What Are Hurricane Windows Made Of?
If you are considering window protection options for your Florida home, chances are you have seen hurricane windows as an option. You might be wondering, though, can a window really provide that much protection against severe storm activity?
Hurricane windows are designed to do just that. Their enhanced design provides a robust barrier between your home’s interior and the weather outside while continuing to allow daylight into the home and reducing noise among other benefits.
Florida has dealt with more than its fair share of destructive hurricanes over the years, and so it’s not all that surprising that the state is where some of the most innovative storm protection methods were developed. One such method is South Florida hurricane windows, also known as impact windows, which are designed to withstand major impacts without breaking. These windows have been proven to help protect homes from major damage during hurricanes, which is why they’ve become so popular among homeowners living in hurricane-prone areas like South Florida. Still, in order to understand exactly makes hurricane windows so special, it’s necessary to look at how they’re made and what makes them different from standard windows.
Difference Between Standard Windows and Hurricane Windows
Hurricane windows differ from standard windows in one major respect. Whereas an impact tends to cause normal glass-pane windows to shatter into hundreds of sharp shards, hurricane windows will generally remain intact even if they break. In essence, hurricane windows are similar to the impact-resistant laminated glass used in car windshields. Although this type of laminated safety glass can still break, the pieces of glass will remain held together.
Impact-resistant hurricane windows have special frames. These have additional wind and water protection as well as sturdier support for the glass. They look like traditional windows and are opened and closed just as easily.
How Are Hurricane Windows Made?
Hurricane rated windows are generally made using two sheets of tempered glass, which are bonded together to a thin plastic membrane usually made from polyvinyl butyral (PVB). The specific thickness of the plastic membrane depends on the type and strength of the hurricane window. Although you can find a wide range of different hurricane windows and doors, the majority of products use a heavy-duty aluminum frame to add further strength to help ensure the glass remains in place even upon major impact.
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How They Help to Prevent Damage?
Hurricane windows are quite similar to the shatter-resistant laminated glass found in car windshields in that they attempt to prevent shards of glass from flying around and potentially causing damage or injury. However, hurricane windows also have to serve an additional function, which is to remain completely intact in the event of an impact.
Studies have repeatedly shown that the amount of damage a home suffers during a storm is greatly reduced if its exterior shell or envelope remains fully intact. This means that the roof, windows and doors remain unbroken and in place. When a window does break during a storm, the result is that it allows the extreme winds into the home. This wind creates a huge amount of pressure inside the home and often leads to the roof becoming loose or getting totally ripped off due to the extreme pressure difference between the inside and outside of the house.
By remaining in place and not getting ‘blown out’ or falling out after an impact, hurricane rated windows ensure that the exterior shell of the home remains intact. In this way, they are one of the best methods for preventing major destruction during a severe storm. Even one window getting busted or blown out during a storm is often all it takes to cause extreme damage or even total destruction of the house, and hurricane rated windows are most definitely the easiest way to prevent this from happening.
Additional Benefits of Hurricane-Rated Windows
Beyond providing protection from hurricanes, impact windows provide a variety of other benefits to you as the homeowner, including:
- Better curb-appeal and increased home value
- Enhanced home security
- UV light filtering protects furnishings
- Reduced outside noise
- Improved indoor comfort
- Increased home energy efficiency
- Lower homeowner’s insurance rates
Another common concern for many homeowners is Homeowner’s Association (HOA) compliance. As many Florida homes are in HOA-governed communities.
Hurricane windows are custom-sized to your home’s existing openings. They are available in a broad range of colors and styles. Decorative grids can be added in almost any configuration. This allows you to maintain HOA compliance while you simultaneously prepare your home for storm-related threats.
What Makes Hurricane Windows Energy Efficient?
Although laminated glass will protect you from a storm it does little by itself to block summer heat. Energy efficient hurricane windows either have insulated glass or LowE coatings. The most energy efficient windows have both.
Insulated glass has an additional layer of glass with a small gap. Some fill the gap with argon gas. Insulated glass works just like a double-wall thermos.
According to the EPA, insulated glass can lower your electric bill over 30% as compared to single-pane windows.
LowE glass also adds energy efficiency but is different than insulated glass. LowE is a silver based coating added to the glass itself. This coating reflects the radiant heat from the sun. It will keep you cool and comfortable when the sun shines. The most energy efficient glass is both insulated and also has LowE.
What is the difference between vinyl and aluminum frame hurricane windows?
Vinyl Frame Windows
The longest lasting windows on the market today are high-grade vinyl windows. These vinyl windows have newer UPVC composites that combines the vinyl with strengthening agents, UV blockers, thermal inhibitors and other ingredients to make them stronger and keep them looking like new.
Quality vinyl windows will have a welded construction that makes the corners seamless and strong. Usually they will have aluminum reinforcing inside the frame as well, to increase their strength even further.
Aluminum Frame Windows
Aluminum is both strong and long-lasting outdoors. Many hurricane windows are made with aluminum frames. The quality of aluminum frame windows is partly in how the aluminum is finished. Better quality aluminum windows are anodized. They also have premium quality paint and a longer warranty. Also look for aluminum windows with stainless steel hardware.
Enhance Your Home’s Storm Defenses with Hurricane Windows
At Paradise Exteriors, we have years of experience helping homeowners all over South Florida protect their property from the damaging effects of storms. Our highly skilled professionals can assist you with choosing the right option for your needs, and we can offer you a wide range of color and design choices that both look stylish and provide the protection you need. We understand just how important our home is to you and your family, which is why we always take the time to ensure your windows are properly installed to provide the maximum amount of protection. Storms can truly wreak havoc on your home and your life, so it is essential that you do whatever you can to ensure you’re protected.
We are also the proud exclusive installer of Paradise Platinum windows. The only ones of their kind to receive multiple Energy Star Awards. Also recognized by the National Crime Prevention Council for helping Take-a-Bite-Out-of-Crime. To learn more about upgrading to Paradise Platinum, contact us today for a free quote: 844-749-2121