Best Hurricane Windows Guide: Top Florida Impact Window Options

Key Takeaways

  • Florida's top manufacturers offer a range of impact windows, each with unique features to consider.

  • Impact windows are specifically designed to withstand extreme weather, providing both safety and peace of mind.

  • Understanding the ratings, such as PSF (Pounds per Square Foot), is crucial when selecting hurricane impact windows.

  • Choosing the right impact windows involves balancing budget with quality and ensuring they match your home's aesthetic.

Reviewing Florida's Premier Impact Window Manufacturers

Florida is home to some of the best impact window manufacturers in the business. Let's take a look at a few that stand out for their quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction.

1. PGT: Innovating for Safety and Style

PGT Custom Windows & Doors is a leader in the industry, known for its high-strength windows that don't skimp on style. Their WinGuard® line, for example, is designed to withstand Category 5 hurricane conditions while offering a range of aesthetic options to suit any home. PGT's commitment to innovation means they're constantly improving their products to keep your home safe and looking great.

2. CGI: The Fusion of Strength and Sophistication

CGI Windows & Doors combines robust construction with refined designs. Their impact windows are constructed with heavy-duty aluminum frames and laminated glass to stand up to the harshest weather. But what sets CGI apart is their attention to detail. Their windows don't just protect; they elevate the look of your home with a touch of sophistication.

3. ECO: Energy Efficiency Meets Elegance

ECO Windows & Doors Systems is another brand that's making waves with its energy-efficient impact windows. These windows not only guard against storms but also help maintain a comfortable temperature in your home, reducing the need for heating and cooling. ECO doesn't compromise on style, either; their sleek designs are as elegant as they are practical.

4. ESW: Modern Protection with Traditional Appeal

ES Windows & Doors offers a combination of modern engineering and traditional design. If you're looking for windows that blend seamlessly with the architectural style of your home, ESW has options that offer both top-tier protection and timeless beauty. Their impact windows are proof that you don't have to sacrifice curb appeal for safety.

Why Impact Windows Are a Florida Home's Armor

Living in Florida, the beauty of coastal life comes with a seasonal caveat: hurricanes. These storms don't just bring rain; they bring a barrage of high-speed winds and flying debris that can turn the unprepared home into a disaster zone. That's where impact windows come in – they are the armor your home needs to stand strong against the onslaught of hurricane forces. Unlike standard windows, impact windows are designed to resist shattering, even when struck by debris. This capability not only protects your home from damage but also safeguards your loved ones inside.

Assessing Your Home's Vulnerabilities

Before we dive into the world of impact windows, let's talk about vulnerabilities. Take a walk around your home and note the current windows you have. Are they single-pane, double-pane, or do they already have some form of impact resistance? Single-pane windows are the most vulnerable; they offer little resistance to flying objects. It's not just about the glass, though. The frame and the way your windows are installed play a huge role in their ability to protect. Consider this the first step in fortifying your home – understanding where you stand.

Decoding the Ratings: Understanding Hurricane Impact Window Features

When you're looking to upgrade to hurricane impact windows, you'll encounter a barrage of technical terms and ratings. It's like a secret code, but I'm here to help you crack it. One of the most important ratings you'll see is the PSF rating – which stands for Pounds per Square Foot. This number tells you how much wind pressure the window can withstand. The higher the number, the stronger the window. But remember, it's not just about the glass. The frame's strength and the quality of installation are equally important.

The Anatomy of an Impact Window

So, what exactly makes up an impact window? Let's break it down. First, you've got the glass – but not just any glass. This is tempered or laminated glass, often involving two layers with a tough plastic interlayer. If it breaks, it sticks to the plastic rather than flying into your home. Then, there's the frame – usually made of heavy-duty materials like vinyl, aluminum, or steel. These frames are anchored to the house with strong fasteners, so they stay put even when the wind howls.

What Makes Windows "Hurricane-Proof"?

Now, let's clear up a common misconception: no window is completely "hurricane-proof." However, impact windows are as close as it gets. They're tested by shooting projectiles at them – think of it like a cannonball test. If the window can keep its integrity after being hit by these missiles, it's deemed safe for hurricane conditions. It's not just about the glass surviving; it's also about preventing a breach in the envelope of your home, which could lead to catastrophic pressure changes and structural damage.

Selecting the Right Impact Windows for Your Home

Selecting the right impact windows isn't just a matter of picking the toughest glass. You need to consider what fits your home's style, your budget, and the specific needs of your region. It's a balancing act between ensuring the safety of your home and making sure the windows complement its design. Don't worry, though; with the right information, you can make a choice that ticks all the boxes.

First things first, measure the openings where your current windows sit. This might seem obvious, but getting the size right is crucial for both the effectiveness and aesthetics of your impact windows. Once you've got your measurements, think about how the windows will look once installed. Do you want them to stand out or blend in? With today's options, you can have both safety and style.

Balancing Budget and Quality

Let's talk money. High-quality impact windows are an investment, but they don't have to break the bank. Start by setting a realistic budget for yourself. This will guide you in choosing the materials and features that you can afford without compromising on safety. For example, vinyl frames are generally more cost-effective than aluminum, but they might not offer the same level of strength. It's all about finding the middle ground that works for your wallet and your peace of mind.

Don't forget, that investing in impact windows can also lead to savings down the line. They can increase your home's energy efficiency, leading to lower utility bills, and might even reduce your insurance premiums because they offer better protection. So, when you're budgeting, think long-term.

Matching Windows to Your Home's Aesthetic

Now, let's get into the look of the thing. Impact windows come in various styles, from modern to traditional. You want windows that not only protect but also enhance your home's appearance. If you've got a classic Florida bungalow, you might opt for windows with a wood finish. Or, if your home is more contemporary, sleek, frameless windows could be the way to go. Remember, these windows will be a part of your home for many years, so choose something that you'll be happy to look at every day.

And it's not just about looks. The right windows can also add to the functionality of your space. Think about whether you want fixed windows, that don't open, or operable windows that can let in the breeze on a cool day. It's all about what works for you.