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Brad Campbell

How To Install Plywood for Hurricane Protection: Expert Tips

By | Blog, Storm Protection

Unless all your commercial building’s windows are fitted with hurricane shutters, you might find yourself using plywood to cover vulnerable glass before the next big storm. 

Boarding windows with plywood for hurricane damage mitigation is an affordable, readily-available option, but it’s only effective if done properly.

Keep reading to learn some of the top recommendations from the experts on how to board up windows correctly for the best storm damage protection.

Recommendations on Boarding Windows with Plywood for Hurricanes

How To Install Plywood for Hurricane Protection: Preparation

  • Use 5/8-inch CDX plywood boards (exterior grade)
  • Pre cut boards to cover all windows 
  • Screw stainless steel hanger bolts into the framing every 16 inches
  • Drill matching holes through boards
  • Paint boards
  • Label boards with the openings they’re for

Before hurricane season even arrives, you should purchase enough boards of 5/8-inch CDX plywood to cover all your building’s windows. CDX plywood is meant for exterior uses, so it will hold up better over time after repeated exposure to weather.

Measure all your windows and pre cut the boards to fit into each one. It’s best if you can fit the boards inside the window frames, otherwise cut them so there’s a 4-inch overlap on all sides of the windows.

Now that you have your boards cut, it’s a great idea to install bolts around the frames of windows to make hanging the boards easier during storm season. 

 

Drill pilot holes into the framing studs every 16 inches and screw 3-inch stainless steel hanger bolts 2 inches deep into the holes. Note that for concrete block buildings, you’ll have to drill holes into the masonry 2- 3 inches from the edges of the window frames.

If you can’t prepare your windows for boards with bolts, you can use screws to fix the boards over the glass when it’s time to install them, as long as the building is wood-framed.

Measure and mark the location of the bolts along the edges of the boards. Drill holes just big enough that the boards slide snuggly onto the bolts.

Then, since you can reuse these boards over multiple hurricane seasons, it’s a good idea to prime and paint the surfaces and edges of the plywood sheets with exterior-grade paint to make them even more weather resistant. 

Finally, label one side or edge of each sheet with the opening it’s meant for, so you don’t waste time figuring it out when you’re preparing your property for a storm.

How To Install Plywood for Hurricane Protection: Installation

  • Install boards when a hurricane watch is issued
  • Get at least one other person to help you put up plywood
  • Secure boards over bolts with washers and nuts
  • Use galvanized pan-head screws if you didn’t pre-install bolts

Hurricane experts state that you should start boarding up your property as soon as a hurricane watch is issued for your area, which occurs 48 hours before hurricane weather is expected to begin. 

Your boards should already be securely in place by the time a hurricane warning is issued 36 hours before the storm is expected.

Installing the boards is at least a two-person job, so get an employee or someone else you can count on to help you get the job done.

If you already installed hanger bolts around your building’s window frames and drilled matching holes in your boards, all you have to do is slide the plywood sheets onto the bolts. Then, slide a washer over each bolt and screw wing nuts tightly over the washers to secure the boards.

If you didn’t prepare your windows with bolts, use a cordless drill or impact driver to drive galvanized pan-head screws every 12-18 inches through the overlapping edges of the boards into framing studs below.

Image via https://www.rona.ca/

These types of screws have flat-bottomed heads, so they won’t sink into the plywood and potentially weaken the boards. Make sure to use screws that are long enough for them to go at least 2 inches into the studs. For example, 3-inch screws should work.

Now that your boards are hung, safely wait out the storm and do the whole process in reverse to take them down after it passes.

 

How Do You Protect a Window From a Hurricane Without Plywood?

Though plywood boards can provide sufficient protection for your commercial building’s windows during a hurricane, there are a number of reasons you should consider other, more permanent solutions.

Disadvantages of boarding windows:

  • Requires much preparation
  • Labor-intensive process
  • Boards take up lots of storage space
  • Blocks out natural light and cuts off visibility
  • Makes businesses look closed and uninviting to clients
  • Have to board up windows every time there’s a hurricane watch

Hurricane shutters are one of the most common commercial hurricane mitigation barriers, but they still aren’t perfect. That’s why we highly recommend installing impact-resistant windows to provide permanent, 24-hour protection against storms (and all manner of security threats).

Advantages of hurricane impact windows:

  • One-time installation
  • Look and feel like regular windows
  • Don’t block natural light or views
  • Don’t hurt the curb appeal of businesses
  • Provide 24/7 protection from hurricanes and tropical storms
  • Create barriers against forced entry, burglary, and smash-and-grab theft
  • Also protect against vandalism, rioting, and looting

When you want the absolute best hurricane window protection, we recommend choosing ArmorPlast™ AP25. These are polycarbonate glazing shields with a glass-like surface hardness and appearance, but the unbreakable strength of polycarbonate.

 


Final Words on Using Plywood for Hurricane Protection

After reading the tips in this article, we hope you’ve gained a better understanding of how to install plywood for hurricane glass protection.

Even though this is a tried-and-true method for storm damage mitigation, it does have its disadvantages that make it an impractical solution for many business owners. 

For stronger, more permanent, and more convenient glass protection, consider retrofitting your property’s glass doors and windows with impact-resistant polycarbonate panels.

 

Contact us today or have your local glass contractor give us a call to discuss how you can fortify your commercial building with ArmorPlast™ AP25.

Tornado Proof Windows: Do They Exist?

By | Blog, Storm Protection

If you live in the southern or southeastern united states, not only do you have to worry about hurricanes and tropical storms, but you also have to be prepared for tornadoes. 

Since tornadoes can occur any time of year and with little warning, it’s particularly important to have the appropriate tornado window protection for your business or commercial facility to mitigate the risks of storm damage.

You may have already heard about how impact windows can protect your glass doors and windows during a hurricane, but do they also work to prevent damage during a tornado?

We’re here to give you all the facts and provide you with real solutions that you can use to secure your property against a variety of threats caused by mother nature.

Tornado Windows VS Hurricane Windows: What’s the Difference?

The Truth About So-Called Tornado Proof Windows

Just as there is no such thing as a 100-percent hurricane proof window, there’s no type of window that makes your glass completely tornado proof, either.

However, since tornadoes and hurricanes are both wind-based storms, you can use the same types of impact windows to reduce the risks posed to your property by flying storm debris.

What tornadoes and hurricanes have in common:

  • Both contain strong rotating winds
  • Winds can hurl debris at very high velocities
  • Flying storm debris can shatter standard window glass instantly

When a piece of debris tossed by hurricane-force or tornado-force winds breaks your property’s windows, it leaves your facility exposed to further interior damage that can be caused by wind, water, and more storm debris.

So, not only do you have to clean up and replace broken glass, but you may find yourself dealing with even more expensive losses incurred simply because your windows were not sufficiently protected.

In order to mitigate these risks, you must implement physical barriers over your windows and doors that protect your glass and prevent it from shattering inwards when impacted. One way to do this is by installing tornado resistant windows, or impact windows.

What Are Tornado Resistant Windows?

Impact-resistant tornado windows are a special type of security glass or glass-like product that is much stronger than your traditional window glass. In many cases, these impact windows can be retrofitted over the existing glass on your property to create a formidable barrier in front of it.

