Hurricane House Calls: Windows


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When a Hurricane bears down on Florida, residents often turn to plywood to protect the windows of their homes. The IBC (International Building Code) and IRC (International Residential Code) allows wood panels in certain applications. However, large single panels can be difficult to install due to their size. This is especially true in instances where there are upper floor windows to protect. However, the application of plywood to protect windows may be appropriate for some homes.

If you are building or remodeling a home and considering solutions to protect your windows in the event of Tropical weather, shutters, screens and panel systems are another option. However, most of these systems are not rated to reduce wind pressures on the windows they protect. Panel systems may be rated for pressure to resist blow-off and debris, but they do not decrease the pressure on the window behind it.

The IBC and IRC, defines glazing as "Glass, transparent plastic sheets used in windows, doors, skylights, or curtain walls."

According to FEMA, the most effective solution is impact-resistant glazing systems. Impact Resistant Windows can be the most expensive, but do not need human action or involvement for wind or debris protection after installation. In addition, due to the strict standards that impact rated windows must meet, they often provide added benefits such as security and energy efficiency.

During Hurricanes, wind speeds combined with heavy rains can lead to water infiltration around windows. Proper installation of storm resistant windows is crucial to preventing or minimizing water leakage. Complete roof collapse and structural damage have resulted in instances where the anchors of windows have failed. FEMA has discovered collapsed roofs on buildings when excessive winds created extreme pressure inside of a building through a broken window.

It is important to use impact tested products and reputable contractors when installing these windows in your home. Some companies, such as FHIA (Florida Home Improvement Association) can offer lifetime guarantees with their installations.


Some helpful links:

FEMA - Windows, Doors, and Opening Protection (PDF)

FHIA Storm Saver Windows


This article is sponsored by: Florida Home Improvement Associates