Hurricane Shutters or Impact Windows in Florida? The Advantages and Pitfalls

Here in Florida, a hurricane can be one of the biggest dangers to your most important investment — your home. For most of us who have lived here any amount of time, we’ve had plenty of experience scrambling to protect our homes from an impending storm with shutters throughout the years. But now we have other resources available when it comes to that protection: hurricane impact doors and windows.

Building Codes Have Changed

Florida Building Codes now require ample hurricane protection on all openings for structures within one mile of our coasts. Because of this, hurricane impact windows and doors in Florida have become popular for these structures. But you don’t have to live that close to the coast to understand their value.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Impact Windows

If you choose to install hurricane windows and doors in your Florida home, hurricane shutters are a thing of the past.

Made With Layered and Laminated Glass

Similar to the glass in your car’s windshield, impact windows are made to withstand an impact. Even though they look like regular glass windows, they are made with specialty layered and laminated glass that is designed to resist hurricane-force winds up to 200 miles per hour and water intrusion. If your home is hit by any type of wind, water or flying debris, these windows stay intact and will not break into pieces.

Because of their resistance to breakage, Florida hurricane windows and doors have the added benefit of being nearly impervious to home invaders which can add tremendous security for your home. With impact-resistant doors and windows, your home is no longer vulnerable to burglars who look for easy access.

Impact windows and doors also offer the added advantage of getting wind mitigation discounts on your homeowner’s insurance. They also offer savings when it comes to energy expenditure, often reducing electric bills substantially.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Hurricane Shutters

The hurricane shutter has been a Florida old staple for decades. When installed over glass windows, they can be effective. But shutters have many drawbacks.

Panel hurricane shutters are awkward, heavy and unwieldy, requiring at least two people to install them and remove them each time you need to prepare for a storm. Accordion shutters and roll-down shutters are far easier to maneuver but still require someone to be at the home to put them into place.

Another unfortunate problem with hurricane panels and accordion and roll-down shutters is that they let no light into the home unless you have the transparent variety. You will also have difficulty entering or exiting your home with shutters at your doorways.

Cost of Shutters Vs. Impact Windows and Doors

Although the cost of installation of Florida hurricane doors and windows will exceed the cost of traditional hurricane shutters, their return on investment needs to be considered.

Impact windows offer one of the highest returns on investment of any home improvement, with homeowners seeing between 80 and 86 percent of their original price reflected in their selling price when they list. This is not inconsequential.

If you have any questions about the installation of hurricane doors and windows in Florida, contact the window professionals at R&B Remodeling. We have over 20 years of experience in South Florida and would be happy to give you a free installation quote.

How Impact Windows and Doors in Florida Spell Bad News for Burglars

As a Florida resident, you probably know about hurricane impact doors and windows and their resistance to our seasonal storms. But what you may not know is that they can also keep your home more secure. Let’s take a look.

The Anatomy of a Burglary

Every 15 seconds, a home is burglarized. With most burglaries being crimes of opportunity, the average intruder will only spend between 8 to 12 min inside the home. Most stolen items are small enough to pick up and easily remove.

Consequently, windows and doors represent a path of least resistance to most intruders with 23 percent of burglars gaining access through a main floor window and another 22 percent through a back door.

Here in Florida, we have the added disadvantage of having most of our points of entry on an easy-to-reach first floor, often with large sliding glass doors in the back of the home. It takes only a few seconds to break out a regular window or glass door with something as simple as a hammer or a baseball bat. Not so with impact windows and doors.

Why Hurricane Windows in Florida?

Hurricane impact doors and windows have been developed and designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and impact from debris at high speeds. What impact doors and windows do, instead of breaking out into pieces like regular glass, is to keep intact similar to a car’s windshield.

What Makes Florida Hurricane Resistant Windows and Doors Different?

Impact windows are manufactured with layers of glass separated by a strong piece of plastic interlayer. This layer holds the panes of glass together after an impact and prevents the glass from breaking out into pieces. Although an impact window or door in Florida may break given enough force, they will not break through. This prevents a burglar from stepping into the home through an opening.

Rigorous Testing

Hurricane resistant doors and windows in Florida must pass rigorous testing. Performed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), these tests will subject glass to conditions that resemble a category 5 storm.  They include a

  • Large missile impact test where they must sustain against a projectile at 80 feet per second (50 mph)
  • Small missile impact test where they must sustain against 10 small projectiles at 80 feet per second (50 mph)
  • Wind pressure test where they must sustain wind pressure up to 200 miles per hour

Burglars Don’t Stand a Chance

Given these levels of testing, the impact from a burglar typically doesn’t stand a chance. Although hurricane-resistant glass is not completely intruder-proof, breaking through it poses a significant amount of effort, usually much more than an opportunistic intruder wants to put forth. Any burglary attempt will typically be abandoned.

Let hurricane windows and doors in your Florida home be an added defense for your home’s security. At R&B Remodeling, we are here to help.For more information on the many attributes of hurricane-resistant doors and windows, contact us to speak with one of our professional representatives.

Can Your Windows Sustain a Category 5 Hurricane? Ours Can!

