Living where we do can be such a joy. You get to comb the beach every day, enjoy mostly sunny, warm weather year-round and not have to deal with a lot of the colder, more depressing months our friends in the north do. But to every benefit, there is a downside and unfortunately ours – as we’ve found out this year – is hurricane season. We need durable, protected windows to give our houses the best chance possible to withstand the pounding, but sometimes that can feel like an ‘easier said than done’ kind of thing. Especially if you’re new to all of this!
And truth be told – impact windows are one of the most important lines of defense in a high-wind event. According to the International Hurricane Protection Association, once the wind gets into your home during a Hurricane – the roof and most of a home’s structure is unlikely to survive. The pressure simply adds up in the home and it’s too much for it to take – sometimes in a matter of minutes.
So why get them? How to figure out which ones work for you? That’s why we’re here today.
Why they’re important
It’s not so much THAT wind shatters windows – it’s that it picks things up and throws them through windows. Beyond the broken glass and damaged property, weak, non-impact windows can also provide a whole swath of other problems for home owners like increased noise, higher property insurance premiums, lower resale value (especially down here), less protection from intruders and the like.
So taking all of it into consideration, impact windows shouldn’t be seen as an expense but rather an investment in your overall safety.
What will work for you?
We’ll just come right out and say it, basically – aluminum is your best option almost no matter what. And yes – we’re 1,000% biased, but that’s why we’re in this business. Aluminum windows are stronger, they’re more weather resistant, they’re lighter weight and they require the least maintenance.
Even on the non-important, more ‘nice to have, not necessary’ side of things, they still come out ahead. They’re aesthetically pleasing and can be painted and adjusted to meet any size, model and layout of a home. They’re recyclable, too –which we’re sure isn’t top of mind with these things, but it’s nice to know that a product you’re using isn’t harmful to the world around you.
There are other kinds of windows out there – particularly Vinyl and Wood. Wood’s probably best avoided even though it’s recyclable and an outstanding insulator. The problem with it is it’s super high-maintenance largely because it warps and rots. You get a lot of wet weather where we’re at here in Florida, so those windows tend to take a real pounding quickly.
Vinyl is an excellent insulator as well and all in all has high energy performance and won’t put a pounding on your bank account. All that is good. The downside is they’re not as sturdy and they’re most definitely not recyclable yet.
So vinyl is an option, wood is probably best avoided even though it’s got some swell ancillary benefits while aluminum really doesn’t come with much downside aside from cost – in specific situations. The question you always need to ask yourself though – is whether the nominal added investment into your house is worth the cost of replacing, well…. your entire house.
So all that being said…
Regardless of what you’re building – especially if you’re living in our area – windows are a key element of every construction project and you need to take a lot into consideration. Just be smart, do your homework, compare brands – and if you need some free advice, we’re always here to come take a look, get you pricing and lay out your options in full. Good luck!