How to Prepare Windows for a Hurricane Disaster

Windows are one of the most vulnerable parts of the home envelope when it comes to high speed winds. Both wind gust pressure and debris impact can cause damage. There are very good choices for preparing the home’s windows during hurricane preparation.

Products vying in the marketplace to provide this protection may voluntarily undergo an impact test. A wind speed of at least 110 MPH is considered the minimum standard to meet. The industry-accepted testing standard is the Miami-Dade County hurricane impact test. Following are some methods of protecting the home from natural disasters.

Hurricane Shutters

Exterior shutters are one of the best ways to avoid damage from wind-borne debris. They are manufactured from materials like aluminum, steel, and plywood. Metal ones will be more expensive but they provide more protection.

They also have the advantage of the option of being permanently mounted to the building. When they are, they may be either hand-cranked or motorized, which is the best choice for second story windows.

Security Window Film

This home protection product has several advantages. First, it provides protection from high-speed wind. Secondly, it may double as solar window film which can lower utility bills in the form of heating and cooling expenses. Third, since once it’s installed there’s no need to do anything when the storm comes, there’s one less thing to deal with during hurricane evacuation.

One of the best known films are Armor Glass and Gordon Glass. They manufacture a security window film that is Energy Star rated so it qualifies for a 30% federal energy tax credit. It’s certified for tornadoes, hurricanes, and bomb blasts. They also point out that it protects against “smash and grab” type home invasions.

Needless to say, it’s ideal for homes located around golf courses in gated communities.

Plywood and Hurricane Window Clips

1/2” plywood is the most typical and least expensive form of storm protection. The main drawbacks are that it takes precious time to cut and install and the fact that most homeowners wait until the last minute to buy it, causing long lines at the home improvement store.

The most common clip available along the U.S. Gulf coast is manufactured by Plylox. These are sturdy carbon steel clips designed to be used with 1/2” plywood. They simply slide onto the edge of the wood and spring fit into the window casing. This makes installation much faster than securing with nails or screws.

Whichever method of protection is chosen, the most important thing is to be proactive and prepare before disaster looms. Also remember to stock up on batteries, food, water, and an emergency medical kit.