It’s important to note that a full-blown, violent tornado, like those most commonly seen in the midwest, can still destroy an entire property with or without impact windows. Fortunately, the tornadoes seen in southern and southeastern states tend to be less dangerous.

In terms of protecting your glass against storm debris hurled by less powerful tornadoes, impact windows are your best bet for preventing devastating damage to your business or commercial facility.

Benefits of tornado resistant windows:

  • Create a strong, durable barrier over your existing glass
  • Block out storm debris, wind, and rain
  • Help preserve the structural integrity of the building
  • Don’t change the outward appearance of your property
  • Allow you to retain natural light and visibility
  • Provide permanent protection against all types of storms
  • Fortify your business against other threats like forced entry and theft

What’s the Best Tornado Window Protection Available?

Our Expert Recommendations for Tornado Resistant Windows

When it comes to different types of impact windows, there’s nothing better than polycarbonate glazing shields. These protective panels don’t actually contain any glass at all, which makes them the most impact-resistant product you can use for tornado damage mitigation.

Even very strong types of security glass can crack and break after impacts from storm debris, but the strength of polycarbonate makes it virtually unbreakable, even after repeated forceful impacts.

The product we most highly recommend to southern and southeastern clients for glass protection from tropical storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes is ArmorPlast™ AP25. 

These polycarbonate glazing shields provide containment-grade glass protection, meaning that they’ll stop impacts from anything short of a bullet. Even multiple ballistic impacts won’t shatter AP25 panels, though, so you can imagine how strong they are when facing down storm debris.

Why you should choose AP25 for tornado window protection:

  • Glass-like appearance and surface hardness
  • Abrasion- and UV-resistant coating
  • Virtually unbreakable strength of polycarbonate
  • Can be retrofitted over existing glass doors and windows
  • Protects against storm damage 24/7, during every season
  • Protects against forced entry, burglary, smash-and-grab theft, vandalism, rioting, and looting

When you reinforce your business with AP25, you’re performing a one-time installation that will provide you with permanent security from all kinds of threats — both natural and man-made.

This means your property will be protected during hurricane season as well as from tornadoes that can arise at any time. 

Besides that, AP25 creates an incredibly robust barrier against forced entry attempts, which are an unfortunate threat that all businesses have to worry about. Just as polycarbonate won’t break during a storm, it can’t be shattered by crowbars, bats, or other common burglary tools.

Because of its strength and versatility, AP25 is favored by all manner of commercial clients, for applications from luxury retail stores to government buildings.

Final Thoughts on Impact-Resistant Tornado Windows

Your property’s glass doors and windows are its most vulnerable points, which is why it’s of the utmost importance to fortify them properly against storms and other threats. 

A protective barrier over your existing glass can make all the difference between expensive damage to the inside of your facility and a little storm debris cleanup outside your building.

We strongly recommend that you choose impact-resistant AP25 for the highest level of permanent glass protection against all types of threats, including tornadoes.

The reality is that storms, especially tornadoes, can pop up any time of year, so hurricane season isn’t the only time your business needs protection. Impact windows can provide that much needed peace of mind you’ve been looking for, all year round.

 

Contact us today for more information about ArmorPlast™ AP25 or have your local glass contractor give us a call to discuss retrofitting your building with tornado resistant windows.

DIY Storm Shutters: Are They Possible for Business Owners?

By | Blog, Storm Protection

In order to save money on expensive commercial shutters and professional installations, many business owners look for ways they can secure their properties during a storm themselves.

While you won’t be able to build or install your own roll-down shutters or accordion shutters, you can create makeshift shutters out of plywood boards to protect your windows and doors. 

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to flip plywood boards open manually or at the push of a button. Once installed, they can only be removed again with the help of a power drill.

How To Make Hurricane Shutters for Your Business

Build Your Own Hurricane Shutters from Plywood

Plywood hurricane shutters or storm panels are one of the most economic options when it comes to protecting your window glass during a tropical storm or hurricane. Below is a quick summary of the steps required to put them in place.

Steps To Board up Windows:

  1. Measure windows and doors
  2. Cut plywood to size
  3. Locate framing studs if your building is framed
  4. Screw plywood over windows into studs or concrete blocks

Measuring Doors and Windows

The first step to creating your own plywood shutters is to accurately measure all the windows and doors you need to cover. 

Use a tape measure to do so and record the measurements for each window and door as you go. For large windows and doors, you may want to get someone else to help you hold the tape measure and read measurements. 

If you have a large commercial property, it can also be helpful to draw a diagram of the building and write the measurements next to each window and door.

Cutting Plywood Sheets

After you measure, it’s time to make your plywood storm panels. To get started, buy enough 4×8 sheets of 5/8-inch exterior-grade plywood to cover all your doors and windows.

Use a power saw to cut each plywood sheet to 7 inches wider and 7 inches longer than the door or window it needs to cover. This allows for a 3-4-inch overhang on all sides for securing the panels to the surrounding surface of the building.

If you don’t have the tools to cut the boards yourself, you can get them pre-cut to your specifications at a home improvement center or lumber yard.

Finding Framing Studs

Next, you’ll want to locate the framing studs to secure your DIY storm panels to around each window and door, provided your property is wood-framed.

Use a stud finder to find the closest stud on each side of every window, as well as the studs above and below the windows. For doors, just find the studs on the sides and above the door. 

Measure the distance of the studs from the edges of windows and doors and record the measurements to help you install the boards in the next step.

Installing Plywood Storm Panels

Measure and mark the location of the studs on the surface of each plywood panel, so you know  where to put screws.

Have a helper or two hold the boards up over the glass and use a power drill to drive 2.5-inch wood screws through the plywood into the studs below. It’s very important to make sure the screws all go into studs to really secure the boards in place.

If your building is a concrete block or masonry structure, the installation process is a little different. You don’t have to find studs and worry about screwing the boards into them.

Instead, drill at least 10 holes into the concrete or masonry around each window, 2-3 inches away from the edge of the window. 

Put 3-inch hanger bolts into each hole, drill holes in the corresponding locations on each plywood sheet, and secure the boards over the bolts with washers and wing nuts.

Things You’ll Need to Make Plywood Storm Panels:

  • Tape measure
  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Power saw
  • Power drill
  • 5/8-inch exterior-grade plywood

Some Disadvantages of DIY Storm Shutters for Businesses

Now that you have an idea of what goes into boarding up your business before a storm, you can see how labor intensive it is, which is an obvious disadvantage of the method. 

When you want to remove the panels, you have to do the whole process in reverse, then find a place to store everything while it’s not in use.

Because of these facts, DIY storm shutters are often just not practical for large commercial buildings.

Alternatives to Building Storm Shutters

Is There Such a Thing as a DIY Storm Window?

If plywood storm shutters won’t work for your business, there is another alternative to professional hurricane shutter installation: impact windows.

Hurricane impact windows do require professional installation, but you can have any local glass contractor install them and they are a very cost-effective solution.

We highly recommend choosing ArmorPlast™ AP25 to our clients in Florida and other coastal areas of the Southeastern United States. 

AP25 is a containment-grade polycarbonate glazing shield that fits over your existing glass to protect your commercial facility against storm damage and other threats, 24/7. It provides the durable strength of hurricane shutters without altering the outward appearance of your glass.

