Preparing For Hurricane Season

Do you live in the South? With summer comes the tip of warmer hurricane season, but don't let official titles fool you; when northerners have their blizzard season, the South gets an additional present: hurricanes! If you plan on staying safe--or at the very least, lowering your home insurance costs, consider a few window, door, and general building safety additions to improve hurricane survivability.

Hurricane-Grade Windows

The idea of a window that is more resistant against hurricane debris isn't new, but it's still difficult to figure out which products are useful and which are making useless boasts. 

Many protective windows are sold with the term impact-resistant glass. This type of glass surface is actually two or more glass panes that with layers of polyvinyl butyral (PRB), which is also used in windshields.

The structure of PRB doesn't stop glass from breaking in all situations. Instead, it adds a binding strength that allows the glass to be flexible, giving a bit of last minute strength as the material gives way and continues to bind. It can slow down entering debris, and may stop many smaller objects from entering your home.

Look for demonstrations of impact glass strength with the brand you choose. Tests involve firing long, rectangular boards at high speeds towards a glass installation at different angles. The glass should hold up to impact, and there shouldn't be much in the way of high-speed projectile glass flying from the impact.

Storm Shutters

In addition to protective glass as a last line of defense, you may as well protect the glass itself. Storm shutters are protective layers that can open and close as mobile shields for windows.

Normal shutters don't cut it. A pair of wooden shutters provides a negligible amount of protection, and you'd be better off with a plywood layer nailed to the house. Instead, metal storm shutters can be bought and professionally installed.

Professional installation is key because of the way hurricane winds can rip shutters away. Many well-meaning, but untrained do-it-yourselfers think that hammering in the shutters really hard will make them stick.

However, instead of more protection, you'll just see deep screws or nails ripped out during a storm.

Instead, storm shutters are installed with a series of anchors and binding kits that will keep them inside the wall structure. This can be tricky with homes that have vinyl siding, but mounting plates can be added to give a bit of extra strength.

Contact a window replacement professional to get information on which hurricane protection to install for your building.