Here in Florida, we all understand the critical importance of quality window and door products that will resist the intensity of hurricane wind speeds. Since 2001, newly built homes in risk-prone areas are required to have hurricane windows or shutters. But unless it’s your stock and trade, these products are not something most of us are overly familiar with. So, when the time comes to install new hurricane windows in Tampa, FL, what do you need to know as a consumer?
We think it’s a good idea to get familiar with hurricane window products to understand their relative advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few details to get you started:
How Hurricane Windows Are Made
After Hurricane Andrew decimated areas of Florida in 1992, the state saw a need to improve their building code requirements to address the widespread window failures during that storm. They turned their attention to the automotive industry for glass solutions that were impact resistant. Manufacturers responded to the call by creating hurricane resistant windows. These windows are built with reinforced frames and tempered laminated glass. You might ask: what kind of glass is that?
A bit of background may be helpful here:
- Tempered glass is between 5-10 times stronger than glass that is not tempered. It is created by heating and then rapidly cooling the glass down to room temperature. One of the great benefits of tempered glass is when breakage occurs; it shatters into thousands of small harmless pebbles that fall everywhere. For this reason, it is also referred to as safety glass.
- Laminated glass is made by joining two pieces of glass together with a layer of vinyl, which acts as a bonding agent that “glues” the two pieces together. When this type of glass is broken, the glass will not shatter and fall to the ground in pieces. Rather, the vinyl interlayer will hold the broken glass together in its original shape.
- Tempered laminated glass is a hybrid of the two glass types mentioned above. It combines the increased strength and safety of tempered glass with the impact resistance of laminated glass.
The different glazing types are identified by the laminate procedure. This is a type of protective coating that can withstand high winds, severe weather and even hurricanes!
There are many options when it comes to storm-resistant glass for your home or business’ windows: Some will be made with polyvinyl butyral (PVB) film on both sides while others have reinforced plastic frames called “Sheet Glass.” The latter has become more popular recently due its durability in inclement conditions such as heavy downpours from tropical storms without causing unacceptable levels of water infiltration through joints where panes meet each other along their edges.
- For those who live in hurricane-prone areas, a film of PVB or EVA sandwiched between two layers of glass is the most common type for protecting windows. PVB or EVA is a very good choice for windows because it absorbs impact when struck. Though the film typically ranges from 0.015 to 0.090 inch thick, with thicker layers increasing both price and strength of your window- this layer also makes them shatterproof just like in cars!
- The combination of PVB with a layer of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) makes for strong glazing options, but due to their challenging manufacturing process these windows are also very expensive. This type of glazing consists of two layers; one consisting entirely or mostly made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) treated with a thin layer pet film between them in order to make up some strength when dealing with stronger storms and weather elements such as high temperatures that can cause flexing over time due swelling effects on certain materials while another form known simply by what we call it–polyesterblinds which also come equipped are typically not only cheaper than their counterparts but provide increased privacy too!
- DuPont, now owned by Kuraray created SentryGlas Plus (SGP) to combat the effects of storm damage. This new interlayer material inoplast means it’s lighter weight and stronger than other panes but also less susceptible to yellowing over time due its immersion protection against high winds speeds up 20 miles per hour when hit with hurricane force gusts! The SGP layer is up to 2.28 mm (0.090 inches) thick, which makes them more common for commercial buildings, but you can order residential ones as well! These windows are among the most expensive hurricane resistant surfaces on a building because they have an added Bismuth Oxychloride surface guard coating that prevents injury from high impact rounds such as bullets or bombs.
- Liquid glass resins are a popular and sustainable alternative to traditional windows. These products can be permanently applied by using UV light as the catalyst, while some versions also include an additive like polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film for it to become even stronger! Liquid glazing has been especially beneficial due its increased longevity during hot weather or other harsh conditions where durability matters most – not just aesthetics.
- Hybrid windows use a hybrid of glass and plastic to create an attractive, yet durable product. These buildings grade well in warmer climates because the polycarbonate stretches less than normal glass does when exposed at higher temperatures- it’s not so great for those who live there though!
