Retrofitting Your House for Hurricanes: Windows, Doors, & Shutters
Openings can be weak points that allow hurricane winds to rip through your home.
When you’re preparing your home for a hurricane, the primary concern is replacing or reinforcing doors, windows and garage doors.
Doors & Windows
When looking at regular doors and windows, your safest option, by far, is to install secure, hurricane-resistant products.
Some unscrupulous contractors will suggest replacing your glass with laminated glass and call this a “hurricane-rated window.” Without the additional strength from a hurricane-rated frame and proper installation, these windows and doors will likely fail.
Also, there are some drawbacks to consider when relying on shutters:
- If you aren’t home to put shutters up and close them, your home could be left open to damage
- During an emergency situation, shutters will block both light and visibility
- Leaving shutters up year-round is a signal to potential intruders that your windows are a weak point
- While it’s not the primary concern, shutters can be less attractive than designer impact windows
- Shutters can block exits in case of a fire, causing a safety hazard.
- Older shutters were frequently not up to today’s standards, and can be dented, causing the glass to break, and depressurizing the house.
Specially developed impact windows and doors have added benefits:
- sturdy security against break-ins, without blocking windows as an exit point
- blocks 99% of UV rays
- outside noise is significantly reduced
- reduces cooling and heating expenses
- potential savings from insurance cost reduction
What To Look For
When you’re choosing strong doors and windows, there are several things to consider:
- Ratings standards– There are various standards that can be met by impact-resistant windows and doors. The toughest are set by Miami-Dade County, with varying levels of impact resistance depending on design pressures (pounds per square foot, or “PSF”).
- PSF ratings– This rating tells you precisely how many pounds per square foot a window or door can withstand.
- Full security– A good window or door gives complete security, including a strong frame that anchors sturdily into walls. A tough window is useless if it is not installed correctly.
The strongest windows and doors on the market are from CGI Windows. All of their hurricane-proof doors and windows are approved by the toughest standards of the Miami-Dade County requirements, the large missile impact criteria. Visit Miami Dade’s product approval website to ensure any windows you’re considering are large missile impact resistant.
CGI Windows only develops impact-resistant products, so they perform extensive research on hurricane resistance. They have 4 patents for their innovation in hurricane-safe windows and doors.
As the largest opening in your home, a garage door is crucial to safety in the event of a hurricane. If it buckles, wind can cause pressure in your home that will rip off the roof, and leave the rest of the structure susceptible.
A fully wind-resistant garage door will include strong frame that will keep it anchored firmly into the opening.
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