Tag Archives: Big-box store

Buying impact windows – before and after the sale

14 Sep

If you are one of the conscientious homeowners who stepped up to the plate and bought impact windows in recent years, good for you. They were the best thing available on the market – at the time. It’s a fact that impact glass windows do a superb job of protecting the envelope of a structure after impact, but you will see from any online video that in the process, the impact windows are absolutely demolished and will require the expense and mess of replacement. Go to Youtube, search for “impact glass test” or “impact window test” and see for yourself. In my opinion, these should be “required viewing” by any prospective window buyer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCHtON-BQsE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu7XTW2SHW4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EEUsxe-pbA

Ok, let’s pretend that the storm has passed. Now you not only have a huge mess of broken glass to clean up, you also have the added expense of getting the broken window part replaced. If you’re lucky and you have single or double hung windows and the impact was directed to the glass only and not the frame, you might be able to replace just the glass unit. This is another important question to ask the salesperson; “Can the glass be replaced without destroying the window?” Some brands may even replace just the broken lite. You will have to check with the manufacturer to see how this effects the warranty. The next best option is replacing the window sash unit (the glass and surrounding framework). Replacing just a sash is a little more expensive but quite a bit cheaper that getting the entire window replaced.

The bottom line is, your impact windows weren’t cheap the first time around and they won’t be cheap to replace. If you received any kind of a warranty with them, read it closely. Do a check to make sure that the model of window that you purchased still has replacement parts available. You may find out that the entire company that made your windows is no longer in business. The installer who originally put them in is not who issued the warranty, so don’t him him/her too hard of a time (unless the window failure is due to improper installation). Now might be a good time to protect your investment with the addition of Evolution Hurricane Shutters.  Weigh the cost of getting just one of your main impact windows replaced vs. the cost of an Evolution Hurricane Shutter. If you want, add in the inconvenience, safety risk and mess of a broken window…..the amount of time you are going to have to wait to get your new window (they aren’t sitting on the shelf at the big box store), scheduling the replacement by the window guy (window companies get VERY busy following a major storm) and the insurance hassles that go along with your claim. Why not just avoid ALL of that in the 1st place?

The other drawback to standard impact windows is their lack of energy efficiency. When compared to a new non-impact rated window, they do little to reduce your monthly energy consumption. There are some models available that are more energy efficient called “insulated glass units” or IGUs. These are made up of a layer of impact glass and a layer of non-impact glass that are separated by a sealed air space. Sometimes the air space is filled with an inert gas (like argon or krypton) that is supposed to prevent deterioration of any metal components or glass coatings inside and to aid in energy efficiency. If you do a little industry research on them you will find that the gas slowly leaks out and and eventually does nothing for you. After the gas has leaked out, then outside air is allowed to be drawn in. This will also make your windows start to get cloudy and allow condensation inside the air space. Another point to pay close attention to is that these windows need to be installed perfectly plumb within the opening. Any wracking or twisting of these windows at the time of installation will result in breaking the seal and your windows will cloud up, usually starting in the corners. This clouding is an indication that your windows are no longer doing the job that you paid extra bucks for them to do. Also inside this “IGU” is a moisture absorbing substance referred to as “desiccant”. This will hide the seal failure for a while, but not forever and that’s when the condensation will appear inside your IGU.

Evolution Hurricane Shutters have been designed not only to protect your expensive hurricane impact windows, but to make them more energy efficient. We guarantee that the heat loss or gain through your window areas will be reduced! This is just one more reason why we say that Evolution Hurricane Shutters are “The rEvolution in Hurricane Protection”.

Please don’t get me wrong! I’m not down on impact glass – I recommend it to almost every one of my commercial property owners. Every strip mall or shopping plaza needs to have impact glass in the entrance doors. I don’t sell them and make no recommendation on which brands to buy (maybe I should start). My goal is to get impact resistant and energy efficient Evolution Hurricane Shutters on all of the storefronts and windows while recommending energy efficient impact glass doors on the entrance(s). When the project is complete, not only will the shopkeeper be able to simply lock the front door and leave when there is a hurricane bearing down on the area but, every night at closing time he or she will be certain that the energy saving and added security of Evolution Hurricane Shutters will be working overtime.