How Impact Windows in Tampa Protect During a Storm?
When a hurricane hits, you can expect the windows in your home to break. This is because they are not designed for strong winds and pressure changes that occur when storms get Really Bad! Non-breaking hurricane resistant windows are not only great at preventing water from damaging the inside of your home, but they also provide structural integrity. Studies have shown that destruction often occurs when pressure changes occur suddenly and violently as air blows in or out. Keeping these elements intact with a strong frame prevents this from happening by preventing any sudden movements within its construction which may lead you to have peace in mind knowing that everything will be alright even if there are storms outside!
Advantages of Hurricane Windows in Tampa, FL
You might think that the primary benefit of hurricane windows is that they prevent stormwater and debris from entering and wreaking havoc on a home. While that is true, the greatest advantage of hurricane windows is structural in nature. Storm studies have demonstrated that most homes that are destroyed in a hurricane happen because of the sudden changes in pressure that occurs when the home’s windows and doors fail and blow out. The rapid increase in air pressure can implode the home, blowing the roof off and collapsing the walls. Other advantages of hurricane windows include:
- There is no visual indication that a window is hurricane rated.
- They are energy efficient.
- Because they are made with tempered laminated glass, hurricane windows are also intruder resistant. Meaning, if a thief tries to gain access to your home through your hurricane windows in Tampa, FL, they are highly unlikely to succeed by breaking the window.
- Another excellent advantage is laminated glass provides sound insulation.
- Homeowners appreciate that their insurance rates can be reduced by installing hurricane windows.
Disadvantages of Hurricane Windows
If you live in a hurricane zone, the benefits of installing hurricane windows seem to outweigh the drawbacks. But that doesn’t mean the drawbacks don’t exist. They do, and they matter. As you evaluate whether now is the right time to upgrade your home’s storm defenses, consider the following points.
- The cost of building a hurricane window is much more expensive than a standard conventional window. This can add thousands of dollars in additional construction costs.
- Certain kinds of hurricane windows will start to yellow, marring visibility through the window.
- Although hurricane windows are a solid defense against a violent storm, no window or glass is 100% destruction proof.
Hurricane Windows Installation
Hurricane windows need to be properly installed if they are expected to perform under the stressful conditions they will inevitably encounter. Not every general contractor is qualified to install the various hurricane windows that are out there. They might not have the specialized knowledge required to install a specific manufacturer’s hurricane-rated window system, or they might lack the training or expertise. Be sure your installer is qualified to perform the installation so that you avoid any future warranty voidance issues.
Homeowners that choose to invest in hurricane windows will sleep a lot better at night, knowing their home is prepared for the next big one. The benefits of owning and installing hurricane windows in Tampa, FL are worth it. If you’d like to talk to one of our pro’s here at Clearwater Window & Door Inc., give us a call at (727) 559-7007. You can also stop by our showroom in the area, located at 2025 Gulf to Bay Blvd, Pinellas County 33765.
Hurricane Windows FAQs
How can hurricane windows help in insurance breaks?
Insurance is something you pay throughout the year as a part of your mortgage. Everyone had to have homeowner’s insurance and in this area of the country, it’s larger than it is in other regions because of hurricane damage that can occur. When you have hurricane windows on your home, you get insurance breaks all throughout the year because your house is at a smaller risk for those damages. Call us to discuss further.
Why get hurricane windows before vacation?
Intruder Protection. There are only so many things you can do to make it look like you are home. If someone is watching your home closely enough, they’re going to notice that there’s no one going in or out and they might try something while you are away. But hurricane windows can prevent them from breaking through the glass, which is usually the most vulnerable part of a home. Instead, the glass is strong and won’t allow intruders in. That might deter them from even trying. Learn more.
Can hurricane windows provide more light in my house?
Yes! You might think that hurricane windows are big and bulky in the frame department, but that’s not true. Even hurricane windows have smaller frames and larger glass space, which allows in more light. Click here to learn more about hurricane windows.