When the path of a hurricane becomes a potential threat to South Florida, residents look for ways to protect all aspects of their homes, with windows being one of the top priorities. Ensuring your home’s windows are hurricane proof is necessary to preserve the value of your property and the safety of your family during a storm.

Generally, there are two different approaches that can be taken when shielding windows from the wrath of a storm. Either safeguarding a standard window with storm panels or shutters, or by having impact windows installed that are shatter-resistant.

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Cost, time and convenience
Some people may choose to just put shutters up in lieu of installing new windows because cost is a main concern. The costs of shutters and impact windows can vary based on different factors, such as the specific contractor, size of the window and features. The estimate for an impact-resistant laminated window from Miami-based company Astor Windows & Doors is $572 per window, whereas storm panels from Hurricane Depot vary from $4.95 to $9.95 per square foot.

Homeowners in Miami and throughout South Florida are often better off installing impact windows because of the investment that they offer in the long run. Aside from the apparent reason of conveniently not having to put up shutters every single time a storm approaches, which can be several times in one season, impact windows can potentially offer:

  • Protection against intruders
  • Noise reduction
  • Energy efficiency
  • UV protection, which is vital in South Florida
  • Insurance premium discounts
  • An energy tax credit

Using shutters may not be ideal
Many homeowners do not realize that wind pressure, especially in high category hurricanes, isn’t always completely shielded by hurricane shutters and can devastate the home’s structure. This can result in damage to vital parts of the property, including the roof. This is just one more reason why impact windows add to the value of your home and protect your overall investment.

There are also safety considerations to keep in mind. “We have found that installing shutters prior to a storm is cumbersome and at times dangerous, especially if attempting to be installed just prior to the storm. The average homeowner typically does not have the time, tools, equipment or experience to install these panels efficiently, if at all,” says Ed Cannatelli of Cannatelli Builders, Inc. “The other factor to consider is shutters block natural light during a storm, adding further complications with artificial light.”

Older homes, new constructions, and the Florida Building Code
According to the Florida Building Code, it is required that new constructions—with some exceptions—incorporate windows that are durable enough to withstand high-force winds. Since older homes were not required to adhere to these regulations, many property owners have windows in their homes that are not designed to endure the weather conditions associated with hurricanes.

Hurricane season begins June 1 and lasts through November 30. There is no better time than now to begin preparations for protecting your home.

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Information for contractors featured in this article:

Astor Window & Doors
7330 SW 42nd Street
Miami, FL 33155
(305) 328-9138

Hours: Mon – Fri – 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat – 10 a.m. to  2 p.m.; Sun – By appointment only

Hurricane Depot
10456 SW 184 Terrace
Miami, Florida 33157
(305) 251-4283

Hours: By appointment only

Cannatelli Builders, Inc.
2101 NW 33rd Street, Suite 2800 A
Pompano Beach, FL 33069
(954) 977-2775

Hours: Mon – Fri – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Also accepts appointments

Amber Butch is an avid traveler that gets a travel fix at least once a month, and has been to 20 different countries so far. As a South Florida native, she also offers tips and suggestions for some of the best hot spots throughout the area. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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