What Are Hurricane Resistant Windows

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October 2012

In the last decade the South Florida has been exposed to a furious hurricane seasons. There is a common misconception that a lower category hurricane is less of a threat than a higher category hurricane. For example, Hurricane Katrina was the costly hurricane in United States history and it was only a Category 3 hurricane when it made landfall. Hurricane Andrew was the only Category 5 hurricane to make the list of the top five costliest hurricanes to strike the United States destroying many homes. After this, Florida began promoting hurricane-resistant architecture , including impact-resistant roofs, doors and windows. Today, many areas in Florida require new homes to contain hurricane-proof windows, which include homes around the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast area.

Hurricane Katrina of 2005 was easily the costliest hurricane in United States history with property damages over $81 billion. Storm surge along the Mississippi coast completely destroyed many structures with damage extending several miles inland. Katrina’s storm surge topped and breached levees in the New Orleans metropolitan area resulting in the inundation of much of the city and its eastern suburbs. Wind damage from Katrina extended well inland into northern Mississippi and Alabama as well as in Miami-Dade and Broward counties of Florida.

The preparation of your home for a hurricane before it hits, it could save you thousands of dollars in repairs. But this kind of action must be repeated each year before the tropical storms season begins. In order to save money and give a real protection of properties and people are the hurricane-proof windows, one of the most important items to provide your home with.

Although, no window is completely hurricane-proof, but impact-resistant glass or shutters can withstand high winds and flying debris. Some types of hurricane-proof windows also include a heavy-duty frame that surrounds the glass and prevents the home's structure from collapsing. If glass breaks or the window frame collapses, wind sneaks into the house. When this occurs, the pressure inside is different from the outside, and the roof or walls collapse. Impact-resistant glass, sturdy window frames and hurricane shutters all work to prevent this from happening.

When it comes to choosing a type of hurricane-proof window, options include impact-resistant glass or shutters. Two types of impact-resistant glass are available. The most effective type is inner-membrane windows. These windows contain an invisible layer of polyvinyl butaryl (PVB) between two slabs of glass. Though the glass may shatter on impact, the inner membrane stays intact along with the sturdy frame around it. Another option is shatter-resistant film that covers regular glass. This film helps prevent glass from easily shattering.

Impact-resistant windows with the transparent polyvinyl membrane in the middle can withstand winds up to 200 mph. They go unnoticed by guests and don't take away from the visual appeal of your home. These windows are also energy efficient, come in numerous styles and sizes, include little maintenance, reduce sound travel, protect against intruders and provide UV protection. They are permanently set and ready to protect against a storm at any time, without any work. Hurricane shutters can add a decorative flair to the house and are usually cheaper than impact-resistant glass.

Impact-resistant glass is expensive. The average cost is $60 per square foot, which could add up to around $800 per opening. However, this glass usually lasts many years, with little maintenance. Shatter-resistant film is cheaper, but less effective. Hurricane shutters are effective, but they may need to be replaced after a storm, they could take away from the home's visual appeal, and they need you to be present during a storm to pull them across the windows.