Severe storms are more than dangerous – they’re downright scary. It costs a lot to repair the damage caused by a severe storm. However, the safety of your family is invaluable.
In most instances, homeowners are fortunate enough not to live in the path of a hurricane. However, when they do, strong winds can rip off roofing and hurl debris.
That flying debris can prove more than damaging – it can prove deadly. You can, however, protect your home and your family with hurricane windows. If you’ve been considering them, you may wonder how much hurricane windows cost.
To learn everything there is to know about hurricane windows and how much they cost, read on.
The Facts About Dangerous Storms
Coastline properties are particularly vulnerable to hurricanes. When the wind, air pressure and water levels are just right, these areas are especially susceptible to storm surges.
A storm surge can force a large amount of water onto land. High winds can cause a surge ahead of the hurricane. As the hurricane’s winds whip, it can act as a plough that pushes water onto land, producing a double whammy of danger – wind and water.
The speed of a hurricane can vary wildly. A fast-moving storm can create a higher surge. Meanwhile, a slow-moving storm can push a larger volume of water.
Most properties that are at high risk of hurricane damage face an enhanced threat, whether a storm is moving fast or slow. These homes are usually closest to the coastline and lowest in elevation. However, the strongest hurricanes – Category 5 – can cause damage to low-risk inland homes as well.
Hurricanes and Storms Are Unpredictable
Several factors contribute to the wind damage caused by a hurricane. These factors may include the diameter of the storm, the momentum of the storm and the radius to maximum wind speed.
Despite the unpredictability of hurricanes, residents in areas where these events take place frequently remain wary. For instance, hurricanes are somewhat less of a threat along coastal Miami.
This circumstance exists because the area has the benefit of protection provided by the geography just off the coast. A coastal location doesn’t automatically correlate with increasing hurricane risk. Unfortunately, however, this wasn’t the case in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
Along the Gulf and Atlantic Coast, there are over 7 million homes situated in high-risk hurricane areas. Analysts forecast that a typical hurricane season can result in nearly $2 trillion in cumulative damage among these properties.
If you have a home in an area that experiences high-risk hurricanes, it’s a wise decision to retrofit your home with storm-resistant features.
Hurricanes Can Place You and Your Family in Danger
Hurricanes are among the most destructive and costly forces in nature. They bring forth strong winds and flooding that can ruin homes and businesses.
Hurricanes consist of three elements, precipitation, a storm surge and wind. Usually, it’s the wind that does the most damage. However, this isn’t always the case.
A storm surge can create damage that’s far more devastating than wind. Typically, a storm surge will produce severe flooding.
There’s not much that you can do about a storm surge. However, you can protect your home and your family from all but the worst hurricane winds.
A hurricane can cost billions of dollars in damage. The effect on homeowners and insurers can prove devastating.
This fact highlights the importance of understanding and mitigating the risk you face if a hurricane occurs. If you haven’t done it already, you should find out the potential of a hurricane occurring in your area. By understanding the level of risk that you face, you can plan should the unthinkable happen.
Whether you live in a densely populated urban area or sparsely populated rural area, a hurricane can cause catastrophic damage. Furthermore, living in a high-risk area doesn’t make your home more or less susceptible to hurricane damage. Ultimately, it is the unpredictable path of a hurricane that makes it dangerous.
The worst part about hurricanes is their unpredictability. The risk of hurricane damage is not uniform along the coast.
Furthermore, it’s difficult to predict where a hurricane will strike again based on historical events. Resultantly, homeowners must use a general rule of thumb based on how close their home is to the coastline.
Protecting Your Home From the Unthinkable
Usually, hurricane season means covering windows with plywood for homeowners who don’t have high impact windows for hurricanes. However, impact resistant windows are a better option. Hurricane windows can protect your home and your family from high winds and debris, especially if you live in a hurricane zone such as southern Florida or the Keys.
Even a lesser storm with wind speeds of under 75 mph can cause serious damage. It can tear roof tiles off of your home and send dangerous debris flying through the air.
Authentic hurricane windows cost more than a standard installation. The cost of impact windows may make you wonder if it’s worth it to install them.
Manufacturers call hurricane windows impact windows, impact-resistant windows and high-impact storm windows. They design and test them to withstand speeds of over 110 mph.
In 2001, Hurricane Gabriel caused over $200 million in damage. Since then, Florida lawmakers have required that homebuilders construct all new homes with impact resistant windows.
Impact-resistant windows feature tempered glass like those used for motor vehicles. They’re composed of two layers. A polymer chemical holds the two layers together.
If something hits an impact-resistant window, it will shatter like a spider web. This feature makes them much safer than standard non-tempered glass windows.