Here in Florida, our windows serve many duties. Not only do they allow sunlight and air into our homes and keep heat and humidity outside, but they must also sustain the storm systems that we see on an ongoing basis. Consequently, come hurricane season, most Florida residents are well-versed in the protection of their windows and doors and often scurry to make hurricane protection accommodations as a storm system barrels in.

Our Preparations Weren’t Enough in 1992

Our biggest turning point came with Hurricane Andrew in 1992 which left us with an unfortunate example of the huge holes in our preparedness against large storms. Since then, the Florida Building Code has made many changes, one of which is the requirement of impact-resistant windows and doors for structures located within one mile of the coastline. But even for structures that are located more inland, many owners are now opting for the strength and ease of Florida hurricane resistant doors and windows.

Strict Criteria Has Been Enacted

Due to what we learned during Hurricane Andrew, Miami-Dade County now has the strictest criteria in the country for impact-resistant products. For any hurricane windows to be approved under these guidelines, their glass is rigorously tested in two different types of tests: a Missile Test and a Cyclical Test.

  • The Missile Test — hurricane windows and doors must resist impact from a 9 pound, 2X4 wood plank at 50 mph
  • A small missile test is also conducted to ensure resistance from 10 steel balls simultaneously, 3 separate times at speeds of 50 mph
  • Cyclical Test — hurricane windows and doors in Florida must resist wind pressure of up to 200 miles per hour in a pressure simulator that flexes the glass pane for over 4,500 cycles.

When these windows and doors are installed, property owners can have peace of mind knowing that they will provide exceptional safety from most hurricane conditions. Although not all areas of Florida require impact-resistant windows, more homeowners are coming to rely on them as a stress-free way to navigate hurricane season knowing that their home is protected.

Standard Windows Vs. Hurricane Windows in Florida

The key difference between the standard windows and impact-resistant windows are the glass they use. Standard windows are made of float glass which provides a smooth and distortion-free clear view. Unfortunately, float glass is highly breakable.

Impact glass is a laminate glass made of two or more panes of glass bonded together by a plastic membrane that is sandwiched between them. If the glass becomes broken, this membrane keeps the pieces adhered together and intact. Consequently, a break to impact glass will not expose the structure to the water and debris that come with a hurricane occurrence. This laminated glass is further reinforced with heavy frames to hold it all securely in place.

More Information

Florida hurricane doors and windows lend strength and security to your home against our tropical weather systems without losing the clarity and beauty of the window itself. For more information on how impact windows and doors can protect you and your family this hurricane season, contact us at R&B Remodeling to speak with one of our window professionals.

5 Important Reasons to Install Hurricane Windows in Your Florida Home Before the Next Hurricane Strikes

Okay, we know. We’re already knee-deep into our 2020 hurricane season. Which is all the more reason to look seriously at installing hurricane windows and doors in your home. In case you need some additional reasons, here are five more.

  1. You live in a hurricane-prone area.

Here in Florida, hurricanes are a way of life. From the first of June to the end of November, we are on high alert for tropical activity that could be headed our way. Most of us know how cumbersome and labor-intensive putting up heavy hurricane shutters can be. And yet, so many of us do it year after year. Unless we are fortunate enough to have transparent shutters, we also live in the dungeon of hurricane shutter doom and gloom for the time that they are up. Hurricane windows makes all of this a non-issue.

  1. Your home will be much more secure.

When you think hurricane windows in Florida, you may not be thinking about home security, but it’s something you may want to consider. Burglars find windows and glass doors a path of least resistance when they want to get in and out of a home quickly. Impact-resistant doors and windows not only keep out hurricane-force winds and flying debris but they will also keep out the guy with the baseball bat that is considering breaking into your home.

  1. You get added insurance savings.

Who doesn’t like savings on their homeowner’s premiums? And with Florida hurricane windows and doors, you get added wind mitigation benefits that can reduce premiums substantially. In fact, there are several things that can help you qualify for wind mitigation discounts in addition to hurricane doors and windows:

  • The year your home was built.
  • What type of roofing material you have.
  • What type of roof decking your home has.
  • How the roof is attached to the walls.
  • The shape of your roof.
  • Whether you have water-resistant materials between your roof shingles and your decking.
  1. You will save on your energy costs.

Hurricane windows and doors in Florida provide an added layer of insulation that regular glass simply doesn’t have. Most impact doors and windows are also designed with glass that is heat-treated. Because they reflect the heat outdoors, they help to regulate the indoor temperature and keep monthly energy costs down.

  1. Impact-resistant doors and windows offer peace of mind.

Knowing that a major hurricane is headed your way can be stressful. When you have impact-resistant doors and windows installed in your Florida home, that is one preparation you can cross off your list. Go ahead, buy your bottled water and flashlight batteries. But when you have hurricane windows installed in your home, you know that it and your family are protected. And that offers some incredible peace of mind.

As you can see, there are multiple reasons to consider installing hurricane doors and windows in your Florida home. And we have even more! For more information on how impact windows and doors can protect your home this hurricane season, contact us at R&B Remodeling to speak with one of our window professionals.