant windows.

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As hurricane season approaches, homeowners in the areas most likely to be hit by hurricanes and tropical storms turn their minds towards disaster preparedness. Although no method can completely protect against hurricane damage, you can take many steps to minimize the risk to your home, including one of the most vulnerable points: Your windows. 

How can I hurricane-proof my home?

More and more homeowners in coastal regions are looking towards impact-resistant windows when the storms start coming around. These high-performance impact windows are built with one goal in mind: to protect your home during the most severe weather conditions, such as hurricanes and tropical storms.

Such hurricane window protection in your home eliminates the need to constantly create holes in your window frames by boarding your windows with plywood. It also gets rid of the hassle of having to put up and take down storm panels. The question is, how do these windows work and how well do they work when storm conditions start getting serious?

How hurricane impact windows work

High-performance impact-resistant windows are built very differently when compared to normal windows. They consist of several layers of glass and/or plexiglass or other synthetic materials that make shattering or penetration through them extremely difficult. These layers are sealed together with a security-rated PVB interlayer that will hold the window together should the glass be broken.

When storm winds become extremely strong, it’s this special construction that will protect the windows on your house from flying, high velocity debris. This engineering is not only useful when protecting the house from storms, but it also prevents intruders from easily shattering glass to gain access to your home.

Superior strength through vigorous testing

Building codes in coastal areas are becoming more strict and demanding in terms of materials and product performance. That is why hurricane impact-resistant windows constantly undergo rigorous weather stress and safety standard tests.

In testing, the windows are hit with a large missile (a nine-pound wood 2x4) calibrated to travel at 50 feet per second upon release. After passing this test, they are then subjected to a variety of other stress-related surface changes that may occur due to high heat and humidity. 

Safety and efficiency

Homeowners can expect several other benefits when installing high-performance impact windows in their homes — in addition to hurricane window protection. One perk is the energy efficiency that is added to your home. The superior seal and strength of hurricane impact windows helps to save more on your monthly heating and cooling costs.

The synthetic layer that seals the window together also acts as a UV ray filter, blocking up to 99 percent of the rays. During the summer, the windows filter out the sun’s long wave radiation, blocking and reducing the heat gained from the sunlight. In the winter, the glass allows warm solar rays into the home, while insulating and keeping the warmth generated from your heating unit inside.

Another added benefit is that hurricane windows absorb sound instead of transmitting it. If you’ve ever been woken up early on a weekend by someone in the neighborhood doing yard work, this is a feature you can definitely appreciate.

Hurricane season can bring about dangerous and unpredictable weather in a short amount of time. Taking measures to stormproof your home can save you thousands of dollars in home repair costs and could save you from a potential disaster. When the storms start rolling in, it is nice to have peace of mind and know you and your home are hurricane ready.

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About this Experts Contributor: Martin Bomba is the owner of Window World TX, providing windows in San Antonio, Texas. Since 1947, Window World has specialized in vinyl and replacement window installation, window removal, siding, gutters and more. You can learn more about this contributor at their company website and by following them on Twitter and Google+.

As of June 1, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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