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.
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 actually 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 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.