Florida has it all— beaches, sunshine and beautiful weather year-round. But along with that beautiful weather, our southern state also brings with it tropical storms and hurricanes.
As a homeowner in SWFL, you have two choices when it comes to protecting your windows during storm season: hurricane shutters and impact windows.
Both provide the protection you need, but which is the better option? Although hurricane shutters are less expensive, there are many benefits to investing in impact windows vs. added exterior coverage over your glass.
Here are seven benefits of using impact windows for hurricane protection:
1. Impact windows only require one-time installation— not to mention, no storm preparation!
When you choose to install impact glass, you have to fully replace your windows; there’s no coating that can go over your current glass to offer the same protection. Plus, impact windows have sturdier framing, so that’ll need to get swapped out.
But once impact windows are installed, there's nothing else you need to do. Other than occasional cleaning with some soap and water... you install them and forget ‘em!
With hurricane shutters, however, you need to put them up or engage them every time there's a hurricane. As Floridians, we know that even though we're warned of a hurricane, it doesn't always hit us. Putting up and taking down hurricane shutters every time we get a hurricane warning can be a hassle! Plus, shutters require more maintenance, like cleaning and lubricating the tracks and regularly washing. Impact windows provide continuous protection from the moment they're installed— giving them a clear upkeep advantage.
2. Impact windows improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Utility bills add up fast, especially during the summer in Florida. While there are ways you can improve your traditional window’s energy efficiency, these hacks are rarely as effective as swapping out your standard glass and leaky framing for more highly insulated, tighter-sealed storm windows.
Impact windows are specifically designed to reduce the solar heat gain in the summer and help retain heat in your home on a cool Florida winter evening— like no other window treatment. Their ENERGY STAR-rating is to thank for that helpful attribute, as well as other snazzy energy-friendly features like low-emissivity properties and other customizable solar ratings. Depending on your preference and budget, you can decide how energy-conscious your setup will be and control how much you save on your electric bill.
Curious to see the energy features options available for storm glass? Here are some tips for choosing the more energy-efficient impact windows.
3. Impact glass offers overall increased security and protection.
Not only does impact glass stand up against hurricanes, but properly installed storm windows provide the highest level of protection to your home and it’s interior valuables— year-round.
This added security has everything to do with their construction. Most impact windows consist of several layers of glass or other synthetic materials that make shattering and penetration difficult. This means a burglar could take a crowbar to your windows, but the glass wouldn’t shatter all over the floor and give them an easy way in.
Instead, impact glass will splinter, but hold in place thanks to a sticky, sturdy center layer. Anyone attempting to break into your home will be sorely disappointed!
Learn about how impact glass is constructed by reading our other post, The Differences Between Tempered, Laminated & Hurricane Impact Glass.
4. Impact windows aid in noise reduction.
If you live near a busy intersection or highway, you know how disrupting and distracting outside noise can be. Installing impact windows is an easy way to reduce the amount of outside noise seeping in.
That’s because the extra-thick, layered glass and super sealed framing prevent sound and air leakage, keeping sound from the inside contained and disturbance from your neighbors or the street trapped outside.
5. Impact windows won’t affect your home’s curb appeal and appearance.
When you install hurricane shutters, they need to be disengaged or taken down after every hurricane. Some permanently affixed shutters like accordions do fold up rather nicely into a protective housing when not deployed, but others like Bahama shutters stay in place year-round. No matter how you slice it, your windows will have some exterior treatment on them— folded up or not— unless you opt for storm panels. And with these comes the added maintenance of taking them on and off before and after every storm.
Let’s not forget that when you deploy storm shutters, you're often left to sit in the dark all hurricane, since all of your windows are covered. To boot, you also may not have power, so it could be a few days stumbling around by candlelight. Since impact windows don't need to be covered, you are able to see outside during a hurricane and benefit from the daylight indoors when the power’s out.
Plus, impact windows look just like regular windows, but with the added advantage against strong and damaging winds. Most homeowners prefer their clean, unobtrusive look more than aluminum hurricane shutters.
On the fence between extra strong glass and storm shutters? Here are 5 Questions to Help You Choose Between Impact Glass & Hurricane Shutters.
6. Impact glass provides UV protection.
When the hot Florida sun is blaring into your home, it’s almost just as bad as being outside! People wonder how they got sunburn inside after a few hours reading by the window, and it’s because traditional glass doesn’t protect against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) light.
Not only can it give you sunburn, but long-term exposure to UV light causes damage to fabrics, artwork, photographs and paint inside of your home. Installing impact windows protects your valuable interiors from fading and discoloration after repeated exposure to direct sunlight. This is extremely important for us in Florida since we experience direct sunlight all year round— and a benefit that’ll surely pay for itself in the long run.
Some homeowners think they can solve this problem by adding tints or films to their windows. We ask, “why invest time and money on that when you could spend a little more to replace your old windows with UV-protected, stronger impact glass? Two birds, one stone!”
7. Installing impact windows can mean insurance premium discounts!
Impact windows and doors are effective windstorm protective systems recognized by many insurance companies. Impact windows are always protecting your home, whereas shutters have to be installed or closed by the homeowners. Insurance companies recognize this and can offer reductions to your insurance premiums.
Learn more about homeowners insurance discounts and even more benefits by reading 7 Reasons to Update Your Florida Home with Impact Windows.
The True Cost of Impact Windows
There’s no doubt about it— impact glass comes with extensive advantages over traditional windows and even storm shutters!
If you're interested in exploring the beauty and security of impact windows, Storm Solutions offers a selection of the best windows in the industry.
Curious as to how much replacing your windows with impact glass would run you? Use our free Impact Window Pricing Calculator to get a commitment-free estimate, today.
Rather schedule an in-person assessment and get a quote, directly? Call at (239) 288-0894 to request one.