Benefits of AP25 Polycarbonate Storm Panels:

  • Virtually unbreakable
  • Crystal-clear appearance
  • Glass-like surface hardness
  • One-time installation
  • Adds UV resistance
  • 24/7 protection against storm damage
  • Barrier to forced entry, burglary, and smash-and-grab theft
  • Protects glass from rioting, looting, and vandalism

Unlike storm shutters, AP25 won’t block out natural light, reduce visibility, or hurt the curb appeal of your business. 

Image via https://www.eater.com/

You also won’t have to worry about putting boards in place every time a hurricane watch is issued, only to take them down again when the storm passes or fails to even hit your area.

Final Words

We hope you’ve gained a better idea of the possibility of DIY storm shutters for your business.

 

Contact us today or have your local glass contractor give us a call to discuss ArmorPlast™ AP25 as an alternative solution to hurricane mitigation for your property.

 

When To Put up Hurricane Shutters on Your Business

By | Blog, Storm Protection

When it comes to storm damage protection for commercial buildings, a question we hear a lot is: “When should I put up hurricane shutters?” People want to know exactly when it is necessary, to avoid going through the steps of putting shutters into place if it’s not required.

In this article, we’ll explain the standard guidelines regarding when to put hurricane shutters up. Then, we’re going to tell you about a solution available to you that provides your building with 24/7 storm protection — without the hassle of shutters!

 

The Official Stance on When To Put up Hurricane Shutters

Do You Need To Put up Hurricane Shutters Before Every Storm?

According to the National Hurricane Center’s official recommendations, you should put up hurricane shutters whenever a hurricane watch is issued for your area. 

As you may or may not know, a hurricane watch is issued 48 hours before hurricane conditions are expected to begin. It’s a precursor to a hurricane warning, which comes 36 hours before hurricane conditions are expected to kick off.

 

Even if there is only a 5-10 percent chance of hurricane force winds hitting your business or commercial facility, it’s important you put shutters up to avoid potentially catastrophic damage to your property.

Why are storm shutters so important?

  • Protect glass against storm debris tossed by hurricane-force winds
  • Prevent glass from flying dangerously inwards at those inside
  • Block wind to prevent internal and structural wind damage
  • Keep out rain to prevent flooding and water damage

You might be thinking something like: “But, with such a small chance of a hurricane actually hitting my area, is it really worth it to go through the time and effort of putting shutters up?”

According to the stats, you absolutely should. An April 2019 report by the Congressional Budget Office had the following predictions for economic losses due to hurricane winds and storm-related flooding:

  • $9 billion to commercial businesses
  • $34 billion to the residential sector
  • $12 billion to the public sector

As you can see, the cumulative damage caused by hurricanes and storms in the USA accounts for huge losses in all sectors. You can take personal precautions, such as putting hurricane shutters up, to help reduce your individual losses when a storm hits your property.

If you have a large commercial building with a lot of windows and doors that would just require too many shutters, or you don’t have the budget for convenient automatic roll-down shutters, there are alternative ways you can protect your glass and prevent expensive storm damage.

 

Do I Need Shutters on My Business?

Learn About Our Favorite Hurricane Shutter Alternative: Impact Windows

Now that you know more about when to put hurricane shutters up, it’s the perfect moment for us to tell you more about that permanent storm damage protection we mentioned earlier. So, what exactly are hurricane impact windows?

“Impact windows” is a term that can refer to a number of different security glass and glass-like products that can be used to create barriers over your existing glass and protect it from flying debris during a storm.

However, we want to tell you specifically about what we truly believe is the best type of impact window available on the market: ArmorPlast™ AP25.

What is ArmorPlast™ AP25?

ArmorPlast™ is the proprietary line of polycarbonate glazing shields from Riot Glass™. These polycarbonate panels are available in varying thicknesses, from containment-grade to ballistic-grade sheets. 

AP25 is a containment-grade glazing shield and is the product we most recommend to our clients looking for ways to protect their commercial properties against storm damage and other common threats.

Why is AP25 so strong?

AP25 is a single 1/4-inch AR-2 sheet composed entirely of polycarbonate, which is incredibly impact resistant. Unlike other impact windows on the market that are made of different types of glass, a sheet of AP25 is not going to crack or break in any way when impacted by storm debris.

Despite being non-ballistic, meaning it won’t stop bullets, AP25 can resist cracking and shattering after being penetrated multiple times by firearm rounds. That should give you a pretty good idea of its strength.

Does it change the appearance of the existing glass?

The polycarbonate used in the construction of ArmorPlast™ glazing shields is crystal clear and has glass-like surface hardness and appearance. It can be retrofitted over your existing glass without significantly altering the appearance of the building.

Because of this, AP25 won’t inhibit your visibility or block out natural light either (unlike hurricane shutters). All it takes is a one-time installation to provide your commercial facility with round-the-clock storm protection.

Are there any other benefits of installing AP25 impact windows?

  • Adds UV protection and abrasion resistance
  • Provides security against forced entry, burglary, and smash-and-grab theft
  • Protects your business from rioting, looting, and vandalism

Conclusion

The frequency and number of hurricanes and tropical storms making landfall on the continental US has been on the rise over the past 5 years. 

Because of that, it’s absolutely vital that you have some type of hurricane mitigation barriers in place to protect your business or commercial facility.

Hurricane shutters are one option that is effective, but they can be impractical, especially if you have a huge facility or don’t have the budget for the most modern, convenient electronic models.

If putting storm shutters into place every time there’s a minor possibility of a hurricane hitting your property seems like too much of a hassle, keep in mind the other options you have available to you.

We highly recommend retrofitting your building with ArmorPlast™ AP25 to provide 24/7 protection and peace of mind. When a hurricane watch is issued in your area, you can focus on making other preparations and know that your business is protected.

Our team is waiting to discuss the hurricane damage mitigation solutions we can provide for you and your commercial facility.

 

Contact Riot Glass™ today or have your local glass contractor in Florida or any of the southeastern states give us a call.

Impact Windows vs Hurricane Shutters

By | Blog, Storm Protection

Did you know that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active on record? During the season, there were a total of 30 named tropical storms, of which 13 were classified as hurricanes. All but one of those hurricanes made landfall in the United States.

Not only was the 2020 hurricane season particularly active, but it was the fifth hurricane season in a row with above average activity. 

 

This trend upwards in the number of hurricanes and tropical storms making landfall in Florida and the southeastern United States makes the need to protect your property against storm damage more necessary than ever.

Whether you own a small business or run a large commercial facility, it can be challenging to figure out exactly what hurricane mitigation barriers to use for your building. 

Of course, many people stick with the traditional method of boarding up windows and doors, but there are two even more effective commercial storm protection products that provide a more permanent and more aesthetically appealing solution: impact windows and hurricane shutters.

 

Impact Windows VS Hurricane Shutters: What You Need To Know

How To Protect Windows Without Plywood Using More Effective Barriers

Advantages of Hurricane Shutters Over Boards

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, chances are you already have a pretty good idea of what hurricane shutters are. These storm barriers essentially perform the same function as plywood boards: they cover your doors and windows to protect the glass from flying storm debris.

However, many business owners choose hurricane shutters over plywood because they are less labor-intensive to use, provide a permanent solution, and are available in a wide variety of styles that don’t detract from the curb appeal of a commercial building.