2 story plaza in Marco island

Typical strip plaza application.

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To Shutter or not to Shutter – Your Hurricane Plan

12 Sep

Selecting your type of hurricane protection is really not much different than selecting a new automobile. Simply pick out the one that you want and decide which place to buy it from. However, bringing home a “demo” for a couple of days or even taking a “test drive” is probably not going to be an option.

The next best thing to a test drive is seeing what friends and neighbors are using or have used. After that, viewing web site photo galleries are probably the next best thing because many types of aftermarket hurricane protection won’t be visible until a storm is imminent. If you’ve waited until a storm threatens to decide, it’s most likely too late to do anything but screw plywood or OSB (if there’s any left at the big box stores) to your windows.

Brand loyalty will probably not come into play so you will have to rely on online research, forums or the tried and true “word of mouth” info gathered from office water-cooler discussions and, of course, media advertising.  There are also a multitude of charts available with pros and cons of different shutter method. Our patented Evolution Hurricane Shutters will not be on any of those charts because it’s too new and, until now, hasn’t really been advertised. Enough about that….let’s get started on your plan. Check out these links to get a basic idea of what’s available.

http://floridabuilderresources.com/fort-myers-fl-home-hurricane-impact-windows.htm 

http://dev.lemonbayglass.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Windows-Buyers-Guide.pdf 

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/sfl-hc-shutterguide,0,4823608.htmlstory

http://www.floridadisaster.org/hrg/index.asp  

 

Establish your plan

  • First and foremost, at what point do you evacuate? Safety for you and your loved ones and pets should be 1st on the list. Consider all risks before riding out ANY storm – not just wind and rain.
  • Do you want just hurricane protection? Today’s market focus is put on versatility, multitasking and return.
  • Are you able to deploy and take down your own shutters? If you work on the road or are a seasonal resident, this item alone can get pricey.
  • Establish your budget. How much do you want to spend? Lower utility bills and insurance premiums may allow you to spend more on your hurricane shutters.
  • Do you want your protection done all at once or in stages to make it more affordable? Outfitting your windows in stages may ease the strain of your budget.
  • Will you need financing? Some types qualify for loans.
  • Are your existing windows in good shape but just need impact protection? If your current windows are in good shape or are already impact rated, you may only want impact protection.
  • Have you already explored the cost of replacing your windows but the price is out of your budget right now? Adding non-porous, clear hurricane shutters will extend the life of your existing windows AND save energy.
  • Are you willing to “mix and match” types of protection to be the most cost effective? Relying on one method of hurricane protection may not be the best approach for your building – or your budget.
  • Are you forced to match the protection in the rest of your neighborhood?(i.e. HOA rules) A good looking product will get approved by architectural review boards with little hassle.
  • Do you want your hurricane protection to do more? Vehicles, cell phones and computers have evolved to do more and now your hurricane shutters have, too.

What level of protection do you want?

  • Are you a person who simply wants the best available?
  • Are you just wanting to satisfy your lender or insurer? Sometimes the best isn’t required.
  • Is the building you are protecting your primary residence/business?
  • Is it a place that you can afford to be without and not be homeless?
  • Is it a vacation home or cabin?Is your structure “uninsurable” or is insuring your structure not cost effective?
  • Are your monthly premiums more money that your building payments?
  • Do you own your structure outright but insurance premiums seem out of line?
  • Would you rather protect your building to survive a major hurricane or count on your insurance company to pay to replace it?
  • Based on your insurance companies track record, how long will the wait time be with the insurance company to get repair or settlement check if they have 1000 or more similar claims?

Is multifunction protection for you?

