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Can Storm Windows and Doors Protect Your Home from Natural Disasters?

From his vantage point high above the earth in...
Photo Credit: nasa.gov
By Gates Dearen

Our recent brush with hurricanes Arthur and Bertha may have made you wonder whether your house was ready for hurricane season. If your windows or doors rattled, or if you heard wind whooshing through – or worse, saw rain coming in – it may be time for some updates. Rain and wind are obvious troublemakers, but have you thought about the UFOs (unexpected flying objects) that might come barreling through your yard – and straight for your windows and doors – in the midst of the storm? Such objects cause millions of dollars in damage every year (and take many lives), either because they weren’t secured prior to the storm or because homeowners had old windows and doors that were not impact-resistant. Hurricane season lasts until November 30, and late summer/early fall storms are historically stronger and cause more damage than early summer storms. If you haven’t already safeguarded your home against hurricane damage, now is the perfect time.
Impact Single Hung Windows

Safe Windows
If you think that taping your windows will keep your windows from breaking, think again. According to the U.S. Government disaster preparedness site www.ready.gov, those in areas at risk for hurricane damage should cover windows, an unsightly option, or install windows made of impact-resistant glass. The latter is a better choice because these windows are more attractive and do not have to be taken down in the winter and put up again in the summer, as do outdoor window covers.

If you do choose to replace your windows and/or sliding doors, look for the AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturers Association) label and the National Fenestration Rating Council certification. These organizations have high standards for quality and their seals of approval carry a lot of weight. Next, do your research on both the company and the product. Has the company been around for a while? If so, that’s a good indicator that they’ll still be around if you need them in the future. Do they have customer testimonials? If they’ve done a good job for other customers, they’ll likely do a good job for you too. How is the impact-resistance of the windows created? Ask if there is a layer of poly material between the panes of glass. These types of windows and sliding doors not only keep out wind and rain, but also protect your home, and its occupants, from wind-blown debris.  Impact-resistant windows and sliding doors have the additional benefit of being more energy efficient than their non-impact-resistant alternatives.

Safe Doors
When it comes to hurricane safety, you may have thought more about your windows and sliding doors than about your entry doors, but in some cases entry doors have nearly as much glass as sliding doors or windows. In such cases, it’s equally important to choose impact-resistant glass. You may be surprised to find how many options are available to you in impact-resistant, weather-resistant attractive door glass. Whether you prefer etched glass, a stained-glass look, or blinds-between-panes, you can find whatever suits your taste, made with glass that will protect your home and keep your family safe. Additionally, most glass panels for entry doors that have been crafted to resist impact also have a Low-e coating which allows sunlight in while keeping heat out, helping to conserve energy and prevent fading of carpets and furniture.

English: upvc patio doors 
For all doors, glass or not, a good fit is crucial. No matter how good the materials, if your door does not fit properly, it will not keep out the weather. Make sure the weather stripping is in good condition and that it seals tightly when the door is shut. Check that the threshold meets the bottom of the door with no gaps. This is also a good time to see that your garage door closes tightly and doesn’t rattle or buckle in the wind; consider reinforcing your garage door to prevent flooding or structural damage.


UFOs - Unexpected Flying Objects
Storms can come up quickly in Florida, and we don’t always have notice. If you’ve lived here for any length of time, chances are good that at least once you’ve looked out your window and seen something flying across your yard. With hurricanes and tropical storms, though, we usually have at least a little warning. One of the best ways to keep your windows and doors – and your entire home – safe is to secure loose objects in your yard, or bring inside whatever you can. Items such as outdoor furniture, yard tools, and grills can become dangerous missiles when propelled by high winds. This is a situation where a small amount of effort up front can save a lot of trouble down the road.

Window and doors really can protect your home – and your family – from a natural disaster. With a little planning and “refortification” on your part, your doors and windows can work with you to keep the weather where it belongs: outside.

In this article we’ve explained how your windows and doors can help to protect your home in a hurricane. We’ve also given some tips for securing items outside your home to prevent them from damaging your home’s exterior, windows, and doors.

Gates Dearen is the co-owner of HomeRite Windows and Doors in Jacksonville, Florida. Owners Dearen and Richard Walden have been serving the building products industry in Florida for over 25 years. They know the products, the industry, the market and what adds great value to a home. Their approach is a somewhat different than others. They strive to match the homeowner with the right windows and doors for their home and budget. They know that home improvements projects can be a hassle. They strive to make the process pleasant with first-rate, energy efficient products; affordable prices; and expert, award-wining installers that employ the best practices and who respect your home as if it were their own. 

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2 comments:

  1. Interesting blog!!!
    The shutters will protect your property. Do not equate property protection with self protection, or safe....

    Hurricane Impact Resistant Windows

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