Types of Hurricane Shutters:

  • Accordion shutters
  • Roll-down shutters
  • Louvered shutters (Bermuda- or Bahama-style)

Hurricane shutters are a superior solution to plywood because they are permanently mounted above or beside your windows and doors. When a storm is on the way, all you have to do is lower them or slide them into a place.

Pros of Using Hurricane Shutters:

  • One-time installation
  • Easy to put into place and remove
  • Creates a solid, durable storm damage barrier
  • Lots of styles to choose from
  • Doesn’t significantly hurt curb appeal of a business

Advantages of Impact Windows Over Boards

You might not even notice how many commercial properties in your area are using hurricane impact windows as an alternative to boarding up windows. Why, you ask? Because they’re virtually invisible!

Impact glass gets fitted into your existing windows and doors and looks and feels basically the same as standard window glass. This makes it an appealing choice for business owners because it changes the appearance of their properties even less than shutters do.

Like hurricane shutters, impact windows offer a permanent solution to the problem of storm damage mitigation. However, they don’t require any action on your part to put them into place before a storm — hurricane impact windows provide 24/7 glass protection.

Pros of Using Impact Windows:

  • Virtually invisible glass protection
  • Don’t change the outward appearance of your building at all
  • Protect your property 24 hours a day
  • Don’t need to be lowered into place before a storm
  • Can be virtually unbreakable

So, who’s the winner in our showdown of impact windows vs hurricane shutters? We think the best option is clear (no pun intended): hurricane impact windows!

Both of these hurricane mitigation barriers can provide your commercial property with a high level of protection against storm damage, but hurricane windows definitely surpass shutters in terms of additional benefits.

 

ArmorPlast™ AP25: The Best Commercial Impact Windows

How to Protect Windows Without Plywood Using This Superior Solution

ArmorPlast™ AP25 is a highly impact-resistant polycarbonate sheet, which is to say that it does not contain any glass at all. However, the unique composition of these polycarbonate shields give it a glass-like surface hardness and a crystal-clear appearance.

Because it is not glass, AP25 is virtually unbreakable and will not crack or shatter when impacted by flying storm debris. Other types of impact windows on the market, that are actually made out of strengthened glass, still have a probability of breaking after high-force impacts.

Key Characteristics of AP25:

  • 1/4-inch containment-grade glazing shield
  • Single-layer, extremely impact-resistant polycarbonate construction
  • Virtually unbreakable by storm debris impacts
  • Surface is also abrasion and UV resistant

Besides being one of the most effective hurricane mitigation barriers you could choose, AP25 offers round-the-clock protection against a variety of other threats businesses face.

Its durability and impact resistance makes polycarbonate an ideal choice to prevent forced entry, burglary, and smash-and-grab theft. AP25 also creates a formidable barrier to protect your business or commercial facility from vandalism, rioting, and looting.

 

 

AP25 is not bullet resistant, but it can retain its form and continue being a barrier to forced entry even when riddled with bullets. So, you can imagine how little damage a piece of storm debris does to these robust glazing shields.

AP25 Is Commonly Used In:

  • High-end retail stores
  • Corporate offices
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Government buildings
  • Religious centers
  • Correctional and psychiatric facilities

Impact Windows VS Hurricane Shutters: The Conclusion

Impact Windows Provide More Benefits and a Superior Appearance

Both hurricane shutters and hurricane impact windows create solid barriers to protect your windows and doors against debris thrown by hurricane-force winds. 

However, hurricane shutters still require you to lower or slide them over doors and windows and they do change the appearance of your building when they’re in place, though there are some attractive styles available.

On the other hand, impact windows like ArmorPlast™ AP25 don’t change the appearance of your property and provide permanent, 24/7 glass protection against storm damage and a wide variety of other threats that your business may be at risk for.

We strongly recommend using AP25 to protect your commercial windows, so you can rest easy knowing that your property is secure around the clock.

 

Contact Riot Glass™ today or have your local glass contractor give us a call to discuss AP25.

Considering Clear Hurricane Shutters? Try Riot Glass Instead!

By | Blog, Storm Protection

Hurricane shutters are one of the best ways to protect your home or business from storm damage. However, traditional metal shutters and storm panels do have their disadvantages due  to the fact that they completely block off your glass, cutting off your visibility and natural light.

If you want to maintain some level of visibility and allow natural light into your home or commercial building, you might be considering clear hurricane shutters or clear storm panels. 

In this article we’re going to take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of clear hurricane panels and tell you about an even better solution we have for you to prevent storm damage during hurricane season and throughout the rest of the year.

 

What Exactly Are Transparent Hurricane Shutters?

And How Clear Hurricane Panels Are Better Than Metal Hurricane Panels

Clear hurricane shutters, also known as clear storm panels, are clear, typically corrugated plastic panels that fit over your glass doors and windows to protect the glass from storm damage.

They are very similar to metal hurricane panels in that you must install them over your windows before a storm hits, which is typically done by screwing them into the surrounding framing or wall. However, clear panels have some clear advantages over their metal counterparts.

Advantages of transparent hurricane panels:

  • Lightweight and easy to install/use
  • Easy to store
  • No sharp metal edges
  • Can be left installed for the whole hurricane season
  • Provide affordable and approved storm protection
  • Maintain curb appeal of homes/don’t make businesses look closed
  • Allow natural light into your home or business

Though clear hurricane shutters are definitely a more aesthetically pleasing option than metal panels, they’re still not ideal for everyone. 

Since these clear panels are typically corrugated, the visibility through your glass doors and windows won’t be perfect and anyone who does more than just glance at your home or business will be able to notice the panels.

Besides that, the plastic is prone to scratching, so you have to be careful if you’re installing the panels over rough surfaces like concrete or stucco walls. Over time, the panels can start to look the worse for wear and become less transparent, resulting in less visibility and natural light.

If you’re starting to feel discouraged while you read this because you’re thinking you’ll never find that clear hurricane protection you’re looking for, don’t worry — we have another solution that might be perfect for you and your property!

 

Riot Glass™ Clear Hurricane Panels

The Best Permanent Hurricane Protection for Homes and Businesses

Riot Glass™ is our proprietary line of laminated security glass that is designed to protect your home or business against a wide range of threats, including hurricanes and storm damage.

Unlike traditional metal storm shutters and clear storm panels, Riot Glass™ is virtually invisible and once it’s installed you don’t ever have to take it down or treat it any differently than your regular window glass. Sounds great, right? 

Here’s how it works in three simple steps:

  1. We conduct a threat assessment/consultation to determine your property’s needs
  2. Riot Glass™ panels are custom-made to fit your windows and doors perfectly
  3. The laminated glass panels can be retrofitted into or onto your existing framing

These clear panels consist of a thermoplastic interlayer laminated between two sheets of glass. This unique composition means the security glass is extremely robust and resistant to all kinds of high-speed, forceful impacts, making them ideal for protecting your glass during a storm.

Riot Glass™ is available in many different thicknesses and weights, so there are a wide variety of options available to choose from to meet your hurricane protection needs (and budget).

Benefits of Riot Glass™ for hurricane protection:

  • Virtually invisible
  • Doesn’t detract from visibility or block natural light
  • Maintains the curb appeal of your home or business
  • Can be retrofitted over your existing glass
  • Doesn’t shatter due to impacts from storm debris
  • Very cost-effective
  • Provides permanent, year-round protection
  • One-time installation
  • Looks and feels like standard window glass
  • Protects against other types of threats

Riot Glass™ was designed to fill a gap in the market for a highly adaptable security glass product that doesn’t require you to sacrifice visibility and aesthetic appeal in the name of security.