  • Is increasing the resale value of your home a priority? Unsightly protection can actually reduce the value of your structure. A more energy efficient building demands a higher market value. What percentage would you consider to be a reasonable return on investment?
  • Are there security concerns with your structure? Do others in the surrounding area have burglar bars over their windows?
  • Have smash and grab attempts or vandalism from BBs, pellets or rock and other propelled objects been a problem? Are you located in somewhat of a “rough neighborhood”?
  • Is energy savings on your priority list? Would a 30% savings on your heating and cooling costs be a worthwhile savings?
  • Are you environmentally conscious and concerned about your “carbon footprint?
  • Is sound abatement something that you need, want or even thought about? How noisy is your street or neighborhood?
  • Is interior exposure to the effects of ultraviolet rays a concern? Do you have photos, artwork or expensive fabrics in you home, business or church?
  • Do any of your windows or doors have lead camed or stained glass? What would be the replacement cost? Has your insurance company put exclusions on certain items that they will or won’t cover?

Consider all of the points above and make the choice that’s best for you. Any plan is better than no plan at all. If all you can afford is high performance window film and plywood, go for it. Just remember that these forms of protection are not recognized by your insurance company. Many municipal building departments will approve it for installation, but your insurance company is quite strict on it’s guidelines and are the ones who control your premiums.

Which Hurricane Shutters Are For Me?

7 Sep

It is my personal opinion that an informed consumer, armed with the facts, stands a much better chance of making an intelligent decision than one who is not. No one likes to have the second thoughts of “buyer’s remorse” because they found out the facts after the sale and not before. They may have simply failed to ask that one simple question that would have been a “deal-breaker” before they signed the sales contract that wasted thousands of the homeowner’s money. (i.e.”Is it true that hurricane windows won’t break?” OR “Are these windows really hurricane proof?”)

It’s not just about hurricane shutter knowledge, either. I research damned near everything that I buy – from hardware at the big box stores – to computers – to vehicles. I want to know what I’m shopping for and what to avoid, who’s got the best quality and can I return it if I don’t need it or it doesn’t perform as advertised?. Even with all of this forethought, I still manage to screw up a personal purchase every once in a while, due mostly to relying on my memory instead of taking time to review my research.

New hurricane products seem to appear on the scene every year – after all, necessity is the Mother of Invention and innovative technology puts ideas into motion. All of these need to be investigated using common sense as well as laboratory and field testing methods. And another point that I would like to make……Just because some schmoe paid a bunch of money to get their product approved and it works in the lab and looks good on paper doesn’t necessarily make it a quality product that will perform storm after storm – season after season. Sometimes it’s all about marketing – like the infomercials for cleaning towels, mini-coffee grinders or collector “gold” coins……if you spend enough money pushing the product on TV, sooner or later someone’s bound to fall for it. Like Grandpa used to say, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

Exterior mounted panel

I don’t know what has changed over the years, but when I went to school (it was quite a while ago) my history teacher taught us that “good legislation” was something that did the most good for the most people. It seems that today “good legislation” is something that benefits an industry, a specialized group or a few select individuals. Is it just me???

Steel corrugated panel and channel type shutters

The only hurricane protection that I use is that which I have built myself. Now I freely admit that I am NOT an “expert” on every brand, style, design or patent on everything out there being sold. And no, I haven’t scoured the Web to find every single brand and type of hurricane protection that’s out there. Everything written to describe the products that appear in this blog is a generalization of the category, that has been published many times over on the internet. But every personal experience is real. For example, I have never owned rolldown or accordion shutters, but some of my customers, friends and relatives have. When one of them told me that they didn’t like their rolldowns or accordions because they rattled from the wind and being hit by tree limbs during the last storm, I’m not about to look them in the face and call them liars. Now, there may be some newer model rolldown or accordion that have found a way to eliminate the rattle but I have not seen any literature stating that their design eliminates rattles. When they tell me that during the last storm the corrugated panels covering their patio doors made loud buzzing noises at the overlapping seams or that when the tropical force winds came out of the south the rain and wind came in between the panel and the stucco walls, I kinda’ hafta’ take their word for it that it happened. What I can tell you as a fact is that there are many distinct advantages to aluminum framed hurricane shutters constructed of flat polycarbonate as opposed to all of the other aftermarket types of hurricane shutters.

In my next post, I’ll give you some questions to ask yourself and points to ponder concerning your own hurricane protection needs.