Hurricane Windows vs Hurricane Shutters
When you live in a high-risk hurricane zone, nothing is more important than making sure your home and loved ones are protected from high winds and flying debris. Homeowners in South Florida suffered an estimated $15 billion in insured losses from Hurricane Irma alone, most of which was wind damage. Hurricane shutters and South Florida hurricane windows, also called impact windows, both offer protection against hurricane-strength winds, but each option comes with its own advantages and drawbacks.
Confused about the difference between your options? Not sure which is right for your home? Here’s the difference between hurricane windows and shutters and what each has to offer.
What Are Hurricane Shutters?
Hurricane shutters are designed to protect your windows from being broken by flying debris in a severe storm. When hurricane-strength winds are forced into your home through a broken window, the pressure has nowhere to go. This is how roofs are usually blown off and how a home may collapse. Hurricane shutters come in many styles, including automatic roll-down shutters to keep them out of sight, Bahama shutters, and panel shutters.
Pros and Cons of Hurricane Shutters
Many of our clients appreciate hurricane shutters for their affordability and reliability. These shutters can usually be installed easily, although they must be fastened properly to the building. You can even remove most types of hurricane shutters when they aren’t needed to avoid changing the look of your home. Just remember that they can be hard to handle. Hanging hurricane shutters requires at least two people.
Depending on the type of shutters, they may cost as little as $8 per square foot, but more decorative and high-end styles like Colonial shutters and roll-down shutters may cost $30 or more per square foot. Unlike impact windows, hurricane shutters can be retrofitted to a home and installed over existing windows. They also come in many styles to fit your budget, home style, and needs.
When choosing hurricane shutters, you will need to consider how long it takes to prepare your home for a storm. Roll-down shutters can be cranked or put in place with the push of a button, but some hurricane shutters require a minimum of 1 hour to prepare the entire home. This can be a major drawback to shutters as hurricane windows do not require any active preparation on your part.
Unfortunately, hurricane shutters don’t offer the best protection against debris and high winds. Shutters rely on the strength of your windows. If you have older or non-impact windows, high winds can still shatter your glass.
What Are Impact Windows?
Research has shown that keeping the exterior envelope of a home intact during a severe storm increases the chances of keeping the roof while reducing damage from wind. Hurricane windows are designed to offer year-round protection from high winds and other perils. Much like auto safety glass, these windows are made with laminated glass that doesn’t break into shards due to impact. To create these windows, two panels of glass are bonded with a clear, ultra-strong interlayer.
Pros and Cons of Hurricane Windows
Hurricane windows offer the greatest protection against storm damage. Impact windows also offer other benefits, including noise reduction and better resistance against intruders. With hurricane windows, your home’s envelope will remain intact, even if a window is hit with a flying piece of wood. Otherwise, an impact can cause the air pressure in your home to expand and allow a wall, roof, or other windows to give way. Impact resistant windows can withstand even Category 5 wind conditions and debris.
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The biggest drawback to impact windows? Their cost. Hurricane windows don’t fit over your existing windows like hurricane shutters; they’re designed to replace your existing windows with stronger window frames and glass that can withstand projectiles and wind. Still, hurricane windows are a stand-alone solution that can protect your home. Hurricane shutters, on the other hand, also rely on the strength of the windows to protect your home.
If you’re looking for the ultimate in storm protection, you can’t beat hurricane windows. We install only the best impact windows made by Soft Lite Windows to protect against strong winds, flying debris, and more.