Besides providing an extremely high level of protection against storm damage, these glass laminate panels are very effective at thwarting forced entry attempts. This makes them the ideal solution for securing your home against both natural and man-made threats.

Once you install Riot Glass™ on your home or commercial building, you can rest easy knowing that your glass doors and windows are safe and sound behind an invisible barrier.

 

Contact us today for more information about how we can help you protect your home or business from hurricane damage or to schedule a consultation.

Fortify Your Front or Entry Doors For Hurricane Impact With Riot Glass AP25

By | Blog, Storm Protection

Commercial entry doors are extremely vulnerable during a hurricane or other strong windstorm because they tend to contain large glass panels.

Just like you want to make sure all your windows are protected during a storm, it’s important to ensure that your business’s front door is secure as well.

 

Why Are Hurricane Impact Front Doors So Important?

The Difference Between Standard Doors and Hurricane Resistant Doors

When windows and doors blow out during a hurricane, two main issues arise that can cause further damage and cost you more money to repair after a storm:

  1. Water gets inside your facility and causes water damage to your property and belongings
  2. Hurricane-force winds can cause pressure changes that can blow off roofs or collapse walls

Neither one of those options are something you want to deal with, which is why it’s so important to ensure that all your business’s windows and doors are sufficiently protected against hurricanes.

When it comes to making large glass entry doors hurricane resistant, you have a few different options:

  • Replace the doors with hurricane impact entry doors
  • Cover the doors with hurricane mitigation barriers
  • Reinforce the door glass with something stronger

Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of each of these potential solutions.

 

Door Replacement

Replacing all your doors with hurricane-rated entry doors is an effective way to make them highly resistant to storm damage. However, the cost of replacing commercial entry doors can be very expensive, which makes it a prohibitive option for some business owners.

An average 60-inch by 80-inch hurricane impact door can cost $1,900, on average. If you have more than one front door or multiple entry doors, well, you can do the math.

 

Hurricane Barriers

Hurricane mitigation barriers range from temporary solutions like plywood sheets and corrugated storm panels to permanently installed protection like roll-down hurricane shutters and accordion-style shutters.

Installing storm damage barriers is an attractive option to many business owners because of the wide range of products available — there’s something to suit every budget and a variety of aesthetic styles to choose from. However, these solutions aren’t without their disadvantages.

For one, boards and storm panels require a lot of storage space when not in use and are labor-intensive to install. They’re also an unattractive option that can hurt your commercial property’s curb appeal and put off potential clients.

On the other hand, hurricane shutters are more visually appealing and are really easy to put in place when a storm is coming. But, you still have to install some permanent metal housing above or beside your entry doors, which isn’t always practical or pretty.

 

Glass Reinforcement

Your third option is to reinforce the glass itself. One popular way to do this is with security window film, which you may have heard of by the name hurricane window film.

This solution has plenty of merits, but it’s not as strong as some marketers would have you believe. The film is applied directly to your existing glass and makes it slightly stronger, but it won’t do anything to stop it from breaking when impacted by storm debris.

What window film does is help hold broken shards of glass in place and prevent them from flying inwards, potentially causing injury and allowing water into your business. But, you’ll still have to replace the glass after the storm.

Security Window Film Quick Facts:

  • Pliable polyester Mylar coating
  • Applied directly to surface of existing glass
  • Can hold broken glass shards in place

 

Another glass reinforcement option is laminated security glass. This type of glass can be retrofitted into your existing glass doors and provides a level of impact resistance that’s much higher than security window film.

Nevertheless, heavy storm debris thrown by high-velocity winds can still crack laminated security glass. It will still retain its shape and keep the glass fragments in place to continue protecting your property, but it will require replacement.

 

Laminated Security Glass Quick Facts:

  • Thermoplastic interlayer between two layers of glass
  • Highly impact resistant
  • Can be retrofitted into existing framing
  • Retains its strength and shape after impacts

 

Both window film and security glass are best used as a last line of defense in case an exterior barrier over the glass fails and are not designed to replace the strength of other hurricane mitigation barriers.

But, we have a third glass reinforcement option for you that CAN provide unbreakable protection for your front and entry doors.

 

The Best Glass Reinforcement for Hurricane Impact Entry Doors: ArmorPlast™ 25

How to Protect Doors During a Hurricane with the Riot Glass Flagship Product

First of all, you’re probably wondering “what exactly is ArmorPlast™ 25 and what does it have to do with making entry doors hurricane resistant?”

Well, ArmorPlast™ is our patented line of polycarbonate panels and framing designed for maximum security. It can protect you and your business from devastating hurricane damage as well as other threats like forced entry, burglary, and even ballistic attacks.

ArmorPlast™ 25, or AP25™  for short, is a non-ballistic, containment-grade polycarbonate sheet that offers glass-like hardness with the impact resistance of polycarbonate.

That’s right, it’s not actually glass, which is why it’s the best option for making glass entry doors hurricane resistant. Even the strongest types of security glass are at risk of breaking when impacted by debris hurled by hurricane-force winds, but polycarbonate is virtually unbreakable.

Since it looks and feels just like standard window glass, installing these panels won’t detract from your building’s appearance, block out natural light, or inhibit your visibility. You’ll have essentially invisible glass protection, 24/7.

 

Final Words

Fortifying your commercial entry doors is an essential part of protecting your business against expensive storm damage.

For cost-effective protection against storm damage and other threats that your business faces on a daily basis, we highly recommend choosing AP25™ polycarbonate panels.

Contact Riot Glass™ today or have your commercial glass contractor give us a call to discuss AP25™ and other storm damage mitigation solutions we have for you.

How To Hurricane Proof Your French Doors: Is It Possible?

By | Blog, Storm Protection

French doors are an elegant addition to any home or business, but they can be a bit of a pain to protect during a hurricane. They have multiple glass panels, which makes them extremely vulnerable to storm damage.

You could always replace the existing doors with hurricane impact French doors, but the cost of doing so can be extremely high, making it prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, there are other ways to improve the impact resistance of your French doors.

It’s important to note that there’s no single way to make French doors hurricane proof, but you can significantly strengthen them to make them safer and more resistant to storm damage.

In this article, we’ll share some of the best glass protection products and hurricane barriers that you can use. 

Ways to Make Impact Resistant French Doors

French Door Storm Damage Glass Protection

The most vulnerable part of your French doors are the glass panels themselves. If a piece of storm debris gets thrown at the doors by hurricane-force winds, standard window glass doesn’t stand a chance.

When the glass breaks, sharp shards of broken glass can fly dangerously inwards, potentially causing injury to the people sheltering inside. Not only that, but the hole in your door leaves your property further exposed to water and wind damage.

So, how can you protect French door glass from storm damage? Here are three options:

  1. 3M™ Safety and Security Window Film
  2. Riot Glass™ Laminated Security Glass
  3. ArmorPlast™ 25

 

3M™ Safety and Security Window Film: Basic Protection

This pliable Mylar coating is applied directly to the inside surface of the glass panels on your French doors. It won’t stop the glass from breaking, but it can hold the many shards in place and prevent them from flying inwards.