Non-tempered glass windows can break into dangerous shards. Force and wind can send them flying into your living space, causing property damage and injuring the occupants.
Hurricane windows can protect you from getting cut by broken glass. They can also help keep the elements outside during the storm, even after they have shattered.
Hurricane Windows Cost
An authentic hurricane storm window is expensive. The cost of storm windows can vary by as much as $40 to $55 for each square foot.
However, they’re a good investment in areas that face a high risk of hurricanes. They’re also ideal anywhere that typically experiences high winds.
Since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, there’s been an increased demand for hurricane-resistant windows. Hurricane Andrew caused around $25 billion in damage.
Hurricane window retrofits are expensive. However, the cost of hurricane windows is much easier to bear during new construction. Hurricane windows only increase new construction costs by a few thousand dollars.
A typical 60-inch x 80-inch hurricane impact door can cost around $2,000. A 72-inch x 80-inch sliding hurricane impact window costs about the same. Comparatively, the average double-hung window costs from $500 to $600.
Despite the added expense of impact window pricing, the benefits outweigh the costs of hurricane windows. Manufacturers design hurricane windows to break safely and enable home occupants to survive extremely strong winds.
Hurricane windows also provide sound insulation. Because of their thickness, they’re highly effective in shielding your home from external noises.
Additionally, they protect your home’s interior by blocking ultraviolet rays. They can block up to 99% of UV light transmitted by the sun. When you install hurricane windows, some insurance companies may give you a discount on your premium.
Although hurricane windows aren’t break-proof, they’re a huge advantage over dodging flying shards of glass. A hurricane window can typically withstand 200 mph winds. They’re also available in a range of sizes and styles to match any home décor.
What’s the Difference Between Regular Windows and Storm Windows?
Manufacturers typically use polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) when making hurricane windows. They’ll use one of these compounds to bind panes of tempered glass together.
This construction doesn’t make windows shatterproof. However, a window will remain attached to this synthetic membrane and the window frame after an impact.
You can purchase and EVA or PVB membrane to install on the outside of the standard window. These aftermarket coatings can improve shatter resistance. However, this add-on coating is not as secure is an authentic hurricane window.
As with standard windows, you can purchase hurricane windows made using aluminum, steel wood or vinyl. Aluminum and steel frame hurricane windows are the strongest. However, they’re also the most expensive.
A vinyl frame hurricane window is a more cost-effective solution. They also provide good insulation.
However, they do not recycle well. It’s difficult for contractors to dispose of vinyl windows in a way that doesn’t harm the environment.
Wood-framed hurricane windows are an environmentally friendly alternative. However, they require considerable upkeep.
You must paint wood-framed windows regularly. Among the various types of framing materials, wood frames are the costliest to maintain.
They’re also the least durable. Over time, precipitation and climate change can cause wood-framed windows to warp.
You can also purchase various types of glazing for hurricane windows. In addition to an EVA or PVB membrane, you can choose one made of:
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
- SentryGlas Plus (SGP)
- Liquid glass resin
- Glass/ plastic hybrid
Hurricane windows are also available with a range of membrane thicknesses that vary between .015 and .90 inches. The thicker the membrane, the more a storm window will cost to buy.
Choosing a Contractor for Hurricane Windows
Hurricane windows are an excellent investment that protects your family and your home. However, they’re only as good as the contractor who installed them.
Hiring the right contractor is the most important part of any home improvement project. If you choose the wrong one, you could face a range of problems. Those problems could include anything from an incomplete job to facing a lawsuit because of an unreliable contractor.
Accordingly, it’s important to do research and gather information about a potential contractor. You can begin by checking the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website.
The BBB website provides information about complaints and praises for various local contractors. There, you can review information about potential contractors free of charge.
Begin by checking to see if a potential contractor is a BBB Accredited Business. Businesses must meet several criteria to remain an accredited BBB business. For instance, they must:
- Act ethically
- Advertise honestly
- Comply with BBB standards
- Honor commitments
- Practice transparency
- Protect customer privacy
- Remain truthful
- Respond to customers
You can also research a contractor by doing an online search. Navigate to a search engine and enter a company’s or contractor’s name followed by terms such as complete, review, rip off and scam.
Hopefully, you won’t find any results. If you do, however, that’s not a good sign.
Also, talk to your friends and neighbors to find out about various local contractors. Ideally, find people who’ve had windows installed. These individuals can tell you what it’s like to work with a particular local contractor.
Getting Closer to a Good Fit
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, you can start interviewing prospective window installers. Ask for quotes from multiple contractors.
At a minimum, ask for quotes from two to three contractors. However, you can ask for more quotes if you have time. It’s not unusual to field quotes from up to a dozen or more contractors.
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