Hurricane Window Protection Options That Work

broken home window polycarbonate storm windows

With hurricane-force winds, a loose branch becomes a dangerous flying projectile that can shatter an entire window, causing damage to furniture, merchandise, and anyone inside. Additional destruction from water penetration can cause even more expensive damage to walls, floors, and furnishings.

If you’re in an area frequently affected by hurricanes and tropical storms, you know how important it is to protect your windows during hurricane season. Preparing your home for these types of storms prevents costly repairs later on and in some areas, you may even get an insurance discount for installing hurricane mitigation improvements.

Whether you’re searching for residential or commercial solutions, there are quite a few hurricane window protection options on the market to keep your building safe. There are pros and cons of each, so let’s take a look at what might be right for your home or business.

How to Protect Windows During Hurricanes

Plywood Sheets

Plywood for Hurricane Window Protection Options

One of the most obvious and frequently used hurricane window protection options is plywood sheets. Installing large plywood sheets over glass windows and doors is an affordable and highly effective method of storm protection.

However, this option is very labor-intensive and time-consuming. Each plywood sheet needs to be cut to size and then screwed into place on the exterior of the window every time a storm approaches. This isn’t a permanent solution because the sheets block out all light and are aesthetically unappealing. Installing, uninstalling, and reinstalling these plywood sheets every time there is a storm isn’t a realistic option for many people.

Hurricane Window Protection Fabric

Hurricane Window Protection: Hurricane Window Fabric

There are quite a few names for hurricane fabric including hurricane screens, fabric storm panels, and wind abatement screens, but they all serve the same purpose. Hurricane screens are made of a woven material coated with a plastic-like PVC to increase strength and deflect flying objects. While they do absorb impact, they may not completely stop your window from shattering, depending on the force.

These hurricane window protectors are also much easier to install than plywood sheets and take up much less storage space when they aren’t needed. They’re simply clipped into place and have the added benefit of allowing light and visibility once installed. However, they do have to be re-installed every time a storm approaches, so if you’re looking for permanent hurricane window protection, hurricane screens are not the best choice.

Window Film for Hurricane Protection

Hurricane Window Film Protection Options

While safety and security window films are useful in slowing intruders and adding shatter resistance, they are not seen as adequate hurricane protection. These plastic films that are placed over existing glazing prevent the glass from shattering into dangerous shards, but they do not stop the glass from breaking when struck by heavy objects or flying debris.

So while safety and security window films are beneficial for several reasons, they do not create hurricane-resistant windows, and as such, insurance companies and building codes do not view them as hurricane mitigation. Any company that sells window films as hurricane impact protection should be avoided.

Hurricane Shutters

Though shutters are one of the more expensive options, they are also convenient. Shutters can be left in place year-round and deployed only when a storm approaches. They come in many different styles and vary in price. Some options can even add aesthetic appeal to your home or business.

Accordion Hurricane Shutters

Accordion Hurricane Shutters for Glass Protection

One of the more affordable shutter options, accordion shutters are bolted to the sides of windows and open like an accordion.

Roll Down Hurricane Shutters

Roll Down Hurricane Shutters for Window Protection

Typically made of aluminum or steel, roll down shutters attach at the top of windows and roll down to protect the window when needed. Some roll-down shutters are automatic while others need to be lowered manually.

Bahama Hurricane Shutters

Bahama Hurricane Shutters for Window Protection

These shutters attach above the window and can be propped open when not in use. They have the added benefit of offering shade, but can also affect visibility.

Colonial Hurricane Shutters

Colonial Shutters for Hurricane Window Protection Options

These shutters are some of the most aesthetically pleasing shutters available and can add character to your home. They’re attached to either side of a window and fold together when the window needs to be protected.

Hurricane shutters will be visible on the exterior of your building, but in some cases, that can add curb appeal. Overall, if you’re looking for a permanent hurricane window protection solution that will last many years, hurricane shutters are a good choice.

Polycarbonate Hurricane Panels

Polycarbonate Panels for Hurricane Window Protection

If you want a permanent hurricane protection solution that blends in seamlessly with your building design, polycarbonate storm panels like those used in a DefenseLite system are the way to go.

DefenseLite‘s customized edge banding and powder coating make the system virtually invisible upon installation. Using all-weather adhesives, the system is weather-sealed to reduce water penetration and damage. 250 times stronger than glass, these polycarbonate storm panels stand up to a variety of impact forces providing a high level of defense against flying objects and debris.

Not only do the polycarbonate shields used in DefenseLite create high impact-resistant windows for your home or business, but they also protect against intruders, increase energy efficiency, and reduce street noise.

Unlike shutters, polycarbonate shields don’t need to be deployed every time a storm approaches. DefenseLite is a “set it and forget it” solution. Once installed, you’ll forget they’re even there and can leave your home with peace of mind knowing that your windows and doors are protected.

Protect Your Windows During a Hurricane

Having a plan in place to protect your home or business is a must in any area, especially if you experience frequent hurricanes and tropical storms. There are plenty of options available to improve your building’s storm defense, so it comes down to what is most important to you.

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