This reduces the probability of someone getting injured on the other side of the doors and helps block out rain and wind to limit storm damage inside your property.

Riot Glass™ Laminated Security Glass: Mid-Level Impact Resistance

Impact resistant laminated security glass offers much more protection for your French door glass than security window film. 

The thermoplastic interlayer in these laminates is very effective at diffusing the force of storm debris impacts and, in some cases, can be enough to prevent all breakage, though this depends on the thickness and security rating of the laminate.

If a piece of storm debris does manage to break the glass, it won’t shatter inwards and can retain the shape of the panel to continue blocking out wind and rain.

ArmorPlast™ 25: Virtually Unbreakable Glass Protection

If you want the highest level of protection for the glass panels in your French doors, we recommend AP25™. This is not actually glass, but rather polycarbonate that has a glass-like hardness, feel, and appearance.

In other words, it looks and feels just like your standard French door glass, but it has the virtually unbreakable strength of polycarbonate. 

ArmorPlast™ 25 is a containment-grade glazing shield that provides more impact resistance than any other security glass product on the market, meaning storm debris can’t shatter or break it.

French Door Hurricane Barrier

Fortifying the glass on your French doors is great, but it doesn’t always mean you should stop there. Hurricane mitigation barriers create a strong, solid barrier in front of the doors to stop storm debris in its tracks.

Here are three effective types of hurricane barriers:

  1. Plywood Boards
  2. Storm Panels
  3. Hurricane Shutters

 

Plywood Boards: Affordable, but Impractical

The time-tested method of protecting windows and doors of all types during a hurricane is to nail or screw plywood sheets over them. This does create a strong, durable barrier to storm damage, but isn’t the best option for a number of reasons.

For starters, there is a lot of labor involved in cutting and installing the boards. They’re also not a good permanent solution because they’re unattractive and they block out natural light and cut off views completely. 

Additionally, when you remove them after a storm, you’ll need to store all those plywood sheets somewhere. This makes boarding up your French doors an even less convenient choice.

 

Storm Panels: a More Convenient Alternative to Boards

Think of storm panels as the commercial alternative to plywood sheets. These are corrugated metal or plastic panels that are designed to effectively repel flying storm debris and can be pre-cut to fit over your windows and doors.

Metal corrugated storm panels have many of the same disadvantages as plywood boards, namely that they block light and visibility and are not an aesthetically pleasing option. However, there are clear storm panels available that are a slightly more attractive option.

As with boards, you’ll want to remove French door storm panels when you no longer need them, and they take up storage space as well.

 

Hurricane Shutters: Stylish and Effective, but Costly

Hurricane shutters are probably the most effective and popular type of storm damage mitigation barrier because of the wide variety of styles available. You can choose between roll-down, accordion, and louvered shutters, among others.

Shutters are also a permanent solution because they get mounted above or beside your doors and windows and you just have to lower or slide them into place when you want to protect your French doors from a storm.

The main reason some people choose other barriers over shutters is because of the cost. Depending on the style you choose and how many doors and windows you want to protect, the price to install all the shutters you need can be pretty high.

 

Conclusion: You Can’t Hurricane Proof French Doors

But You Can Take Steps to Protect French Doors During Hurricanes

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Use glass protection products to prevent shattering
  • Only polycarbonate is truly unbreakable
  • Use hurricane barriers for maximum security

 

Our team of storm damage prevention experts is always happy to discuss your options and help you choose the best hurricane protection for french doors.

Contact us today or have your local glass contractor give us a call for more information about our hurricane mitigation solutions. 

Hurricane Curtains: Do You Even Need Them If You Have Riot Glass?

By | Blog, Storm Protection

Windows that are marketed as hurricane-proof or storm-proof are really different types of hurricane-resistant windows that can help mitigate storm damage. These windows can have different compositions with varying levels of impact resistance.

In other words, there is no such thing as a special type of glass that is 100% invulnerable to hurricanes, but certain types of reinforced windows can play an important role in strengthening your property’s hurricane defenses.

 

A Little Background Info on Hurricane Resistant Windows

Why the Need for Hurricane Impact Windows Is Increasing

Hurricanes are nothing new to residents of Florida and other Southeastern states, but the demand for hurricane damage mitigation solutions really shot up after Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida in 1992.

Hurricane Andrew Facts:

  • Hit Florida on August 24th, 1992
  • Category 5 storm (the strongest hurricane category)
  • Wind speeds of 165 miles per hour
  • Left approximately 250,000 people homeless in Miami-Dade County alone
  • Destroyed more than 25,000 homes and damaged 100,000+ more
  • Caused $27 billion of damage (when adjusted for inflation)

In response to the incredibly expensive damage caused by Hurricane Andrew and other storms over the past few decades, states like Florida and other at-risk areas have increasingly implemented new construction guidelines, especially when it comes to windows.

For instance, all new homes in Florida and other hurricane-prone areas must be built to include hurricane shutters or some type of approved hurricane impact windows to reduce the chances of building failure during a hurricane.

For something to be approved as hurricane-resistant, it must undergo a series of impact tests and meet certain requirements for both small and large missile impact resistance. To pass the tests, the window glazing and framing must still be intact after the impacts.

Not all areas have the same standards for hurricane resistance. Florida (and specifically Miami-Dade County) has the most rigid building guidelines. 

 

Calling Windows Hurricane Proof Is Just Marketing

The Facts About Hurricane Resistant Windows

When it comes to hurricane-proof windows, the specific product people are really referring to can vary. Generally, there are three main categories of glass and glass-like products that can be used to protect your windows against storm damage:

  1. Safety and Security Window Film
  2. Laminated Security Glass
  3. Polycarbonate and Acrylic Panels

Safety and Security Window Film (Hurricane Window Film)

If you ever hear someone talking about hurricane window film, what they’re really referring to is a special type of heavy-duty safety and security window film. 

It’s important to know that, although these films can provide many benefits, they DO NOT make your windows hurricane-proof. In fact, they won’t even stop your glass from breaking if it’s impacted by flying storm debris.

However, these films do help to make your home or business more secure during a storm because they can hold broken shards of glass in place instead of letting them fly inwards and leaving an open space in your window frame.

This does two main things:

  1. Greatly decreases the likelihood of injury due to flying pieces of broken glass
  2. Helps keep out water and storm debris to prevent further damage to your property

So, while window film can’t make your glass indestructible, it is a very affordable and easy-to-install product that can be used alongside other hurricane mitigation barriers to secure your home and protect against storm damage.

Our solution for you: 3M™ Safety and Security Window Film

Although 3M™ states on their website that this film is not approved in the State of Florida for use as hurricane, windstorm or impact protection from wind-borne debris from a hurricane or windstorm, they do back the claim that it can help prevent injury and worse damage.

Laminated Security Glass (Hurricane Impact Windows)

When we talk about hurricane-resistant windows, what we usually mean is laminated security glass. This is a special type of impact-resistant window glass consisting of a thermoplastic interlayer sandwiched between two outer layers of strong glass. 

There are many varieties of laminated security glass that provide varying degrees of protection against storms and hurricanes. The strength of the glass greatly depends on its thickness and its specific composition.

So, how exactly do security glass laminates make your windows hurricane resistant? 

Well, in some cases the impact resistance of the laminates is enough to completely protect your glass doors and windows. However, they will probably crack after impacts from flying debris hurled by hurricane-force winds.

