Buying a Home in Florida? What You Need to Know About Hurricanes

A Hurricane Primer for those Buying a Home in Florida

Are you considering buying a home in Florida? As you’re browsing properties across the Sunshine State, you might be wondering about hurricanes. This is a common and completely understandable concern for those moving here from out of state. 

Today, we’re going to cover some essential pieces of information that you should know about hurricanes in Florida. We hope this will help put your mind at ease as you search for your new home. 

Hurricane Season Lasts for 5 Months Each Year

The official hurricane season starts on June 1 and ends on November 30 each year. These five months are when hurricanes are usually at their highest frequency and severity. However, hurricanes can also happen during other months outside of this timeframe. 

Any Part of Florida Can Experience Hurricanes 

Florida is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the East. While the southern half of Florida often faces more severe storms than other parts of the state, the entire landmass is potentially susceptible to hurricane activity at any time. 

A common misconception is that the western half of the state, especially near the City of Tampa and the Florida Panhandle, are free of hurricanes. While these areas do not typically withstand the same amount of storm activity, they can still experience intense weather events. For example, the 1921 Tampa Bay hurricane (also known as the Tarpon Springs hurricane) is one of the most notable severe hurricanes in state history. 

Hurricanes Can Vary in Severity 

Hurricanes can vary in severity. Not all storms necessitate an evacuation. In cases where storms have a mild to moderate intensity, many homeowners will choose to remain in place until the weather clears. However, if an evacuation is recommended or mandated for your area, it is important to do so in a timely manner and follow official routes out of your neighborhood. 

Protecting Your Home Against Hurricanes is Essential for Florida Homeowners

Over the past few centuries, hurricane protection has evolved greatly. Homes in the 2020s have a much greater chance of surviving through a storm than in the 1820s. 

Though there are many products and services that are advertised as home hurricane protection solutions, there are three that remain the most popular: 

Boarding Windows

Many homeowners looking for a low-cost solution to protecting their windows and doors will often board them up with store bought lumber. While common, it is insufficient. A hurricane will subject your home to negative air pressure, which can literally suck the plywood right off the side of your house. Plus, windborne debris from a hurricane has been shown to go right through plywood. That is why insurance companies do not offer any discounts for boarding up before a storm. In addition,there are a few additional issues, such as: 

  • Boards can usually only be used once 
  • Also requires buying fasteners and power tools, such as a saw, and having appropriate ladders  to install
  • Nails can leave holes in your exterior wall, doorway, and window frame 
  • Stores and lumber yards frequently are sold out before a storm 
  • Installing it can be dangerous and usually requires multiple skilled people working together
Options for Florida hurricane protection
Options for Florida hurricane protection

Using Metal Hurricane Shutters

Metal hurricane shutters are a more modernized version of boarding up windows. Instead of nailing up plywood, you heavy metal shutters are installed over the windows instead. While approved panels provide much better protection than plywood, shutters do provide their own issues as well. These include: 

  • Manual setup and teardown are still necessary 
  • Very heavy panels with sharp edges can be quite difficult to move and install
  • The metal tracks fit into are permanently installed
  • Storage space is needed for the panels when not in use 
  • Shutters can create loud noises when rattling against the exterior during a storm
  • Shutters block out all daylight, which may be an issue if the power fails 
  • Since they are removable from outside, they provide no security against break-ins

Installing Hurricane-Rated Impact Windows 

Unlike shutters and boards, hurricane-rated impact windows and doors are permanently installed in your existing openings. They provide many unique advantages compared to other popular hurricane protection solutions like: 

  • No setup or teardown necessary
  • Custom made to match the size of your existing door or window opening
  • Maintains a similar appearance and clarity to high-end traditional glass 
  • Robust Florida approved impact-rated protection that’s comparable to or better than other options 
  • Maintenance free
  • Offers extra protection against burglars and home-intruders 
  • Energy efficient hurricane windows can also increase the comfort of your home and lower your electric bill

Our Recommendation: Hurricane Impact Windows (Over Boards and Shutters)

When it comes to protecting your windows and doors against hurricanes, nothing compares to hurricane-rated impact windows. They seamlessly combine convenience, durability, and aesthetics together to integrate with the rest of your living space. 

If you are buying a home in Florida and want to learn more about hurricane impact windows, contact us any time for a free estimate. We offer industry-leading windows, professional installation and service, and unbeatable warranty options for your long-term protection. 

Also suggested for those buying a home in Florida: Why everyone in Florida wants storm windows?


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