Hurricane Resistant Windows: Cost and Advantages

Do You Need a Storm Window?

Hurricane-resistant windows
Hurricane-resistant windows. Hohenhaus/Getty Images

 

Hurricane-Resistant Windows

Hurricane-resistant windows or storm-proof windows are composed of impact resistant glass, containing a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between two slabs of glass. The most effective type of impact-resistant window is the inner-membrane window. An impact-resistant glass will probably shatter on impact but it will remain attached to the inner membrane along with the window frame.

There is always the alternative of using a shatter-resistant film that covers window glass, that will prevent glass from shattering.

Hurricane Windows Cost

Hurricane-resistant windows can increase your overall construction cost. However, at the same time, they will offer great protection during storm season and can be very useful to protect property and may be the reason on how you can get a reduced prime in your insurance cost. A good hurricane window cost will be between $40 and $55 a square-foot, and this will include the frame and the hurricane-proof glass. Some studies have shown that by installing hurricane windows, the construction cost will be increased only by a few thousand dollars on a new home. As an average, a hurricane impact door size 60" x 80" can cost about $1,900 while a sliding window 72" X 80" is around $1950. A single hung window cost is between $500 and $600, material only.

Hurricane-Resistant Windows Material Guideline

The main options to consider as hurricane resistant windows are aluminum, vinyl, and wood. Aluminum could probably be the strongest of the three, providing excellent results when hurricane conditions are present. Their main drawback is that they will need to be painted with time.

Vinyl hurricane proof windows are a great cost-effective solution, offering great insulation benefits, although the industry is not sure yet on how to recycle these. Lastly, wood can offer great energy performance but their cost of maintenance is the highest among these three options, not to say that they will be susceptible to warping with time.

Glass Types of Hurricane Resistant Windows

The four major impact resistant glass types are identified by the laminate procedure or the window interlayer procedure. The PVB, Polyvinyl Butyral, is the most widely used product in the impact glass market since it does great when impacted and absorbs the impact. The PVB with a layer of PET, is a very tough product but its manufacturing process is quite challenging making it a less economically viable product. The Sentry Glass Plus is more expensive than PVB, normally used in some federal construction or specialized areas requiring bullet and bomb resistance glass. Finally, the resin laminates where a liquid is poured between two glass layers and allowed to cure. 

Hurricane Resistant Windows Advantages

Hurricane-resistant windows are being manufactured with a polyvinyl membrane in the middle layer capable of withstanding storm winds up to 200 miles per hour.

These windows could also provide energy efficiency to your structure, including minimum sound disturbance and UV protection.

Some of the greater benefits of impact resistant windows are:

  • Come in different styles and sizes
  • Provide permanent protection against tornados, storms, and hurricane at any time
  • Its high strength prevents the glass from breaking up into large sharp pieces
  • When glass cracks will create a ‘spider-like’ cracking pattern
  • A much higher sound insulation rating due to its damping effect
  • Blocks 99% of transmitted UV light
  • Some insurance companies could offer up to 45% premium discounts

Hurricane Resistant Windows Disadvantages

Impact resistant windows could also be costly and sometimes too pricey. Adding an average of $55 per square foot, impact resistant windows could add a couple of thousands more to your construction project, but will eventually reduce your insurance costs.

Shatter resistant film could be used as an alternative, but it less effective and could possibly fail under extreme wind conditions. Much of the noise reduction properties of laminated glass come from the air space between two panes of the laminate, not from the vinyl layer itself. If the windows are installed without the benefit of these air spaces, then the noise reduction properties are greatly reduced.

Storm Windows Technical Data

A laminated glass is used when the glass could be shattered and they are designed with a heavy duty aluminum frame. Manufacturers offer a wide variety of colors, being the blue the most expensive of them all. The Energy Conservation Code requires that impact resistant windows must comply with maximum U-factor of 0.75 or less and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) between 0.30 or less. Impact resistant windows have advanced to the point where they are thoroughly tested to withstand Category 5 wind conditions following The American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) guidelines ( E1886 and E1996). In all states, contractors should always check with local authorities to see if and how the provisions apply in their jurisdiction.