But, just because the glass cracks doesn’t mean that it no longer protects your home or business during the storm. The hurricane-resistant windows typically stay in their frames and don’t allow shards of glass to shatter inwards.

Additionally, laminated security glass can often be retrofitted over your existing glass, so even if it breaks, your regular windows remain safe and sound behind it. It’s also available for new construction.

Some of the key benefits of using laminated security glass for hurricane protection are:

  • Creates a strong, durable hurricane mitigation barrier
  • Offers 24/7 glass protection against storm damage and other threats
  • Virtually invisible (doesn’t inhibit views or block natural light)
  • Can be retrofitted into your existing framing
  • Provides UV protection and glare reduction
  • Can be used to add privacy (tinted and mirrored varieties available)

Our solution for you: Laminated Riot Glass™

Riot Glass™ is our proprietary line of laminated security glass. It has an extremely resilient thermoplastic interlayer that consistently outperforms other types of safety and security glass available on the market (up to 100 times stiffer and five times stronger)

Polycarbonate and Acrylic Panels (Non-Glass Hurricane Resistant Windows)

In some cases, hurricane impact windows don’t contain any actual glass at all, but are instead made out of different combinations of plastics like polycarbonates and acrylics. 

You might be balking at the idea of installing plastic windows for hurricane protection, but these types of products are actually the closest you can get to creating truly hurricane proof windows.

In fact, polycarbonate and acrylic hurricane panels are made out of the same materials used to create bullet resistant and bomb blast resistant windows. That should give you an idea of the level of storm damage protection they can provide.

When combined with heavy-duty framing, these panels form a formidable hurricane mitigation barrier over your existing glass. Depending on the thickness and specific composition, the panels can be virtually unbreakable. 

Even when they experience multiple high-velocity impacts — whether they’re from storm damage or anything else — the panels won’t break apart or diminish in strength.

Not only do these panels provide the highest level of 24/7 hurricane protection for your home or business, but they also help keep your property safe from forced entry, burglary, and other threats.

Why you should consider using polycarbonate and acrylic panels for hurricane protection:

  • Offers the highest level of storm damage protection available on the market
  • Creates a permanent hurricane mitigation barrier
  • Looks and feels like regular window glass
  • Can be tinted or mirrored to add privacy and security
  • Doesn’t block your views or natural light
  • Can be UV and glare blocking
  • Won’t break apart or weaken after impacts
  • Goes on top of your existing glass to protect it
  • Can protect against forced entry, ballistic attacks, and bomb blasts

 

Our solution for you: ArmorPlast™ Panels and Framing

ArmorPlast™ is our patented system of polycarbonate panels and framing. It’s available in thicknesses from 0.25 inches to 1.25 inches and from containment-grade to ballistic-grade.

Our ballistic-grade ArmorPlast™ panels have received various ratings from the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which is the industry standard for rating the bullet resistance and impact resistance of glass and glass-like products.

The level of security that ArmorPlast™ provides has made it a popular choice for government, religious, and detention facilities, as well as schools, banks, specialty retailers, and more.

How Much Do Hurricane Windows Cost?

Will Hurricane Glass Reinforcement Break the Bank?

It’s really difficult to put an exact number on the cost of hurricane windows. There are just so many factors that go into calculating the price.

The costs of new construction in hurricane-prone areas is higher because of new hurricane resistant building requirements, but some studies suggest that the end price of a new home is only a few thousand dollars more than elsewhere.

If you’re upgrading an older home with hurricane impact windows, the cost depends on the specific materials used in the construction of the windows, their thickness and strength, and the price of labor.

Something to keep in mind is that if the hurricane resistant glass can be retrofitted onto your property, it is much more affordable than complete window replacement.

What we can say for sure is that the investment you make in reinforcing your property’s windows against hurricanes is far outweighed by the money you can potentially save on storm damage repair.

Not only is it an investment that can pay for itself over time by protecting your property, but it can also save you thousands of dollars a year on insurance premiums. Insurers are eager not to experience the type of loss and even bankruptcy caused by Hurricane Andrew back in the 90s.

 

Hurricane Windows Cost Key Takeaways:

  • Raises the cost of new construction by several thousand dollars
  • Requires an initial investment to upgrade older homes or businesses
  • The investment can pay for itself by preventing expensive storm damage
  • Can save you thousands of dollars on your annual property insurance payments

 

Final Thoughts on Hurricane Proofing Windows

Remember That There Is No 100% Hurricane Resistant Glass

It’s important to always remember that anything marketed as “hurricane proof” simply isn’t. That being said, the solutions we’ve provided you in this article are all viable options for strengthening your windows against storm damage.

As with all business and home security systems, the most effective defenses have multiple layers of protection. If one layer fails, there’s still something behind it.

For example, security window film can keep your windows intact after an impact, but it won’t keep them from breaking completely. If you install hurricane shutters on top of the film-coated windows, however, you’re creating two layers of defense.

Laminated security glass is not designed to completely replace the strength of other hurricane mitigation barriers, but it can be enough during some storms. This can be especially beneficial if a storm makes landfall by surprise or if you’re not around to put other barriers in place.

For the closest thing to hurricane proof windows, consider installing virtually unbreakable polycarbonate panels and framing. The UL ratings that these panels hold can make them an approved product for hurricane resistant construction in Florida and other at-risk areas.

 

Give us a call today or have your local glass contractor contact us to discuss the best hurricane mitigation solutions for you and your property.

Hurricane Proof Windows: Are They Real?

By | Blog, Storm Protection

Windows that are marketed as hurricane-proof or storm-proof are really different types of hurricane-resistant windows that can help mitigate storm damage. These windows can have different compositions with varying levels of impact resistance.

In other words, there is no such thing as a special type of glass that is 100% invulnerable to hurricanes, but certain types of reinforced windows can play an important role in strengthening your property’s hurricane defenses.

 

A Little Background Info on Hurricane Resistant Windows

Why the Need for Hurricane Impact Windows Is Increasing

Hurricanes are nothing new to residents of Florida and other Southeastern states, but the demand for hurricane damage mitigation solutions really shot up after Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida in 1992.

Hurricane Andrew Facts:

  • Hit Florida on August 24th, 1992
  • Category 5 storm (the strongest hurricane category)
  • Wind speeds of 165 miles per hour
  • Left approximately 250,000 people homeless in Miami-Dade County alone
  • Destroyed more than 25,000 homes and damaged 100,000+ more
  • Caused $27 billion of damage (when adjusted for inflation)

In response to the incredibly expensive damage caused by Hurricane Andrew and other storms over the past few decades, states like Florida and other at-risk areas have increasingly implemented new construction guidelines, especially when it comes to windows.

For instance, all new homes in Florida and other hurricane-prone areas must be built to include hurricane shutters or some type of approved hurricane impact windows to reduce the chances of building failure during a hurricane.

For something to be approved as hurricane-resistant, it must undergo a series of impact tests and meet certain requirements for both small and large missile impact resistance. To pass the tests, the window glazing and framing must still be intact after the impacts.

Not all areas have the same standards for hurricane resistance. Florida (and specifically Miami-Dade County) has the most rigid building guidelines. 

