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Impact Windows VS Hurricane Shutters

People clench their teeth during hurricane season. When approaching hurricanes hook north off the coast, you can breathe a much-deserved sigh of relief. But it only takes one landfall to make you rethink the need to reinforce and protect your home.

Suddenly, that old roof does not look so secure. Your windows could shatter with a twig — older windows break easily against the pressure of hurricane winds. Impact glass windows and hurricane shutters are the best solutions to protect both home and family, but which one is the best choice for your home?

Are Impact Glass Windows Right for You?

When a hurricane strikes, impact glass windows are a solid choice to protect your home. Like auto safety glass, impact resistant windows are made with laminated glass where two glass panels are bonded with an extra-strong interlayer.

Just like your car's windshield protects against stray broken glass from unexpected accidents on the road, the same protection extends to windows in Florida Homes; impact resistant glass windows can stand strong even against a severe storm or hurricane. Certain homes built after 2001 in Florida must have impact glass windows when constructed, and Miami-Dade County has the strictest requirements.

Keeping the exterior case of the home intact reduces the likelihood of losing the roof due to wind damage. It is possible (though much less likely) for impact glass to be shattered directly, but the glass will not create dangerous shards. The window frame will remain intact and prevent debris from entering. Steel or aluminum frames have the most strength against a hurricane but also are the most expensive kind of frame to have installed. Vinyl frames are cost-effective and offer good insulation.

What do you need to look for in impact glass windows?

The top two factors you should consider are performance and quality. Quality products will have no failure reports and undergo extensive testing. Specific to Florida, you should seek a manufacturer with NOAs or Notice of Acceptance by Miami-Dade County.

Go Green with Impact Glass Windows

Some windows are also DOE qualified in that they meet the energy efficient specifications put forth by the Department of Energy (as an ENERGY STAR product). They are tested and certified through the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), a third-party certification which assigns energy efficient measures to the whole window system, not just the glass.

ENERGY STAR impact glass windows have at least two glass panes with warm-edge spacers between the windowpanes. The windows also have Low-E coatings which help to keep the weather where it belongs, which means your power bill stays low. You can also find these coatings in other types of impact glass windows.

Are Hurricane Shutters Right for You?

Hurricane shutters perform a similar function to impact glass windows since they serve as a protective covering against storms and hurricanes. They cover glass windows to protect them from damage. Hurricane shutters are primarily made from steel or aluminum. Some homeowners only use hurricane shutters alone, and this is a workable solution if time or budget constraints do not allow for the installation of impact windows.

Preparing for the Storm with Hurricane Shutters

With hurricane shutters, you should think about how you prepare your home before severe weather. How long will it take you to prepare for a hurricane? Roll down shutters can negatively affect the aesthetics of your home, although they do allow you to push a button or crank them into place. However, some hurricane shutters require you to prepare well in advance of the storm. Although more affordable, the cost may come in the time spent installing them when a severe storm or hurricane does strike, and then uninstalling them after the threat is over.


How Do You Decide Between the Two?

Both impact glass windows and hurricane shutters offer protection against natural disasters. However, they do have distinct differences that may persuade you to choose one over the other. The biggest distinction is that impact windows provide year-round benefits — they deter burglars, reduce your energy bill, and make your home quieter. Hurricane shutters do not provide any of these benefits. Furthermore, while they are installed, hurricane shutters do not allow any natural light in and do not allow any form of egress in case of an emergency.

Impact glass windows are more costly than hurricane shutters. The investment in impact glass windows can end up paying for itself through damage prevention, plus they can earn potential discounts for homeowner's insurance and tax write-offs for ENERGY STAR. Products that meet Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ICC 500 standards will get the best discount. Be sure to check with your insurance agent for the most accurate savings potential. The return on investment for most hurricane shutters is 40%, while the ROI for impact windows ranges from 80% to 86%. Although impact glass windows can cost more initially, they pay much larger dividends down the road.

Keeping Your Family Safe

The most important thing is that your loved ones remain safe during hurricane season in Florida. That is why the team at AOA Construction will be more than happy to help you pick the perfect impact windows for your home and your budget.

Call (561) 914-4636 to schedule a free consultation.

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