6 Effective Ways on How To Protect Windows During a Storm
If you have ever experienced a storm of any kind, you will know that your property’s windows take much of the brunt of the natural force.
40% of American homes come with single-pane windows, but even double or triple-pane glass can’t withstand storm winds which can travel as fast as 250 mph.
But luckily, there are preventative measures that you can put in place so that if – or when – storms arrive, your windows will be more protected, and repairs will be minimal.
Here to help, we break down 6 of the most effective ways you can protect your windows.
Learn how to protect your home now!
1. Use Security Window Film
Security window film may sound flimsy, but it’s incredibly effective. Polyester films stick to glass, so if it smashes, it prevents thousands of pieces from being catapulted into your home and across your property, potentially causing harm.
The films use adhesive glue that bonds them to the glass. They can be applied to various glass types, including laminated, toughened, and annealed. But with tornado winds spinning up to 250 mph, does security window film protect the actual window itself? The answer is yes because the glass stays together, preventing knock-on damage to the window frame.
After the storm, you can simply replace the pane after shattering. That simplicity is cleaner, and your window is generally more protected.
Other benefits of the film are that they are usually highly affordable, and some films double up by providing UV ray protection to your home.
2. Storm Shutters
You will likely have seen shutters accompanying windows throughout the world.
But in areas where natural disasters are more likely, specialized storm shutters are the way to go.
They come in several shapes and sizes: from paneled and made of aluminum or steel, to automatic roll downs, to accordion shutters, to colonial shutters, to Bahama shutters.
But while differing in style, they all serve the same purpose. Storm shutters create a heavy shield over the glass windows, whether made from aluminum, steel, or polycarbonate options.
Using storm shutters is, in fact, one of the CDC’s suggested methods for window protection during a storm. While shattered glass remains the most critical problem, solid shutters outside your window can protect the frames.
Shutters are well-known for their effectiveness and are installed in areas where hurricanes or storms are more frequent. Their downside is that they have to be closed over the windows or rolled down in anticipation of a storm.
If you are caught off guard for whatever reason – you are out of the house or on vacation, for example – you may not have time to close and secure the shutters.
3. Add Plywood
Plywood is another excellent solution if you do not have the time or resources to implement a long-term window protection solution such as storm shutters. Plywood is because it is one of the simplest, cheapest methods of window protection.
They take a little preparation: plywood needs to be stored at your property in advance so that before storms arrive, you have the time to bolt or nail the plywood to your windows. Access to plywood isn’t an issue in most towns, as it is readily available for purchase from most lumberyards and hardware stores. Plywood does not require expensive installation by mechanical technicians.
Its downside is that it takes physical effort to put up, as the plywood needs to be hammered into the window frames. Homes will also be dark after the addition of the wood, so if a storm is on the way, make sure your flashlight has an extra set of batteries or prepare a chargeable lamp.
Window damage can cause all sorts of knock-on effects such as leakages, unhealthy mold growth, pests, and drafts. But plywood can help and is the CDC’s second home storm protection recommendation. Just remember to make the plywood larger than both the pane and the frame to provide full coverage for the storm’s duration.
4. High-Impact Glass Windows
High-impact tempered glass comprises two panes of tempered glass held together by a polymer chemical. They are treated with heat to make the center of the glass scorching hot so that after cooling, the glass becomes compressed and stronger. Tempered glass is around four times stronger than a usual pane of glass.
Interestingly, this is also similar to the technique used on the windows found in vehicles, specially designed to withstand different levels of wind pressure and other weather strain.
The most significant benefit of high-impact glass is that while providing a much more robust pane, it still looks like a regular window. That clarity allows you to monitor the storm and assess damage to your property and the surrounding areas.
High-impact glass installation means spending less time on installations and changes every time a storm begins to roll into town. However, people in storm-prone areas often combine high-impact glass windows with shutters for maximum protection.
5. Storm Panels
Storm panels are similar to plywood in that they are window protections that are kept at home and need to be added to windows before a storm arrives.
But where they differ from plywood is their durability. Plywood needs to be replaced after sustaining heavy weather as it is a relatively cheap material. It may rot or simply not serve its purpose as a window safeguard after second and third-time usage.
In comparison, storm panels, made of durable polycarbonate, can be used repeatedly. Technological advancements mean that some clear plastic panels, which are much lighter than the traditionally-used metal panels, use rubber to absorb hurricane forces.
Storm panels are also easy to set up as the sliding ridges are attached upon purchase, so homeowners need only slide on the boards when a storm comes.
6. Hurricane Fabric
Hurricane fabric is one of the newest forms of window protection and one of the most advanced.
They are cutting edge because, while serving a similar purpose to other methods, by essentially covering the window frame, hurricane fabrics are far lighter and easier to install while remaining strong. That easy maneuverability makes them particularly useful for those living alone or people who can’t lift heavy tools.
Modern hurricane fabrics are usually resin-coated and are clipped across the outside of your window frame using pre-installed hooks. They are also easy to store as they can be folded up.
One of the most effective parts of this window protection is that it can be used across giant windows that would be almost impossible to cover with shutters or plywood. For example, office buildings that have large glasses or conservatories.
In 2020 the Atlantic hurricane season was particularly fiery, with over 30 named storms, 14 of which became hurricanes, making it the year with the most storms on record.
With this in mind, there has never been a better time to put time and energy into finding a window protection solution for your property.
So whether you opt to nail in plywood, install shutters, try hurricane fabric, use panels, or go for specialized glass, there are many ways for you to protect your windows in your home or business. But for whatever reason a leak or damage occurs, professional help is always on hand.
Whether you need help with water and fire damage repair or mold remediation, All Dry USA is just a call away.
If you are worried about preparation for the next big storm, invite one of our trained professionals over to survey your property and protect your windows!