Prepping for a hurricane is an intense, high-stakes process.
Weather experts issue hurricane warnings around 36 hours prior to the expected arrival of tropical-storm-force winds. That doesn’t leave affected residents with much time to prepare their homes and families for a potential crisis.
One common storm-prep tactic is window taping. This method simply involves applying strips of duct tape or masking tape to the outside surface of a window, often in an X pattern across the middle of the pane.
It would be nice if such an easy strategy yielded good results—but does window taping actually provide any protection at all against the forces of nature?
The Myth: Taping Windows Will Prevent Them From Shattering
The goal of window taping is to prevent window panes from shattering when they’re struck by wind and debris.
The myth: tape holds a window together during a hurricane, preventing the glass from shattering.
The reality: window taping offers zero protection benefits and can actually make your windows less safe.
The window taping myth is decades-old. Back in the 1970s, hurricane safety brochures recommended the practice. Seeming like an easy last-minute safeguard, window taping became a go-to strategy during storm prep.
Eventually, taping was determined to be completely useless, but the myth persists. Lots of folks still wrongly assume that taping up their windows offers a degree of protection.
At best, window taping is a waste of tape and time. At worst, this method offers a false sense of security.
Besides failing to prevent glass from shattering, taping can result in windows breaking into larger and more dangerous pieces. The glass doesn’t become shatter-proof, it simply breaks into bigger shards that are loosely held together.
Time spent on window taping would be better put to use on other critical storm prep measures, such as bag-packing for an evacuation.
Does Security Film Work as an Alternative to Window Taping?
Applying a window security film layer over traditional glass is sometimes considered the “next step up” from window taping.
Unfortunately, applying security film is time-consuming and expensive. The process can be frustrating if it uses up your precious time as you rush to prepare for a storm.
Adding window film provides homeowners with a brief sense of security. However, actual protection is minimal. Film won’t bring satisfactory results for preventing large debris and intense winds from shattering your window glass. That’s why window films are not approved for hurricane protection in Florida.
The Next Go-To: Plywood Boards
Homeowners who have had bad results with taping and security film sometimes give plywood boards a try. This appears to be a stronger option, since boards are solid and can be nailed directly over windows.
However, plywood board protection requires a great deal of preparation. From purchasing the wood to individually nailing each piece to the house, plywood boards aren’t typically a practical solution during fast-paced hurricane prep.
Additionally, nailing plywood boards to your home causes damage. When you remove the wood from the window frames, the nails leave holes. These unsightly blemishes could chip and tear away additional material.
Most importantly, boarding up with plywood cannot protect you from a hurricane. Plywood fails Florida wind-borne debris testing. Also, the negative pressure caused by a hurricane can suck the plywood right off the side of your house – leaving you with no protection at all right at the hight of the storm.
The True Proven Hurricane Protection: Impact Windows
Makeshift methods like tape, film, and boards come up short against the mighty force of a hurricane.
For homeowners who are serious about storm-proofing, hurricane-rated impact windows are a must-have.
Impact windows provide the following benefits:
- Robust hurricane wind protection
- Permanent installation—no setup or teardown before and after each storm
- Aesthetically complementary with the rest of your home
- Superior thermal control and energy-efficiency
- Ambient noise reduction
- Break-in protection for improved home security
Hurricane-rated impact windows are thoroughly tested for durability and performance.
To earn an impact rating, windows are subjected to hurricane-like test conditions. This includes a “large missile impact” test, in which powerful objects like steel balls are launched at the glass. To receive a high rating, windows must withstand severe strikes by these heavy objects.
Equip Your Home With Florida’s Leading Hurricane Impact Windows
Paradise Exteriors is South Florida’s leading installer of hurricane-rated windows, doors, and roofing systems. Our hurricane windows and doors provide elite protection, security, and energy efficiency.
To learn more about protecting your home from the next major storm event, contact Paradise Exteriors for a free estimate.