For both snowbirds and lifelong natives, hurricane season is a fact of life in Florida. Preparing your home and property is almost a rite of passage for all those who call the Sunshine State home. Even inland cities like Weston, Plantation, Pembroke Pines, and Miramar need to make sure they’re ready if a storm comes their way.
As we enter hurricane season once again, it’s important to revisit your most vulnerable asset: windows. From plywood to impact resistant windows, there are a variety of options when it comes to protecting your windows from strong winds and debris. And there’s more than just broken glass on the line.
Windows that break during hurricanes allow the wind to rush through your home. This can compromise the entire structure. Houses with open or broken windows have a greater risk of having the roof torn off!
Consider Impact Resistant Windows
The best option for hurricane preparedness is impact resistant windows, otherwise known as high-impact windows. These sturdy panes of glass are actually two sheets of glass separated by a layer of vinyl. Like car windshields, impact resistant windows are made to take a beating without shattering. If they do take a direct hit from an object at high speeds, the glass will crack but the vinyl layer will keep the window intact, keeping wind and rain out.
This option also means you don’t have to put up shutters or plywood when a storm is around the corner, you can continue to let natural light in throughout hurricane season, and you don’t have anything blocking your exit if there is a fire.
At M&A Windows, we use WindGaurd Impact windows that offer more than just hurricane protection. These windows block harmful UV rays that can fade furniture. They also reduce outside noise.
After Impact Resistant Windows, Shutters Are the Next Best Thing
If a hurricane is around the corner and you haven’t had time to consider or install impact resistant windows, aluminum or accordion shutters are the next best thing. They will keep debris from coming into your home and can take a lot of abuse without losing integrity.
However, this robust option comes with a few drawbacks. They keep light out when they are installed. If you have accordion shutters, you’ll have an unsightly box above your windows all throughout the year. If you choose the manual option, you have to store them in the offseason and put them up with a storm just around the corner. They can also be expensive, especially if your home has large picture windows.
Plywood is a cheap option and can get the job done in most circumstances. However, they carry the same drawbacks as aluminum shutters without the durability. They need to be stored throughout the year, they keep out light, and extremely high impacts may cause them to break or bend in towards the windows.
Don’t Tape Windows
There is a common myth that says taping your windows during a hurricane can prevent shattering but this isn’t true at all. A taped window can still break and, instead of breaking into tiny pieces, the tape can cause the glass to break into larger, more dangerous shards.
Clear Potential Projectiles
Florida yards are often a treasure trove of objects that can potentially be thrown by a hurricane. Anything from coconuts to propane tanks can be lifted by hurricane-force winds and flung towards windows. Bring lawn furniture indoors, clear away branches and loose foliage, and trim trees. A clear yard means fewer objects that can potentially cause damage to your home or your neighbor’s home.
Get Help Around the Neighborhood
Sometimes a tropical depression can turn into more powerful hurricane quickly and that’s when everyone scrambles to prepare with just a few days before landfall. For those instances, it’s helpful to have a group of people to help prepare. Trimming trees, putting up shutters, and moving in lawn furniture all goes a lot faster with help.
Ask your neighbors to form a group that will be ready with a plan to help each other prepare when a storm is on the horizon. This will also encourage your neighbors to allow you to help them clear their yards of debris that could potentially damage your property.