If you live in the Gulf South, you understand the destructive forces a hurricane can have on your home. Impact resistant windows and hurricane shutters are two of the most common options for protecting your home during storms. Here's what you need to know about impact resistant windows vs. hurricane shutters: their pros, cons, and which option is best for you.
Benefits of impact resistant windows
The glass used for an impact resistant window utilizes a strong laminate interlayer between two pieces of glass to absorb impacts. This type of glass was first manufactured for automobile windshields, and is now a popular type of window to install in the Gulf South. When normal glass is hit by flying projectiles during a storm, it can shatter. With impact resistant glass, the pieces remain attached to an inner membrane along the window frame. Most types of this glass can withstand an impact equal to a 2x4 piece of wood traveling at 50' per second hitting it or the force of winds up to 200 mph.
Impact resistant windows protect your home and the people in it from storm debris, theft, and other damage 365 days a year. Even if you're travelling, these windows safeguard your home.
Further, impact resistant windows can improve your home's energy efficiency and greatly reduce outside noise because of the additional laminate layer and extra pane of glass when compared to non-impact windows. They can also save you money on your insurance premiums.
Drawbacks of impact resistant windows
When considering impact resistant windows vs. hurricane shutters, the biggest difference is cost. Replacing all the windows in your home with impact resistant windows is a major investment. Impact windows can be twice the cost of a normal non-impact window of same type and size. Also, if something does strike the laminated glass on your impact window, the glass will still crack and need to be replaced, even though the window will deny the projectile entry into home.
Benefits of hurricane shutters
Hurricane shutters are installed over a window to protect the glass underneath. They provide a number of benefits for homeowners. First, hurricane shutters are a much more affordable option than installing impact resistant windows.
Hurricane shutters come in varying wind and impact ratings, depending on their size, shape, and more.
Shutters also provide a certain finished look to a home, adding character and a bit of charm. They can be used to bring in color or complement a more dramatic look with dark, elegant tones. Today's shutters are also easier to use. While you have to be home to operate them; Rollgard shutters, for instance, now come with motors so you can open or close them with a flick of a switch. Choose from multiple types of hurricane shutters to find the look and functionality you want.
Like impact resistant windows, impact rated hurricane shutters also can save you money on annual insurance premiums.
Drawbacks of hurricane shutters
When a hurricane shutter is closed and put into position for a storm; visibility will be limited or non-existent through that opening, unlike with an impact rated window you can see through.
For those with a second home, hurricane shutters may not be the best option as you have to be in the home to operate them. Some models also require you to go outside to operate, which can be challenging for those with mobility issues.
Impact resistant windows vs. hurricane shutters: What should I get?
The best form of hurricane protection for your home is hurricane shutters with impact resistant glass underneath. If your area is threatened with severe storms frequently, consider installing these together to achieve the ultimate level of protection from flying debris.
If you can't install both, you have a few options. If budget isn't as much of a concern, and you're planning on being in your home long enough to recoup the investment, impact resistant windows are a great option for protecting your home.
If you have a smaller budget or don't plan to be in your home for more than a few years, hurricane shutters are affordable, look great, and provide a high level of protection during storms.
Of course, if you're trying to decide between impact resistant windows vs. hurricane shutters in the Gulf South, you can always call LAS to learn more about your options. Our team provides FREE estimates for your next home project.