Shun The Shutters: Why You Should Protect Your Home With Hurricane-Resistant Windows

July 26, 2013

It’s that time of year again. Hurricane season is in full swing, and while few the tropics have been relatively quiet so far, there’s plenty of time left for storms to build and head our way.

Hurricanes have caused massive devastation in different coastal areas of the United States in the past decade, so we all know how devastating they can be. (If you need a refresher, just Google “Hurricane Sandy” or “Hurricane Katrina.”) That’s why it’s important to think of how you’re protecting your home from any fierce tropical elements that might blow through our area in the coming months.

There are many methods we can use to protect our homes from hurricane-force winds, driving rain, cresting storm surge and flying debris. Hurricane shutters and hurricane-resistant windows are among the most popular. But which of these should you choose for your home?

Here’s a few reasons why it might be advantageous to invest in hurricane-resistant windows instead of shutters.

Hurricane-Resistant Windows Provide Protection Without Blocking Natural Light

Since hurricane shutters are made of steel, many people living in coastal areas turn to them to protect their homes from hurricanes. In reality, hurricane-resistant windows block the elements just as effectively. Models such as Andersen® Stormwatch® windows are Large-Missile Resistant, which means that they can protect your home from a 2 x 4 piece of lumber projectile flying at 35 miles an hour. Check out this video to see more:

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Since hurricane-proof windows can resist strong winds and flying debris about as effectively as steel shutters or plywood boards, there’s really no advantage to having shutters up during a storm. In fact, those shutters can be a disadvantage in certain situations.

When a storm blows in, it usually knocks out the power to your home, sometimes for days. With plywood boards or steel shutters blocking out the natural light that would normally enter your home through the windows, you could feel like you’re trapped in a dungeon when the storm is blowing through. If your mood is affected by exposure to light, this could be a major problem.

andersen stormwatch

Hurricane-resistant windows protect your home from the elements while allowing natural light into your home.

On the other hand, hurricane-resistant windows will still let natural light into your home. The difference between hurricane-resistant windows and hurricane shutters might not be noticeable in the midst of the storm, but it could be once the worst of the elements have blown through your area.

Hurricane-resistant windows protect better against wind pressure

Hurricanes are known for their fierce winds, and those winds can cause destruction for anything in their path. While hurricane shutters resist direct impact from winds quite well, wind pressure can actually get underneath them and push your windows and doors off of their frames.


Wind pressure from hurricanes can cause major damage to homes. (Image courtesy: kakela/flickr)

If this happens, the same wind pressure can actually make it into your home and cause major damage. Interior walls are not designed to repel 100 mile an hour winds, and they can easily collapse under the pressure those winds bring. If wind pressure rises with enough force, your roof can suffer major damage as well. By that point, your home won’t be protected against the elements at all.

Since hurricane-resistant windows aren’t add-ons to the outside of a home, it’s much more difficult for wind pressure to get underneath them and into your home. It’s also incredibly difficult for these winds to shatter the glass with a direct hit.

Hurricane-resistant windows provide yearlong protection

Hurricane shutters and plywood boards are affordable, and they provide strong protection to the weakest parts of your home’s exterior — the window. But you need to put them up before the storm and take them down afterwards (unless you like living in the dark).

hurricane shutters

Hurricane shutters are effective, but they must be installed and removed. (Image Courtesy: Katy Warner/flickr)

Hurricane-resistant windows are more expensive to install, but they don’t require as much work to build up and tear down. During a busy hurricane season, they can actually be more cost-efficient without being as labor-intensive.

Imagine if three tropical storms or hurricanes passed through your area in one season, with about six weeks passing between each storm. It would be much easier to have hurricane-resistant windows in place for the entire season than it would be to install and remove shutters and plywood three separate times.

Even when hurricane season has passed, hurricane-resistant windows have their advantages. These windows can protect your home against straight-line winds and severe thunderstorms that might pass through your area in other seasons.

Some Final Thoughts

Ultimately, hurricane-resistant windows are more durable and stylish than hurricane shutters. That’s why you should choose these windows to protect your home from whatever tropical fury might pass through your area.

Best Investments Siding and Windows provides several hurricane-resistant windows, including Andersen® Windows with Stormwatch® protection. Call us at (281) 852-1866 for a free window estimate.