Jem Commercial Glass

License Number: SCC131152391

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Impact Windows vs. Hurricane Windows: Choosing the Right Protection for Your Home

Hurricane window Tampa

When it comes to protecting your home from severe weather, particularly in hurricane-prone areas like Florida, windows are on the front lines. Most homeowners don’t know the difference between impact windows and hurricane windows until it comes time to buy. But what sets them apart, and what’s the best way to decide which is best for your property?

What are Impact Windows?

Impact windows, also known as impact-resistant windows, can withstand impacts from debris and severe weather conditions. They feature a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) between two layers of glass. This construction not only makes them resistant to breakage but also provides excellent insulation from sound and temperature changes. Impact windows can withstand being hit with flying debris, whereas hurricane windows are built for wind resistance, not debris.

Pros of Impact Windows

  1. Debris Resistance: They can withstand hits from flying debris during storms.
  2. Security: The strong design helps prevent break-ins.
  3. UV Protection: They block harmful UV rays, protecting interior furnishings.
  4. Energy Efficiency: Provides insulation, reducing energy costs.
  5. Noise Reduction: Ideal for homes in noisy neighborhoods or near airports.

Cons of Impact Windows

  1. Cost: They are generally more expensive than standard windows.
  2. Limited Styles: Fewer design options compared to non-impact windows.

What are Hurricane Windows?

Hurricane windows are often used interchangeably with impact windows but mainly refer to any window built to resist hurricane conditions. This can include both impact-resistant models and other designs that use additional reinforcements or shutters. Not all hurricane windows are impact-proof. You can count on hurricane windows to withstand high-speed winds, but will need to ask your supplier whether they are impact-resistant or not.

Pros of Hurricane Windows

  1. Storm Protection: They meet stringent codes for wind and impact resistance.
  2. Versatility: Available in various styles, including those that need shutters for full protection.
  3. Insurance Benefits: Installing these can lower insurance premiums.

Cons of Hurricane Windows

  1. Higher Initial Investment: Cost more upfront than regular windows due to the enhanced features.
  2. Maintenance: Some types, especially those with shutters, require more upkeep.
  3. Aesthetic Limitations: Protective features might affect the visual appeal.

Key Differences

The main difference lies in the specific design and features aimed at storm protection. While all hurricane windows can handle strong winds, not all are impact-resistant like the specialized impact windows designed to resist direct blows from debris. Impact windows offer constant protection without the need for any additional setup, such as installing shutters.

Pros and Cons Summarized

Impact Windows

  • Offer permanent, passive protection.
  • Cost more but provide significant energy and security benefits.

Hurricane Windows

  • Include a range of options, some of which may need manual preparation before storms.
  • Typically require a higher initial investment and maintenance but are effective against severe weather impacts.
  • Not guaranteed to withstand flying debris.

Making the Right Window Choice

If you live in an area where hurricanes are frequent and you seek ease of use without additional preparations, impact windows might be the better choice. If you are okay with some manual preparation and are looking for a potentially less expensive option that still meets safety codes, hurricane windows could be suitable.

Consider also the aesthetic you prefer, the budget you have, and the level of upkeep you are ready to commit to. Each option offers substantial protection, so your decision might lean more on convenience and cost than on effectiveness.

About JEM Glass & Glazing

At JEM Glass & Glazing, we specialize in providing top-quality glass solutions that meet the needs of Florida homeowners. From impact windows to customized glazing options, we offer products designed to enhance your home’s safety, efficiency, and aesthetics. Explore our range of services and let us help you select the perfect windows for your home. Protect your space with confidence and style!

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