Hurricane Impact Windows Buying Guide

Key Takeaways

  • Look for windows with high impact ratings, sturdy frame materials like aluminum or vinyl, and laminated glass for maximum safety.

  • Hurricane impact windows are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, offering significant protection for your home.

  • Investing in these windows can lead to long-term savings on energy bills and insurance, while potentially increasing your home's resale value.

  • Choosing professional installation ensures your windows are correctly fitted, which is crucial for their effectiveness.

  • Regular maintenance is essential to keep your hurricane impact windows in top condition, preserving their protective qualities over time.

What Makes Hurricane Impact Windows Essential

When the skies turn dark and the winds roar, you want to be certain that your home can stand up to nature's fury. That's where hurricane impact windows come into play. These aren't your average windows; they're engineered to protect your home and loved ones from the destructive force of hurricanes.

Defining Hurricane Impact Windows

Imagine a baseball hurtling toward your window at 50 miles per hour. Now, imagine that your window doesn't shatter. That's the kind of resilience we're talking about with hurricane-impact windows. They are built with a combination of heavy-duty frames and laminated glass, designed to resist impacts from flying debris during a storm. This means when the hurricane hits, you can worry less about the windows and more about keeping your family safe.

The Science Behind the Strength

It's not magic that keeps these windows intact; it's science. The secret lies in the layers. A sheet of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) is sandwiched between two panes of glass. This isn't just any sandwich though; it holds the glass together even when it's broken, preventing dangerous shards from entering your home.

But it's not just about the glass. The frames play a crucial role too. They are typically made from materials that can withstand significant force, such as aluminum, steel, or reinforced vinyl. Together, the glass and frame create a barrier that's tough to break through.

The Economic Sense of Investing in Hurricane Windows

It's a common question: are hurricane impact windows a good investment? The answer is a resounding yes, and here's why. Beyond the obvious safety benefits, these windows can also have a positive impact on your wallet in the long run.

Long-term Savings on Insurance and Energy Bills

First off, let's talk about insurance. In hurricane-prone areas, having impact windows can lead to discounts on your homeowner's insurance premiums. Insurance companies often recognize the added protection these windows provide and may reward you with savings. And then there's the matter of energy efficiency. Hurricane-impact windows can help reduce your energy bills by providing better insulation, keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

  • Insurance discounts for added protection against storms.

  • Energy savings from improved insulation.

  • Reduced noise pollution, adding to a peaceful home environment.

  • UV protection to prevent fading of furniture and carpets.

These savings add up over time, making the initial investment in hurricane impact windows more palatable. Think about it this way: every month, you could be paying less on your bills, all because you chose to upgrade your windows.

Resale Value: Are They Worth the Upgrade?

When you're ready to sell your home, potential buyers will see hurricane-impact windows as a major plus. They know they're getting a property that's already equipped to handle harsh weather conditions, which is a big selling point in areas frequently hit by storms. But just how much can these windows affect your home's value?

According to real estate experts, homes with hurricane impact windows can see an increase in resale value, sometimes as much as a 60-70% return on the window investment itself.

While the exact figures will vary depending on the market and the quality of the windows, it's clear that this upgrade is about more than just peace of mind during storm season—it's also a smart financial decision.

Installation Insights: Getting Your Home Ready

Once you've decided to invest in hurricane-impact windows, the next step is getting them installed. This isn't the time to cut corners; proper installation is key to ensuring the windows perform as they should.

Professional Installation vs. DIY: What to Choose

While you might be tempted to save money by installing the windows yourself, think twice. These windows are only as good as their installation. A professional will ensure that the windows are fitted correctly and sealed properly, which is essential for them to withstand high winds and flying debris. If you're not experienced in this type of work, it's best to leave it to the pros.

Maintenance Tips to Ensure Longevity

Like any part of your home, hurricane-impact windows need regular maintenance to keep them in top condition. Here are some tips to ensure they last:

  • Inspect the seals and weather stripping regularly for signs of wear and tear.

  • Clean the window frames and tracks to prevent dirt buildup, which can affect the window's operation.

  • Use proper cleaning solutions for the glass to maintain its clarity and impact resistance.

By taking good care of your hurricane-impact windows, you're not just maintaining your home; you're upholding a barrier that protects everything inside it.


How do hurricane impact windows protect my home?

Hurricane impact windows are a fortress in a pane of glass. They're designed to stand up to the harshest elements. When a storm hits, these windows help maintain the integrity of your home by preventing the force of hurricane winds and flying debris from breaching the envelope of your house. This is crucial because once the winds enter, they can cause pressure changes that lead to catastrophic structural damage.

Can impact windows withstand direct hits from flying debris?

Yes, they can. Impact windows are tested rigorously to ensure they can handle the force of objects propelled by high winds. The interlayer within the glass absorbs the impact, while the tough outer layers resist shattering. This doesn't mean the glass is unbreakable, but it's designed to stay in its frame, keeping your home sealed against the storm.

Consider this: hurricane impact windows undergo tests that involve firing a 9-pound 2x4 lumber missile at 34 miles per hour, simulating the flying debris in a hurricane. If the glass cracks, the interlayer keeps the overall window intact, preventing the debris from entering the home.

It's important to note that while impact windows are incredibly strong, they are not invincible. Regular inspections and maintenance are key to ensuring their longevity and performance.

  • Ensure the window frames and seals are free from damage or wear.

  • Check for any cracks or chips in the glass, however small, and address repairs promptly.

  • Keep the tracks and hinges clean to ensure the windows function correctly.

What is the average cost of installing hurricane-impact windows?

The cost of installing hurricane impact windows can vary widely based on several factors, including the size and type of window, the materials used, and the complexity of the installation. On average, homeowners can expect to spend between $2,500 and $15,000 for a full house installation. While this may seem steep, consider the potential cost of hurricane damage, and it becomes a wise investment.

Are there energy-efficient hurricane impact windows available?

Yes, energy efficiency is one of the many benefits of hurricane-impact windows. Many of these windows come with features like low-emissivity (low-E) coatings, which reflect heat while letting light in, helping to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

For example, a homeowner in Florida installed low-E coated hurricane impact windows and saw their energy bill decrease by approximately 15% during the peak summer months.

This is because the coating reduces the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light that comes through the glass, without compromising the natural light and visibility. These savings on energy bills can add up over time, making the windows an even more valuable addition to your home.

When shopping for hurricane impact windows, look for the ENERGY STAR label, which indicates the windows meet or exceed energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

How do I choose a reliable contractor for installation?

Choosing the right contractor is as important as the windows themselves. Start by looking for contractors who specialize in hurricane-impact window installation and have a track record of success. Check their licensing and insurance to ensure they're qualified to do the job in your area.

Ask for references and follow up with them to inquire about the contractor's reliability, workmanship, and professionalism. Read online reviews and check their standing with the Better Business Bureau. It's also wise to get multiple quotes to compare prices and services offered.

Don't hesitate to ask questions about the installation process, the materials used, and the warranties provided. A trustworthy contractor will be transparent and provide all the information you need to feel confident in your decision.

Finally, make sure the contractor is willing to perform a thorough inspection post-installation to ensure everything has been done correctly. Remember, proper installation is crucial for the windows to perform effectively during a hurricane.

Arming your home with hurricane-impact windows is a powerful step toward safeguarding your property and loved ones. With the right preparation, investment, and maintenance, you can face storm season with confidence, knowing that your home is equipped to withstand the elements.