Don't Risk Your Glass: Protecting Your Home's Windows From Hurricane Damage

Hurricane season brings a threat of severe weather to the entire eastern coast of the United States every year from the beginning of summer until the end of the late fall season. One of the most vulnerable parts of your home in a hurricane is the windows. The high pressure winds and the risk of impact from airborne debris are all very real threats to the glass in your windows. It is important to take steps to protect your windows, but since most of those steps involve covers or other barrier materials, the time to take those steps is before hurricane season starts. Here's a look at some of the choices available to protect your windows.

Plywood Covers

Plywood seems to be the most accessible and affordable option for many homeowners to protect their windows. Before you invest in it, though, check with the local emergency management service to be sure that your area treats plywood as an authorized storm protection material. You'd need very thick layers of plywood for the best protection, and the weight of the pieces would typically call for a few extra helpers to get them installed correctly.

Plywood can be hard to come by as you get close to hurricane season, so you should invest in it early if you plan to use it. Cut it to size for each of your windows well in advance of a hurricane threat so that there's little risk of scrambling at the last minute.

Metal Window Panels

When it comes to more permanent choices, metal storm panels are a popular choice. The panels are typically made from steel or corrugated aluminum for sufficient strength to stand up to debris and high winds. In most cases, they are mounted on permanent tracks, but you can also bolt them in place if you prefer.

Plastic Protective Panels

Plastic storm panels are typically created from a polycarbonate material. They are formed into panels that are installed in the same manner as metal panels. You can opt for a permanent track on the window, or you can bolt them in place as you need them.

They are typically more expensive than metal or wood, but they are clear and allow light to pass through into your house. This can be beneficial, particularly if the power goes out. When natural light is all you have to rely on, it's best to have a window cover that allows as much as possible to filter in.

Fabric Panels

Although you wouldn't think of fabric as a reliable barrier against storm damage, fabric storm panels are a truly unique and effective option. They are usually made from Kevlar or a synthetic fabric coated in PVC. You can attach them to the windows using bolts and grommets or you can even strap them with anchor points. They form a barrier against wind, rain and debris while allowing some air and light into your house.

Hurricane Windows

Hurricane windows are a significant investment, but once installed, they limit the need for other barrier products. Look for inner-membrane hurricane windows for the best protection. These windows have a layer of PVB in between two thick glass slabs, providing an added line of protection in case the glass should break. The membrane in the middle will help to retain the structure of the window, protecting you from the damage.

They blend into most structures as though they were traditional windows, but they offer the added protection of resistance to impact and wind. The added membrane also provides some energy efficiency, which can help you reduce your home energy costs.

Hurricane windows or protective storm panels are the best way to keep your home's windows safe during a serious hurricane. When you live in an area that is vulnerable to hurricanes, you need to consider these things and address them before the threat of hurricane occurs. With the information presented here, you can choose the best option to fit your home. Click here for more info on preparing your windows for hurricane season.