 

Calling Windows Hurricane Proof Is Just Marketing

The Facts About Hurricane Resistant Windows

When it comes to hurricane-proof windows, the specific product people are really referring to can vary. Generally, there are three main categories of glass and glass-like products that can be used to protect your windows against storm damage:

  1. Safety and Security Window Film
  2. Laminated Security Glass
  3. Polycarbonate and Acrylic Panels

Safety and Security Window Film (Hurricane Window Film)

If you ever hear someone talking about hurricane window film, what they’re really referring to is a special type of heavy-duty safety and security window film. 

It’s important to know that, although these films can provide many benefits, they DO NOT make your windows hurricane-proof. In fact, they won’t even stop your glass from breaking if it’s impacted by flying storm debris.

However, these films do help to make your home or business more secure during a storm because they can hold broken shards of glass in place instead of letting them fly inwards and leaving an open space in your window frame.

This does two main things:

  1. Greatly decreases the likelihood of injury due to flying pieces of broken glass
  2. Helps keep out water and storm debris to prevent further damage to your property

So, while window film can’t make your glass indestructible, it is a very affordable and easy-to-install product that can be used alongside other hurricane mitigation barriers to secure your home and protect against storm damage.

Our solution for you: 3M™ Safety and Security Window Film

Although 3M™ states on their website that this film is not approved in the State of Florida for use as hurricane, windstorm or impact protection from wind-borne debris from a hurricane or windstorm, they do back the claim that it can help prevent injury and worse damage.

Laminated Security Glass (Hurricane Impact Windows)

When we talk about hurricane-resistant windows, what we usually mean is laminated security glass. This is a special type of impact-resistant window glass consisting of a thermoplastic interlayer sandwiched between two outer layers of strong glass. 

There are many varieties of laminated security glass that provide varying degrees of protection against storms and hurricanes. The strength of the glass greatly depends on its thickness and its specific composition.

So, how exactly do security glass laminates make your windows hurricane resistant? 

Well, in some cases the impact resistance of the laminates is enough to completely protect your glass doors and windows. However, they will probably crack after impacts from flying debris hurled by hurricane-force winds.

But, just because the glass cracks doesn’t mean that it no longer protects your home or business during the storm. The hurricane-resistant windows typically stay in their frames and don’t allow shards of glass to shatter inwards.

Additionally, laminated security glass can often be retrofitted over your existing glass, so even if it breaks, your regular windows remain safe and sound behind it. It’s also available for new construction.

Some of the key benefits of using laminated security glass for hurricane protection are:

  • Creates a strong, durable hurricane mitigation barrier
  • Offers 24/7 glass protection against storm damage and other threats
  • Virtually invisible (doesn’t inhibit views or block natural light)
  • Can be retrofitted into your existing framing
  • Provides UV protection and glare reduction
  • Can be used to add privacy (tinted and mirrored varieties available)

Our solution for you: Laminated Riot Glass™

Riot Glass™ is our proprietary line of laminated security glass. It has an extremely resilient thermoplastic interlayer that consistently outperforms other types of safety and security glass available on the market (up to 100 times stiffer and five times stronger)

Polycarbonate and Acrylic Panels (Non-Glass Hurricane Resistant Windows)

In some cases, hurricane impact windows don’t contain any actual glass at all, but are instead made out of different combinations of plastics like polycarbonates and acrylics. 

You might be balking at the idea of installing plastic windows for hurricane protection, but these types of products are actually the closest you can get to creating truly hurricane proof windows.

In fact, polycarbonate and acrylic hurricane panels are made out of the same materials used to create bullet resistant and bomb blast resistant windows. That should give you an idea of the level of storm damage protection they can provide.

When combined with heavy-duty framing, these panels form a formidable hurricane mitigation barrier over your existing glass. Depending on the thickness and specific composition, the panels can be virtually unbreakable. 

Even when they experience multiple high-velocity impacts — whether they’re from storm damage or anything else — the panels won’t break apart or diminish in strength.

Not only do these panels provide the highest level of 24/7 hurricane protection for your home or business, but they also help keep your property safe from forced entry, burglary, and other threats.

Why you should consider using polycarbonate and acrylic panels for hurricane protection:

  • Offers the highest level of storm damage protection available on the market
  • Creates a permanent hurricane mitigation barrier
  • Looks and feels like regular window glass
  • Can be tinted or mirrored to add privacy and security
  • Doesn’t block your views or natural light
  • Can be UV and glare blocking
  • Won’t break apart or weaken after impacts
  • Goes on top of your existing glass to protect it
  • Can protect against forced entry, ballistic attacks, and bomb blasts

 

Our solution for you: ArmorPlast™ Panels and Framing

ArmorPlast™ is our patented system of polycarbonate panels and framing. It’s available in thicknesses from 0.25 inches to 1.25 inches and from containment-grade to ballistic-grade.

Our ballistic-grade ArmorPlast™ panels have received various ratings from the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which is the industry standard for rating the bullet resistance and impact resistance of glass and glass-like products.

The level of security that ArmorPlast™ provides has made it a popular choice for government, religious, and detention facilities, as well as schools, banks, specialty retailers, and more.

How Much Do Hurricane Windows Cost?

Will Hurricane Glass Reinforcement Break the Bank?

It’s really difficult to put an exact number on the cost of hurricane windows. There are just so many factors that go into calculating the price.

The costs of new construction in hurricane-prone areas is higher because of new hurricane resistant building requirements, but some studies suggest that the end price of a new home is only a few thousand dollars more than elsewhere.

If you’re upgrading an older home with hurricane impact windows, the cost depends on the specific materials used in the construction of the windows, their thickness and strength, and the price of labor.

Something to keep in mind is that if the hurricane resistant glass can be retrofitted onto your property, it is much more affordable than complete window replacement.

What we can say for sure is that the investment you make in reinforcing your property’s windows against hurricanes is far outweighed by the money you can potentially save on storm damage repair.

Not only is it an investment that can pay for itself over time by protecting your property, but it can also save you thousands of dollars a year on insurance premiums. Insurers are eager not to experience the type of loss and even bankruptcy caused by Hurricane Andrew back in the 90s.

 

Hurricane Windows Cost Key Takeaways:

  • Raises the cost of new construction by several thousand dollars
  • Requires an initial investment to upgrade older homes or businesses
  • The investment can pay for itself by preventing expensive storm damage
  • Can save you thousands of dollars on your annual property insurance payments

 

Final Thoughts on Hurricane Proofing Windows

Remember That There Is No 100% Hurricane Resistant Glass

It’s important to always remember that anything marketed as “hurricane proof” simply isn’t. That being said, the solutions we’ve provided you in this article are all viable options for strengthening your windows against storm damage.

As with all business and home security systems, the most effective defenses have multiple layers of protection. If one layer fails, there’s still something behind it.

For example, security window film can keep your windows intact after an impact, but it won’t keep them from breaking completely. If you install hurricane shutters on top of the film-coated windows, however, you’re creating two layers of defense.

Laminated security glass is not designed to completely replace the strength of other hurricane mitigation barriers, but it can be enough during some storms. This can be especially beneficial if a storm makes landfall by surprise or if you’re not around to put other barriers in place.

For the closest thing to hurricane proof windows, consider installing virtually unbreakable polycarbonate panels and framing. The UL ratings that these panels hold can make them an approved product for hurricane resistant construction in Florida and other at-risk areas.

 

Give us a call today or have your local glass contractor contact us to discuss the best hurricane mitigation solutions for you and your property.